View Full Version : Using Songs?


Semiazas
07-28-2011, 12:07 PM
If I wanted to use a song in one of my films, not in the soundtrack but in the film in part of a scene, like, a character is listening to it in a room for instance, are rights required for the song?

Gonzo_Entertainment
07-28-2011, 12:12 PM
Yep.
Gray area if they were walking down the street and it was faintly heard coming out of a business they passed for a couple of seconds, but the scenario you give, yes you do.

CHamburger
07-28-2011, 02:05 PM
I think what you can do is take a song where the writer/performer lyrics is dead then you get some no name to rerecord using a slight tweaking of your own then bam new song. After an artist is dead the rights transfer to the company that distributes the product but if its a different person singing the song, thats not under their distribution rights and I think you can use that. Example, Amy Whinehouse "Rehab". If you had a friend sing that and then you recorded THAT version for your film, I think you;d be okay. Unless the distribution company has the rights to the lyrics as well and not just the Whinehouse recording of the song. You can do this for anything. You have a friend thats a great piano player, and need some classical music in your film but can't get the rights to a Mozart version or some other known classical musician, record her and use it for free.

Gonzo_Entertainment
07-28-2011, 02:14 PM
Same is true of any artist living or dead. The publishing rights to the song are owned by somebody, so if you use the exact melody or lyrics you're infringing copyright. You do a song that "kind of sounds like" the song, but melody and lyrics would have to be at least a little different.

The One Who Knocks
07-28-2011, 02:35 PM
This should serve a good job of visually explaining how one might go forth in avoiding getting sued. http://teamcoco.com/content/conan-introduces-basic-cable-name-tune

CHamburger
07-28-2011, 02:38 PM
Same is true of any artist living or dead. The publishing rights to the song are owned by somebody, so if you use the exact melody or lyrics you're infringing copyright. You do a song that "kind of sounds like" the song, but melody and lyrics would have to be at least a little different.

But what about things like Alladin's A Whole New World. If you have someone sing that for a film and use it would you have to pay although you recorded your own version using their lyrics? Or like Johnny B. Goode where Chcuk Berry writer &singer is dead

JoshL
07-28-2011, 02:48 PM
There was a thread about it recently here: http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=32797

Basically, you're looking at the difference between copyright for a performance (a recording of the song) and composition (using a song that is written by someone else, but recording your own version of it). Copyright in the US is composer's life plus 70 years (I think).

Your best bet on the cheap is to either find a local band that'll let you use their music for free (and most of them will for the exposure) or get someone to do a sound-alike song if you have something specific in mind. I think everyone composing for film gets asked to do that at least once in their career!

Gonzo_Entertainment
07-28-2011, 03:47 PM
But what about things like Alladin's A Whole New World. If you have someone sing that for a film and use it would you have to pay although you recorded your own version using their lyrics? Or like Johnny B. Goode where Chcuk Berry writer &singer is dead

It doesn't matter if the artist is dead. Somebody (his heirs or the heirs of the songwriter) own the publishing rights to the song unless as noted above he has been dead a LONG time.

Blade_Jones
07-28-2011, 04:09 PM
This should serve a good job of visually explaining how one might go forth in avoiding getting sued. http://teamcoco.com/content/conan-in...able-name-tune
I just watched that. That was great! Get both feet off the ground simultaneously.

CHamburger
07-28-2011, 04:15 PM
It doesn't matter if the artist is dead. Somebody (his heirs or the heirs of the songwriter) own the publishing rights to the song unless as noted above he has been dead a LONG time.

So if I have a friend who's a sick guitar player do a version of Johnny B Goode, who do I get permission from to use my friend version of the song and not a SONY distributed Chuck Berry version?

Same thing with Alladin, Disney owns the rights to the song but if I have a girl sing it in her way, do I still need permission as its not the Disney version.

Michael Allen
07-28-2011, 04:40 PM
So if I have a friend who's a sick guitar player do a version of Johnny B Goode, who do I get permission from to use my friend version of the song and not a SONY distributed Chuck Berry version?

Same thing with Alladin, Disney owns the rights to the song but if I have a girl sing it in her way, do I still need permission as its not the Disney version.

In these cases you would need permission from the owner of the copyright of the song.

CHamburger
07-28-2011, 04:46 PM
ok, unless the owner is dead more than 70 years? But who would own a copyright to the song of a dead person?

Alcove Audio
07-28-2011, 04:53 PM
But who would own a copyright to the song of a dead person?

The heirs of the estate or the record company may hold the copyrights. However, song and other types of copyrights are a commodity that can be sold and/or traded. A very large portion of The Beatles catalog was owned by Michael Jacksons business enterprises at one time.

Michael Allen
07-28-2011, 04:55 PM
ok, unless the owner is dead more than 70 years? But who would own a copyright to the song of a dead person?

Both of those tracks would be controlled by a publishing company.

Michael Allen
07-28-2011, 04:59 PM
Quick google search and found this
JOHNNY B. GOODE
Chuck Berry
Isalee Music Publishing Co./Arc Music Corp.

CHamburger
07-28-2011, 05:11 PM
Thats great info. Thanks.

Gonzo_Entertainment
07-28-2011, 05:21 PM
Ever notice the ASCAP or BMI sticker on the door of a bar?

They pay a fee to those companies which are music "publishers" for the right to allow bands to perform cover songs in their bar, or to play copyrighted music over their sound system. Those fees are then divided amongst the copright holders based on surveys of what songs get played by cover bands in bars.

Whoever owns the rights to stairway to heaven (probably Jimmy Page) gets a check in his mailbox every few months based on the fact it gets played by cover bands in bars all over the US.

MediaCureMusic
08-16-2011, 10:37 PM
You should check with the PROs (performing rights organizations), ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC type in the name of the song and artist and it's bound to pop up for one of them. Then contact the respective PRO.

Even if you get someone else to record the song, you don't have to claim the master soundrecording, just the copyright. Good luck!

-Luke
http://www.mediacuremusic.com