I want to start out by saying I am not doing this now or in the very near future. however, it is something I would like to do and wish to do. I tried google but found nothing.

Can I video record other people performing musical sets at competitions and charge to let people stream those videos online? The subject are Pipe Band competitions. The BBC records & shows the World championships every year, however this is in corrolation with the RSPBA (Royal Scottish Pipe Band Assosciation) who organise and run these events. The RSPBA also make a yearly DVD of the "Worlds" which they sell. However, the "Worlds" is one of 5 yearly major championships and (bad quality) videos from those other 4 (and the worlds) get good views. I thought about perhaps videoing the bands perform and charging for a pass to a website where people can watch the videos.

Although I think that it may be illegal to sell videos of other people performing? Especially if the event is organised by the RSPBA who may own rights by default? Lastly, I'd like to add that I am in the UK.

  • IANAL but AFAIK you cannot. The performance copyrighted belongs to the performing artists and they would have to assign you distribution rights, at least in most countries.
    – Itai
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 0:30
  • IANAL, but, too many hurdles are likely. My zerocost and equally valuable opinion is: Organisation operating such competitions will always have made decisions re recording rights and you must meet their requirements. Only exception for the actual recording is if you can take footage (or still shots) from a public place - and the result will then still vary somewhat and between countries. From public space of subjects in private space viewable publically MAY be OK. BUT if it is too private you may tun into privacy issues. BUT you will still then run into copyright and model release issues.
    – Russell McMahon
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 10:30

2 Answers 2


Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, just my understanding of common application of copyright law. Copyright law varies between countries and even within countries, so you should consult a lawyer who is familiar with the copyright law in any relevant jurisdictions before proceeding.

You would need permission from the performers and may also need to pay a fee for reproduction of the music or any other copyright aspects of the performance (this can include lighting effects, dance moves, or any other creative aspects of the performance).

The performance itself would be copyright by the performing group, whoever is paying them to perform, or whoever organised the event, so you would first need their permission to reproduce the performance. This of course may involve a licensing agreement.

The music they are playing might also be subject to copyright, depending on how old it is, so you may need to pay the owner of said rights to reproduce it (yes, even though its someone else performing).

Other aspects of a performance can also be copyright; things like dance moves, lighting effects, any other video/music playing that might be visible, costumes, props, any artworks or even advertisements visible in the video. That said, may all be owned by the event organiser/producer so that may simplify things. But it can be harder in a public space to get permission from all relevant parties.


Quite simply, anything is possible pending a licensing agreement with the content owners and the event organisers.

You could not do this legally without coming to a deal with those two bodies.


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