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gazman

Covert Video Recordings Of Weddings

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Yesterday I played for a wedding which was clearly being recorded on a camcorder by one of the wedding party, although he was trying not to make it look too obvious. When I received my fee after the service, there was no video fee included. The vicar said that the bride and groom informed him that there would be no video taken of the ceremony, although he said that he did suspect that this particular person was using a camcorder, and that he spoke to this fellow beforehand to inform him that he wasn't allowed to use his camcorder unless an additional fee was paid.

 

This sort of thing has happened several times this year despite the fact that the bride and groom are always told that they should ensure that no recordings are made of the service unless the additional fee is paid beforehand. Unfortunately, with human nature being what it is, people often try to get away with paying less than they should.

 

I've lost out on several video fees this year and wonder if anybody else on this forum has encountered this problem and - better still - found a solution to it!

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Yesterday I played for a wedding which was clearly being recorded on a camcorder by one of the wedding party, although he was trying not to make it look too obvious. When I received my fee after the service, there was no video fee included. The vicar said that the bride and groom informed him that there would be no videos taken of the ceremony, although he said that he did suspect that this particular person was using a camcorder, and that he spoke to this fellow beforehand to inform him that he wasn't allowed to use his camcorder unless an additional fee was paid.

 

This sort of thing has happened several times this year despite the fact that the bride and groom are always told that they should ensure that no recordings are made of the service unless the additional fee is paid beforehand. Unfortunately, with human nature being what it is, people often try to get away with paying less than they should.

 

I've lost out on several video fees this year and wonder if anybody else on this forum has encountered this problem and - better still - found a solution to it!

 

I symapthise entirely and would guess that most if not all here would. If you have already received your fee and discover this happening, as a last resort you could down tools - but that might bring the church and our profession into disrepute! I have been hit by similar behaviour, as well as (which you may have read about here) "guest" organists coming in and playing without me being informed. Do you belong to a musicians' union? If so, they could probably help. I also suggest you consult Barry Williams' excellent book "Everything Else..." which provides clear (and often entertaining) advice on this sort of thing.

 

Peter

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Guest Barry Williams
I symapthise entirely and would guess that most if not all here would. If you have already received your fee and discover this happening, as a last resort you could down tools - but that might bring the church and our profession into disrepute! I have been hit by similar behaviour, as well as (which you may have read about here) "guest" organists coming in and playing without me being informed. Do you belong to a musicians' union? If so, they could probably help. I also suggest you consult Barry Williams' excellent book "Everything Else..." which provides clear (and often entertaining) advice on this sort of thing.

 

Peter

 

 

It is not uncommon for a couple to say they are not having a video recording and then for a friend or relative to take an unofficial or unauthorised video of the service. Collecting the fees in these circumstances is virtually impossible and pastorally unwise. Experience has shown that policing these events is incredibly difficult, even for vigilant churchwardens and sidesmen.

 

A solution to this is indeed given in my book. (This is, incidentally, still available at the reduced price of £14 including postage and packing to members of this Board.) I suggest that a standard (increased) fee is negotiated for all weddings and this fee includes all domestic (i.e. friends and/or family) video recordings. Professional recordings MUST be negotiated separately for obvious reasons.

 

My co-author and I hope to set up a website later in the year on which we can take and answer queries of this type. Also, we will be offering, free, a downloadable form of an organist's contract that will include provision for video recording, etc. fees.

 

Barry Williams

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It is not uncommon for a couple to say they are not having a video recording and then for a friend or relative to take an unofficial or unauthorised video of the service. Collecting the fees in these circumstances is virtually impossible and pastorally unwise. Experience has shown that policing these events is incredibly difficult, even for vigilant churchwardens and sidesmen.

 

A solution to this is indeed given in my book. (This is, incidentally, still available at the reduced price of £14 including postage and packing to members of this Board.) I suggest that a standard (increased) fee is negotiated for all weddings and this fee includes all domestic (i.e. friends and/or family) video recordings. Professional recordings MUST be negotiated separately for obvious reasons.

 

My co-author and I hope to set up a website later in the year on which we can take and answer queries of this type. Also, we will be offering, free, a downloadable form of an organist's contract that will include provision for video recording, etc. fees.

 

Barry Williams

 

I'll look forward to receiving the book!

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Guest Hector5
Yesterday I played for a wedding which was clearly being recorded on a camcorder by one of the wedding party, although he was trying not to make it look too obvious. When I received my fee after the service, there was no video fee included. The vicar said that the bride and groom informed him that there would be no videos taken of the ceremony, although he said that he did suspect that this particular person was using a camcorder, and that he spoke to this fellow beforehand to inform him that he wasn't allowed to use his camcorder unless an additional fee was paid.

 

This sort of thing has happened several times this year despite the fact that the bride and groom are always told that they should ensure that no recordings are made of the service unless the additional fee is paid beforehand. Unfortunately, with human nature being what it is, people often try to get away with paying less than they should.

 

I've lost out on several video fees this year and wonder if anybody else on this forum has encountered this problem and - better still - found a solution to it!

 

Easy!!!! We had this problem, culminating in a wedding party denying that there was to be any video recording, and FIVE video cameras actually recording the wedding in the front 3 rows on the bridegroom's side alone! Needless to say, they refused to pay. So the upshot is simply that we make a blanket charge of £160 for the organist. This allows them to make sound or video recordings if they wish to. Obviously at this level of fee we make sure that they get their money's worth, with an individually tailored service and a feeling that they really matter. Some organists, given the peanuts they're paid are quite happy to play for conveyor belt weddings. At least at my church we get some variety, also ensuring that the choir stalls are full with singers who really contribute. If I can only get 6 from my own choir, I will fill the stalls with friends (we pay £10 per singer for around 16 singers).

 

Many incumbents forget that the couples pay a fortune for flowers, food, discos etc - and why shouldn't the organist be paid a professional fee? With my other hat on, I play a lot for civil weddings at a local school, and if I managed three weddings per week at the rate that we charge I could retire from my day job. If I played a wedding a day at this rate, I'd earn around £70,000 a year! The only thing that I have to tolerate are some real oddball services - but hey, it's a living!!!!!!

 

Hector

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It is not uncommon for a couple to say they are not having a video recording and then for a friend or relative to take an unofficial or unauthorised video of the service. Collecting the fees in these circumstances is virtually impossible and pastorally unwise.

Indeed. When we got married we specifically requested "no photographs during the service" on the order of service. Even this didn't stop one guest recording it with a camcorder supposedly for our benefit - why, I have no idea; we don't even have a TV to watch it on, let alone a VCR. I honestly can't see how a recording fee would be charged in such circumstances.

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My co-author and I hope to set up a website later in the year on which we can take and answer queries of this type. Also, we will be offering, free, a downloadable form of an organist's contract that will include provision for video recording, etc. fees.

 

Barry Williams

 

It sounds a super idea Barry - can you let us know know when your website is up and running, and I'll pop a link to it on our links pages at nzorgan.com. I think a lot of musicians feel diffident about "causing a rumpus" about this sort of thing and your book might just be the sort of thing to give them the confidence to stand up for their rights.

 

cheers

Jenny

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Guest drd

Yes, in the past I have used the blanket (high) fee approach, allowing them to do (almost) as they like.

 

The other way might be to use a written contract, stipulating the fee range, and with an annexe (specifically to be signed as well, by the couple) to the effect that if any unauthorised recordings are made compensation will be the personal responsibility of the newly married couple, with recourse through the courts if necessary.

 

The point about organists' fees, even on the high side, being but a drop in the ocean in the wedding scheme of things, now that they are such occasions of flinging wealth (real or virtual) about, is well made.

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Guest Lee Blick
So the upshot is simply that we make a blanket charge of £160 for the organist. This allows them to make sound or video recordings if they wish to. Obviously at this level of fee we make sure that they get their money's worth, with an individually tailored service and a feeling that they really matter.

 

Sounds like a good idea. You can chardge what you like if you have professional singers, not quite the same if it's ancient Aunt Maude, the Bass with the gammy leg, and 'effeminate Tim', the Bishops Chorister...

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Guest Barry Williams
Yes, in the past I have used the blanket (high) fee approach, allowing them to do (almost) as they like.

 

The other way might be to use a written contract, stipulating the fee range, and with an annexe (specifically to be signed as well, by the couple) to the effect that if any unauthorised recordings are made compensation will be the personal responsibility of the newly married couple, with recourse through the courts if necessary.

 

The point about organists' fees, even on the high side, being but a drop in the ocean in the wedding scheme of things, now that they are such occasions of flinging wealth (real or virtual) about, is well made.

 

 

The proposal to have a separate contract negotiable with the couple in respect of each and every wedding has been mooted before. It falls foul, in the Church of England, of Canon B20 and would require the goodwill of the minister to be remotely effective. However, when a professional video recording is to be taken (i.e. the couple are paying an individual, company or partnership to make the said video recording,) then a separate contract is essential because the copyright may not vest in the couple. In these circumstances organists can find that their labours are broadcast to others without permission, because of the implied consent through the contract via the church.

 

Barry Williams

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As I've said before, I charge for a video at every wedding I do, but make it clear that I will return the video portion of the fee if there is no video recording device present. I think that I have returned money on two occasions in thirty years!!!

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Guest drd
The proposal to have a separate contract negotiable with the couple in respect of each and every wedding has been mooted before. It falls foul, in the Church of England, of Canon B20 and would require the goodwill of the minister to be remotely effective.

 

I hadn't realised that, though I am well aware of Canon B20.

[[Deleted owing to trolls]]

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Guest Lee Blick
I hadn't realised that, though I am well aware of Canon B20.

 

It seems like another very good reason for abandoning the Church of England to its fate.

 

Along with the millions of other reasons! :rolleyes:

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Guest Patrick Coleman
I hadn't realised that, though I am well aware of Canon B20.

 

It seems like another very good reason for abandoning the Church of England to its fate.

 

From a neutral perspective - as one who is trying to help breathe a little new life into the Church in Wales - I am puzzled why Canon B20 should pose an obstacle to the establishment of distinct contracts with wedding couples.

 

A more important issue is this: this comment (and Lee's) suggest you don't take the C of E very seriously. You might have good reason (and you might be right), but why should you expect marriage couples to take it any more seriously, or to take any commitment to you as a performer seriously when you are in their eyes representing that very church?

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Guest Lee Blick
more important issue is this: this comment (and Lee's) suggest you don't take the C of E very seriously. You might have good reason (and you might be right), but why should you expect marriage couples to take it any more seriously, or to take any commitment to you as a performer seriously when you are in their eyes representing that very church?

 

You are quite right Patrick, I no longer take the Church of England or indeed Christianity very seriously anymore. I am no longer an adherent to it or any religion. But my views on the Church of England has nothing to do with how I deal with a marriage couple. And face it I have found few couples who really care about the music other than 'All Things Brighton and Beautiful', 'Weeding Marches In and Out' and perhaps "Jesus Joy". It is good to get couples who do think more about the music but in the main it is a preditable prescription. Most of them never come to church anyway to know what other exciting music there is. But don't think I don't take it seriously, because I do, whether it is in a Christian act of worship or a pit orchestra of a circus ring...

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I am puzzled why Canon B20 should pose an obstacle to the establishment of distinct contracts with wedding couples.

 

Yes, I was pondering that one too...

 

Could you explain a bit more please, Barry?

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Guest drd
A more important issue is this: this comment (and Lee's) suggest you don't take the C of E very seriously. You might have good reason (and you might be right), but why should you expect marriage couples to take it any more seriously, or to take any commitment to you as a performer seriously when you are in their eyes representing that very church?

 

My original comment was one intending to suggest a remedy for those who are active in church appointments where the problem under discussion might arise.

 

I am personally not involved with churches at present, rather relievedly so, except to attempt to advise the PCC of one in particular how to go about getting the best (not mine) advice on the condition and future of their instrument. Thus I do not represent a particular church or churches, though I occasionally give concerts in them by invitation - which does not, I think, fall foul of your comment regarding performing for weddings. In fact, I would decline any invitation from a church, or from a wedding couple, to perform at a wedding.

 

If it be construed from this that I do not take the C of E seriously, then that would be accurate. It seems to be intent, with ever accelerating gusto, on turning itself into a farce.

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Guest Barry Williams
Yes, I was pondering that one too...

 

Could you explain a bit more please, Barry?

 

 

Canon B20 gives the minister the absolute right over all the music. Any agreement between the couple and the organist could not override the Canon. Therefore any agreement that did not include the minister could (and probably would) be unenforceable, except insofar as it related to matters unconnected with Canon B20, such as subsequent copyright.

 

The same problem arises when PCCs attempt to appoint an organist/director of music, etc. They simply do not have the power, which is why no organist etc can be appointed in an interregnum. (It is possible, however, to have a limited contract with the PCC that expires on the appointment of the minister.)

 

I hasten to add that most of the cases arising under Canon B20 have not tested the law over these things. They have almost all been Employment Tribunal cases with preliminary issues over jurisdiction/status. (i.e. whether the organist is self-employed or employed.) Therefore all of this is merely untested opinion, though we can derive some guidance from similar situations in other jurisdictions.

 

It remains my view that a properly drafted agreement/contract with the minister, including the PCC as the paying party, can prevent almost all of these problems arising. Far too few organists have such contracts/agreements. As mentioned before, Robert Leach and I are not altogether happy that the standard formats make sufficient provision for all concerns in this modern age of technology.

 

Barry Williams

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If it be construed from this that I do not take the C of E seriously, then that would be accurate. It seems to be intent, with ever accelerating gusto, on turning itself into a farce.

 

How come?

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