View Full Version : Cover songs?


SlobeintheLobes
08-24-2011, 10:17 AM
Hello, I just wanted to get a clear understanding of some copyright rules real quick. I know many well to do individuals who would delight in scoring movies, but what If I want to use a song cover they recorded? Do the restrictions vary?

directorik
08-24-2011, 10:55 AM
Do the restrictions vary?
No. You need to get permission to cover the song.

Gonzo_Entertainment
08-24-2011, 11:02 AM
As Rik said, there is a 99.99999999999999% chance SOMEBODY owns the publishing rights to the song. That is seperate from the mechanical rights to a given recording of it.

MediaCureMusic
08-24-2011, 01:55 PM
You should look up the song on either ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. One of those will most likely have the song registered. Then contact them and let them know you want to use the song. Best of luck!

Michael Allen
08-24-2011, 04:51 PM
You can cover and release a cover of a song on a CD without permission as long as the proper royalties are paid to the copyright owner of the song. As soon as you want to sync it to picture you require permission and a sync licence from the copyright owner of the song.

directorik
08-24-2011, 11:00 PM
You can cover and release a cover of a song on a CD without permission as long as the proper royalties are paid to the copyright owner of the song.
This is incorrect.

You need permission to record and release a cover version
of any song. The publisher may not want a cover version
in release and whoever owns the copyright to both the
music and lyrics has the final say. The copyright is the right
to copy - not just the right to royalties.

indietalk
08-24-2011, 11:19 PM
It's true, to cover a song you do not need permission, unless you change it in a significant way. All you do is pay.

How Does a Compulsory Cover License Differ from a Traditional Music License?

Unlike a traditional music copyright license, the terms for a compulsory cover license are established by the U.S. Copyright office rather than the artist or record label. This includes set royalty percentages and payment schedules. Also, a compulsory cover license does not require negotiations with the original musical composition copyright holder. In other words, you can obtain the right to sell a cover version of a song without ever having to gain the consent of the original artist.

What is the Process for Establishing a Compulsory Cover License?

Getting a compulsory cover license is four step process that includes the following:
Identify the holder of the musical composition copyright of the song to be recorded: This can be done by personally searching the records of the U.S. Copyright Office. The Copyright Office can also conduct the search for a nominal fee.
Send a “Notice of Intent to Obtain a Compulsory License” form to the copyright owner 30 days before sale of the cover song: This notice tells the copyright holder that you will be selling a cover version of their work, formally establishing a compulsory cover license. Note that a separate letter must be used for each song, even if it’s the same artist.
Make royalty payments, with accompanying account statements, on or before the 20th of each month
File an annual statement of total sales of the recording, certified by a public accountant
It is important to emphasize that a compulsory cover license does not require any action on the part of the copyright owner. Once a person satisfies the four steps above, they are legally entitled to sell their cover version of the song.

Does the Copyright Owner Have any Recourse Against a Compulsory Cover License?

Yes, if the cover alters the original song in any significant way. The compulsory cover license only applies to covers that are consistent with the original rendition of the song. Therefore, remixed or off-the-wall covers of songs may not be applicable under a compulsory cover license.

indietalk
08-24-2011, 11:26 PM
But then of course you need the sync license to use in a flick.

directorik
08-24-2011, 11:26 PM
Interesting to know.

So if the copyright holder does not want a cover version recorded
they cannot stop it. Damn, I don't like that at all.

Michael Allen
08-25-2011, 12:56 AM
Interesting to know.

So if the copyright holder does not want a cover version recorded
they cannot stop it. Damn, I don't like that at all.

That's right. The owner of the copyright must be notified of the intention to make the recording and a royalty must be paid to the copyright owner but anyone has the right to re record any work that has already been released. It's an amazing law.