View Full Version : Permission to use song covers?


Beatlesfan1225
12-22-2011, 11:18 PM
So I'm making this action film that we think would do great to the music of Johnny Cash. Now, we worked for awhile to attempt to get the permission to use the original Cash recordings but it was way out of our price range and had too many moving parts.
Now, I have a recording studio in my home and have recorded multiple Cash songs. We want to record the entire Cash soundtrack of the film in my studio, so all of the Cash songs would be covers by myself.
Now, who do I have to go through to get permission to use these covers in the film? We don't intend to sell or profit from the film, the only reason we need permission for all the songs is for submission to festivals.

When I recorded my last album, I went through Harry Fox to get mechanical licenses of the few covers on the album, but I know this requires a different type of license. Thanks for any help, I really appreciate it!

Feutus Lapdance
12-23-2011, 05:18 AM
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Michael Allen
12-23-2011, 05:31 AM
You need sync permission from the copyright owner of the songs in question. And the price is whatever the copyright owner wants it to be.

Aaron M
12-23-2011, 06:50 AM
Right..

I covered a Nick Cave song a while back, thinking it might be good for promotion to do a song people might actually search for. (I know, and I choose a pretty esoteric artist)

I looked into licensing a bit, and as I recall the price changed depending on how many people would be exposed to the song. It wasn't a matter of for sale or not - it was a matter of how often it was played anywhere.

But I think your best bet is to get in touch with the copyright owners directly.
People are people and there's no telling who will be into what - but I imagine the bigger the artist the higher the standards - so make damn sure your film is as good as it can be before hand.. before you ask to have an artist be associated with you for life.

Another option is to have someone write songs in the style of cash.
I'm familiar enough with his work that I might be able to help if you'd like. (course I've never tried to imitate Cash, so there's no telling what will happen - but he had a pretty distinctive style. Two-step, barritone voice, key changes..

sonnyboo
12-23-2011, 10:06 AM
Now, who do I have to go through to get permission to use these covers in the film? We don't intend to sell or profit from the film, the only reason we need permission for all the songs is for submission to festivals.


For any movie, profit or not, you have to obtain 2 sets of permissions. First for the publishing rights, that is the right to use the notes and/or words, and secondly the recording itself.

If you record the song yourself, you have the permission for the recording but NOT the publishing rights because someone else wrote the song. You need the rights holder's permission for that.

frokeyman
12-23-2011, 10:30 AM
Good luck! is all i can say. haha :)

directorik
12-23-2011, 12:24 PM
We don't intend to sell or profit from the film, the only reason we need permission for all the songs is for submission to festivals.

As others have said, the right to copy has nothing at all
to do with profit - it is the right of the owner to control
how their work is copied.

You will need both the Mechanical License and the
Synchronization license to record a cover and put it in
a movie.

Beatlesfan1225
12-23-2011, 05:39 PM
Alright thanks everyone for the help. I think at the moment we're going to stray away from this idea. We had a few great Cash covers ready, but it seems like a long process (and quite possibly expensive) thing to go through. We might very well write some songs in the style of Cash, I can actually do the voice quite well, I recorded a LOT of Cash stuff earlier in the year. Anyway, thanks so much for the help, very helpful!

newtonu
01-11-2012, 01:01 PM
Im trying to get a AC/DCs song rights for a short movie. Still waiting for a responce from them.

Just been curious: How much they wanted for the Cash song? Sorry if Im been intrusive...

My best,

Newton Uzeda

Beatlesfan1225
01-17-2012, 08:09 PM
Im trying to get a AC/DCs song rights for a short movie. Still waiting for a responce from them.

Just been curious: How much they wanted for the Cash song? Sorry if Im been intrusive...

My best,

Newton Uzeda

For a non profit student project for festivals, it was a few hundred bucks per song, I think like 200 for the song, and 100 just to request it.

indietalk
01-17-2012, 10:55 PM
So I'm making this action film that we think would do great to the music of We don't intend to sell or profit from the film, the only reason we need permission for all the songs is for submission to festivals.
Then get a festival licence. It's cheaper, and if you secure distribution then you will have to pay up or abandon it.

Ziggy
01-17-2012, 11:05 PM
Hi, we used Devotchka's cover of "Something Stupid" in Indie Jonesing, the Carson Parks song (everyone thinks it's Sinatra but it wasn't) Anyway, the people who represented Carson Parkes estate were wonderful but the legalities of the cover- who had to obtain what- took a long time to sort out especially if you can't afford a rep to do the job for you. Without exaggeration it probably took 6 months to sort it all out.

newtonu
02-10-2012, 11:58 AM
For a non profit student project for festivals, it was a few hundred bucks per song, I think like 200 for the song, and 100 just to request it.


Originally Posted by Beatlesfan1225
So I'm making this action film that we think would do great to the music of We don't intend to sell or profit from the film, the only reason we need permission for all the songs is for submission to festivals.
Then get a festival licence. It's cheaper, and if you secure distribution then you will have to pay up or abandon it.

That is realy a good idea! This way we can use the song we want and then, later if neded, pay the rest! :)
Think it would work?

Newton Uzeda (http://www.newtonuzeda.com/)

Alcove Audio
02-10-2012, 01:33 PM
That is realy a good idea! This way we can use the song we want and then, later if neded, pay the rest! Think it would work?

Sure, but be prepared to add LOTS of zeros.

Using songs from well-known artists, songwriters and composers is prohibitively expensive for 98% of indie filmmakers. So support indie musicians and use their music. You can get it for free or a very minimal fee - indie bands love any opportunity to get their music out there.

CamJam
02-12-2012, 11:46 PM
Count me among those who have very professional original songs available for nothing up-front if we think the project will generate some exposure for us. We'll even consider writing and professionally recording songs specifically for you gratis if the project looks like something that might help us down the road.

Visit our web site at http://roadsidesongs.com if you'd like a sample of our work. That site's got a lot of country music, but we do a lot in Americana and singer/songwriter styles as well.

ANTIQCOOL
09-04-2012, 01:39 PM
Feel free to use any of the Antiqcool creative commons tracks on our soundcloud site here... http://www.antiqcool.co.uk

AudioPostExpert
09-04-2012, 03:24 PM
Then get a festival licence. It's cheaper, and if you secure distribution then you will have to pay up or abandon it.

Dolby has a festival license but many/most copyright holders don't, they just license however they want to, it's their copyright to do with as they please.

With the bigger artists you've probably also got to consider an administration cost above the actual fee, bearing in mind a lawyer will probably be required to draw up the license contract. So even if they give you the license for free, there could still be several hundred dollars of lawyer's fees.

Licenses start to get complicated (read expensive) when you negotiate necessary items like exclusivity, territories and media covered. I always found it rather bizarre that my agent charged a premium for a licence which included extraterrestrial broadcast. Yep, most of the licenses my agent negotiated covered the territory of the entire universe, not so much for the Martian audience but so the broadcasters had a valid license to broadcast via satellite.

Unless you've got some serious cash and time (or serious cash and a Music Supervisor), take Alcove's advice and support indie composers/musicans.

G