When Copyright Stymied Christmas

Synchronisation rights and its impact on community filmmaking

Once a year on the northern fringes of Melbourne 60 singers from multilingual, multi-faith and inter-generational backgrounds gather for 10 weeks of rehearsals to perform a single concert. In 2015 I was invited to mentor a youth theatre group with whom we made a film about this unique choir, a choir that only sings songs about Christmas. This Choir Sings Carols is a moving story about a community that came together through song, embracing young and old, new arrivals and those with disabilities. However, when the film was completed we were unable to screen it. Anywhere. This article describes why.

Published on Medium – When Copyright Stymied Christmas

Thanks to Dr Rebecca Giblin, ARC Future Fellow, Law Resources, Monash University and media and entertainment lawyer Shaun Miller for their comments on earlier drafts.

This article and the final edit of This Choir Sings Carols was financed through an Australia Cultural Fund initiative with special thanks for their generous contributions to Pepper Pearce, Mirranda Burton, Kitt Loughman, Carmela Baranowska, Elliott Bledsoe, Robyn Becker, Robert A Garnsey, Jessica Coates, Patricia A Aufderheide, Peter Martin, Kylie Pappalardo, Kimberlee Weatherall, Rebecca K Giblin and the City of Whittlesea.