View Full Version : Anyone know the deal with music ?


LloydTheGreat
07-10-2004, 10:23 AM
Hi.
Im about 1/5th of the way through shooting my summer feature movie and Ive begun doing some rough cuts of the scenes ive shot. This gives me lots of time to think about music for the film.
I am using my friends help to 'score' the move most of the way though but there are one or two parts where I will be using very popular music as the soundtrack (ie, The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy for the ending credits).
Does anyone here know the deal with using copyrighted music ?
I dont plan to distribute this film, only to send it to festivals and use it on my showreel.
So is it okay to just go ahead and do this or do I need to pay royalites/obtain permission or anything like that ?

Thanks
lloyd.

stbd1
07-10-2004, 12:28 PM
If you intend to show it at festivals, you'll want to get permission, and something as popular as Thin Lizzie will probably come with a fee. Any "public performance" of your film, especially one in which money is exchanging hands (such as festival fees, even if you yourself aren't seeing the cash firsthand), means you're technically profiting from the work of everyone involved in the film, including the musicians.

As such, you may want to consider having the friends who have contributed music to your film sign a release stating that they grant you the right to show the work in public without expecting compensation. Even if you plan to pay them later, it doesn't hurt to cover that base now.

directorik
07-11-2004, 02:01 AM
Does anyone here know the deal with using copyrighted music ?
I dont plan to distribute this film, only to send it to festivals and use it on my showreel.
So is it okay to just go ahead and do this or do I need to pay royalites/obtain permission or anything like that ?

Thanks
lloyd.
The deal with copyrights is you cannot use anything you don't own without permission.

Music too.

Most festivals won't show a movie that the filmmaker doesn't have all rights to. Check the entry rules carefully.

Zensteve
07-11-2004, 02:51 AM
You could probably sneak by with using copyrighted pieces for a demo-reel, but for festivals (or better) you'll either need original compositions, or public domain*, or licensed.... and be able to show proof of clearance for any of those, regardless.

Here are song-license links:

BMI (http://www.bmi.com)

ASCAP (http://www.ascap.com)

There is a third one as well, that I forgot the name of. They are the companies that represent the artists, for royalties etc.

Both those links will cover various options available, including the several kinds of licenses you can get, as well as worksheets for determing how much it will cost. (Yes, need pay the fees in advance before actually using the music)

Of interest for small filmmakers are specific categories for "Festival Only" licenses, and "Internet Only" licenses. I did the worksheet for the 'net one recently just for fun. Worksheet was based on anticipated future views of a certain flick containg one song, for one year. No matter how low you may estimate, there was a minimum amount of USD$260-ish for the 'net-only license.

BMI Worksheets & Downloads (http://www.bmi.com/licensing/forms/index.asp)

ASCAP Worksheets & Downloads (http://www.ascap.com/licensing/)

Just had a thought... not sure if these are global, or just United States. You are in Wales, right?


* http://www.stevenrichards.com/images/smiley_learn.gif While the music itself may be in the Public Domain, the actual recording of it may not be. For example, Aerosmith's rendition of "Turkey in the Straw" would remain copyrighted... you could freely record and use your own rendition of the same song, however.

film8ker
07-11-2004, 07:14 AM
From: http://www.ascap.com/filmtv/faq.html
Q: WHAT LICENSES MUST I GET TO USE A SONG IN MY FILM?

A: If you are using a pre-recorded song or another pre-recorded piece of music in your film, there are two rights you need to clear; that is to say, you need to get two different licenses to use the music.

Synchronization License: This is the right to synchronize a song or a piece of music with your visual image. It must be obtained from the copyright owner of the music, which is usually the publisher. You can find out who the publisher is by using ASCAP's Clearance Express (ACE) at www.ascap.com. Songs that are not represented by ASCAP might be found at the National Music Publishers' Association "Songfile" website (www.nmpa.org).You will be provided with a contact at the publisher's Business Affairs or Licensing Department.

Master Use License: This is the right to reproduce a specific recording of a song in your film. You clear this right with the record label who owns the specific recording you would like to use; see the liner notes of the recording to find out which company this is. Alternatively, you can get contact information for record labels by calling ASCAP's Film/TV Department. You will be provided with a contact at the record label's Business Affairs Department.

***

This site also has valuable information on what information to include in you letter. As long as you are clear as to what your goals and objectives are, they may be willing to work with you. I did a short for festival purposes only, and I never expected to recoup the production cost, let alone make a profit. I wanted to use “Woke Up This Morning” by A3 (the soundtrack from Sopranos) and they granted me synch rights for gratis, however the label wanted more than I could afford for the master use license; so you never know.

LloydTheGreat
07-11-2004, 09:38 AM
Yes I am In Wales.
I managed to get clearance for My Sharona a while back very easily by simply sending a letter to the record company and explaining in a very detailed manner what I would be using the song for.

So ill probobly just try that again :)

King Goldfish
07-11-2004, 11:30 PM
Yes I am In Wales.
I managed to get clearance for My Sharona a while back very easily by simply sending a letter to the record company and explaining in a very detailed manner what I would be using the song for.

So ill probobly just try that again :)

What kind of form did they send you. does it have an official seal on the form? do you have the envelope?

film8ker
07-12-2004, 02:24 PM
When I got my permission, they just faxed me the letter I sent to them with a handwritten note that said “Gratis - 1 year” and the person’s initials.

LloydTheGreat
07-12-2004, 03:14 PM
They didnt send me a form, i just explained to them that I was a 14 year old film-maker (at the time) and that I would be sending my movie to a few small competitions and using it on my showreel (which i did).
I was just really really polite and made myself sound like a little spec of dust on the wall that would be ever so grateful for this little deed and they said fine.

So that was the story.
(oh and by the way My Sharona is performed by The Knack and you should look it up because it is bloody ace ! )