View Full Version : shorts and music rights


GREATwarEAGLE
07-25-2005, 03:51 PM
I know it is illegal to have copywritten music in your film without permission.

But, we dont live in a perfect world where all laws are followed. Anyone know of any short film fests that accept films that contain music without permission?

Or do most fests not even bother to ask, and its just up to you to take that chance?

I know Flicker accepts stuff with any music, but theyre not really a festival, just an exhibition thing.

If anyone doesnt know what Flicker is, they accept any film 15 mins or shorter that has been shot on either 8mm, super 8mm, or 16mm film. And they have screenings across the country, including here in New York City.

Thanks

Loud Orange Cat
07-25-2005, 04:20 PM
No matter, if you use copyrighted music without properly licencing it, you may be liable for damages, no matter where/when/how it is displayed.

I get ALL my music from http://archive.org and only choose music listed as "Public Domain". This way, I'm in the clear.

GREATwarEAGLE
07-25-2005, 04:30 PM
I know this. I said I know it is illegal. Thats not what I was asking.

AdamG
07-25-2005, 04:46 PM
Most festivals accept submissions with copyrighted music attached, but if and when you get accepted to the festival, you must aquire the rights before they will screen your film.

You can aquire Festival Rights, which are marginally cheaper, but only grant you the rights to use the tunes while screening at festivals. If you screen at any public venues you will either have to pony up and purchase the rights or get new music.

WriteumCowboy
07-26-2005, 09:12 AM
I contacted the author's agents in Nashville and then Universal music for a George Strait song three years ago. They sold me the festival (exhibition only rights) to one of George's songs (album title track) for only $1,500. The music was perfect and worth the money spent. No one comes after me for breaking the copyright law. Why would anyone even consider ripping off a music artist?

If you show the film without music rights and the music company finds out, they will sue you and the film festival will kick you out and take back any award you might win. Why would you risk that? You'd be branded for life that you do not respect other artist's rights.

Not worth the risk.

AlexGg
07-26-2005, 10:59 AM
I get ALL my music from http://archive.org and only choose music listed as "Public Domain". This way, I'm in the clear.
How actually you're showing this source in your movie? Does it mentioned somehow in your title' section?
Please give me a clue.
Tnks Alex.

Loud Orange Cat
07-26-2005, 12:12 PM
How actually you're showing this source in your movie? Does it mentioned somehow in your title' section?
Please give me a clue.
In order to use Public Domain media (Text, audio, video, other), please read and understand the licence:

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/


The person or persons who have associated work with this document (the "Dedicator" or "Certifier") hereby either (a) certifies that, to the best of his knowledge, the work of authorship identified is in the public domain of the country from which the work is published, or (b) hereby dedicates whatever copyright the dedicators holds in the work of authorship identified below (the "Work") to the public domain. A certifier, moreover, dedicates any copyright interest he may have in the associated work, and for these purposes, is described as a "dedicator" below.

A certifier has taken reasonable steps to verify the copyright status of this work. Certifier recognizes that his good faith efforts may not shield him from liability if in fact the work certified is not in the public domain.

Dedicator makes this dedication for the benefit of the public at large and to the detriment of the Dedicator's heirs and successors. Dedicator intends this dedication to be an overt act of relinquishment in perpetuity of all present and future rights under copyright law, whether vested or contingent, in the Work. Dedicator understands that such relinquishment of all rights includes the relinquishment of all rights to enforce (by lawsuit or otherwise) those copyrights in the Work.

Dedicator recognizes that, once placed in the public domain, the Work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and in any way, including by methods that have not yet been invented or conceived.

AlexGg
07-26-2005, 01:14 PM
In order to use Public Domain media (Text, audio, video, other), please read and understand the licence:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/
That's understandable, but I was interesting do you need to mentioned somehow in the movie that there was used a sound (Sound_name) from Public Domain media source, blah-blah-blah...
Or it's good enough do not do any remarks?

Loud Orange Cat
07-26-2005, 01:31 PM
That's understandable, but I was interesting do you need to mentioned somehow in the movie that there was used a sound (Sound_name) from Public Domain media source, blah-blah-blah...
Or it's good enough do not do any remarks?
Out of respect for the artist, I do give them credit, although I do not need to. For example, I used a PD piece I found on archive.org in my last short "Bad Cat 3", everyone remembers this short... it's the one that sucks. :) I gave the artist credit for his music.

GREATwarEAGLE
07-27-2005, 12:53 AM
I know what Im about to post is probably a waste of time, but I m in the mood to do exactly that.

mrde50 said, "Out of respect for the artist, I do give them credit, although I do not need to."

Okay, that's fine.

But what about giving credit in the titles for the names of the designers of the clothes your actors were wearing? Or the names of the architects who designed the buildings onscreen in the film? Or giving credit to the people who designed the automobiles in the film?

I know there are some Hollywood films that actually do credit automobiles and wardrobe designers, but is it mandatory? Is it mandatory in not-for-profit exhibition of short films from no-budget filmmakers? These are rhetorical questions.

Usually, if you have a piece of clothing showing the company logo or trademark symbol, you need permission. But if the logo is not shown, youre fine. Okay, so I'll include music by an artist, without referring to the name of the artist or the name of the music.

Food for thought.

Im not writing this thinking that Im going to change the rules or laws. I realize that. It's just stuff to consider.

I dont feel like Im stealing from an artist if I use their copywritten music without their permission. Just like I dont think Im stealing from clothing designers, automobile designers and architects if I show their stuff in my film without giving credit.

I guess that makes me a bad person.

I know, the record labels dont care what I think, theyll still hunt me down.

Ehh, its a roll of the dice.

Zensteve
07-27-2005, 03:21 AM
Usually, if you have a piece of clothing showing the company logo or trademark symbol, you need permission. But if the logo is not shown, youre fine. Okay, so I'll include music by an artist, without referring to the name of the artist or the name of the music.

Food for thought.

That is not a valid argument.

It's recognisable traits that give value to a product.

A shoe is just a shoe... unless it has a "swoosh" visible. People recognise that.
A golf-shirt is just a golf-shirt... unless it has a crocodile emblazoned on it. People recognise that.
A beer bottle is just a beer bottle... unless it has a Heineken label on it...

A song's key components are melody and lyrics. One cannot strip away the "title" (or emblem, if you will) from it, and have it suddenly rendered "generic". It's simply just not the same as removing branding.

Intellectual property has to exist, unless the artists involved in creating it freely offer it up for PD. There's nothing stopping them from doing so.

If you disagree with the above... just send me a copy of your film. I'll sell copies of it as I see fit, and make some money... without giving you a share of the profits. ;)

_______

But back to your original question...

Anyone know of any short film fests that accept films that contain music without permission?

No, not offhand. I'm sure there are some, though.

They won't be the kind where awards or recognition are valued much, mind you. More of a showing/showcase of films, than judging. Once competitiveness gets involved, you can bet your bottom dollar that a person that comes in at second-place with a legit score will be challenging a first-place winner with a suspect Aerosmith soundtrack.

Since you're in NYC, I bet you could find a bunch of arthouses/coffeshops/headshops/whatever that have underground "film nights" to keep patrons entertained. Is that the type of thing you are looking for?

WriteumCowboy
07-27-2005, 08:30 AM
"I dont feel like Im stealing from an artist if I use their copywritten music without their permission." Herein lies the problem. If you had ever worked as an artist and depended on being paid for your work, you'd think differently. There is a big problem these days with a generation of people who have been given the opportunity to "steal" and not think anything of it. The ability to copy someonme's music and distribute via the internet and not get caught is one of the biggest problems for artists today. It comes from a generation of people who don't think that the laws apply to them and they want music for free. Next they will want films for free, so all the money we indie filmmakers spend on producing a film will be a total writeoff because a generation of people have no respect for paying for music, or film, etc. It's an "endowment" type of attitude.

The argument of giving an Architect credit for designing a building is a poor example. I am an Architect, and I was paid, by the owner of the building, to design it. I can claim I designed it. If you came along and claimed you designed it, I'd have grounds to file charges againsr you, but if a filmmaker came along and shot the exteriors of the building, no one cares. If they wanted to use the building to film in, they'd have to pay the owner a fee in order to rent the building. No of this applies to your analogy.

Loud Orange Cat
07-27-2005, 08:45 AM
But what about giving credit in the titles for the names of the designers of the clothes your actors were wearing? Or the names of the architects who designed the buildings onscreen in the film? Or giving credit to the people who designed the automobiles in the film?
Allow me to clarify something. When I said that I didn't need to give credit to the music artist in my case, that's because it was a public domain song, not a licenced, copyrighted one. If licenced, I need to give the artist proper credit. The same thing applies for trademarked items that have been paid for its on screen appearance.

Basically, if it's someone else's product logo, you can't show it without permission. IANAL, but from what I understand, if the item is blurred or not specifically recognizable at a specific distance, it's okay to use. Copyright law is weird, just consult a copyright attorney.

sonnyboo
07-27-2005, 09:24 AM
Anyone know of any short film fests that accept films that contain music without permission?


Stealing music for your movie is no different than me stealing your short & using it in my movie. I'm certain you would object to me having your movie playing a on TV screen & having characters mock it mercilessly, so don't steal music.

directorik
07-27-2005, 12:15 PM
I dont feel like Im stealing from an artist if I use their copywritten music without their permission. Just like I dont think Im stealing from clothing designers, automobile designers and architects if I show their stuff in my film without giving credit.

I guess that makes me a bad person.

I know, the record labels dont care what I think, theyll still hunt me down.

Ehh, its a roll of the dice.
Even if you feel it's okay to steal from an artist doesn't mean it IS okay. Doesn't make you a bad person.

As artists we should have even MORE respect for other artists. I always find it curious that filmmakers are willing to use others people hard work without their permission. As sonnyboo pointed out, many of us would want our work used in someone else's project, credit or not.

And even if it's fine by you, that doesn't mean it's fine by others.

You have a great opportunity to showcase a band or musician who is looking for the kind of exposure you're going to get at film festivals. Find someone who has the same passion for music as you do for movies and use their music.

That way you help each other out.

Thirdrailbe
07-27-2005, 12:31 PM
Know matter how you look at it using copyrighted music without permisson in a movie is illegal.Remember musicians have to make money too. I have learned of some cool unknown bands because of movies. There are alot of underground bands that would love to have their music used in movies. All one has to look around the internet!

Loud Orange Cat
07-27-2005, 12:51 PM
Agrred. I consider myself an artist. I don't want anyone else to steal my work. I treat all other artists the way I want to be treated.

frankly
07-29-2005, 11:20 AM
I hope this doesn't get buried in here, but I am curious about music rights.
Two questions:
Is there a site, outside of Archive.org, that can price out rights to more popular recordings? I'll pay "Festival" rights or whatever, but where can I find this information?
And what does the law say about recording a performance of a copywritten work? Example: Some friends of mine grab a guitar and drums and do their version of "Devil Went Down to Georgia", which I feature prominently in my festival short. If I credit Charlie Daniels in the end, am I not doing enough?
Any input will be appreciated. Thanks.

WriteumCowboy
07-29-2005, 11:56 AM
Giving credit to Charlie Daniels is not enough. You must pay a fee to the writer, whether it's Charlie or not. You'd need to contact the music publisher. The way to determine this is to go to either ASCAP's or BMI's websites and search for the title's author. There will be a contact number via their agent. Call of fax the agency for inquiring about fees for festival use. They are much cheaper than use for commercial rights. Each song is negotiable due to it's popularity (or lack thereof). If your song is then used, you'll need to secure the rights also from your friends who played Charlies "Devil...".

directorik
07-29-2005, 11:56 AM
I hope this doesn't get buried in here, but I am curious about music rights.
Two questions:
Is there a site, outside of Archive.org, that can price out rights to more popular recordings? I'll pay "Festival" rights or whatever, but where can I find this information?
And what does the law say about recording a performance of a copywritten work? Example: Some friends of mine grab a guitar and drums and do their version of "Devil Went Down to Georgia", which I feature prominently in my festival short. If I credit Charlie Daniels in the end, am I not doing enough?
Any input will be appreciated. Thanks.

There are two main licenses you will need:

--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 http://www.ascap.com. Songs that are not represented by ASCAP might be found at the National Music Publishers' Association "Songfile" website http://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. If you’re planning on producing a soundtrack album for your film you will need to negotiate additional soundtrack rights with the publisher and record label at the same time as your master use rights for your film.

Then there's Festival Rights Licensing: You kinda screw yourself with this one. If your movie is good and goes beyond the festivals (DVD compilation, cable or free TV) you are over a barrel with your pants down. You may have to pay even more for the rights. It's fine if you’re positively livin’-out-of-the-van el broko, but you’ll pay later…one way or another.

Simply giving the writer credit isn't right either. As several have pointed out; what if Daniels (for what ever reason) doesn't want his song in a movie?

frankly
07-29-2005, 12:08 PM
Let me see if I understand this.
Assuming I use my own band to record a soundtrack consisting of other artists' copywritten music, I need (outside of Soundtrack rights):
Synchronization License: This is the right to synchronize a song or a piece of music with your visual image.
and a :
Master Use License: This is the right to reproduce a specific recording of a song in your film.

This sounds right, no one gets anything for free, but I was wondering what sort of price difference would there be in using the original recording versus my own. I'm producing a no-budget short and I wanted to be sure of the kind of music I'll be able to use. Thanks for the quick responses. The "festival rights" isn't an option anymore, thank you.

Thirdrailbe
07-29-2005, 01:45 PM
As far as I know if you use your own oringinal recorded music (ie your own band) its free. Just remember to copyright your music so you will be protected. But if you use someones written music you have to pay a fee. What I would do is find a local unknown band that would like to hear there music in a no-budget short or learn to compose your own music.Try to find a book on the business of music or music rights. Good luck!!

GREATwarEAGLE
07-31-2005, 09:53 PM
Zensteve wrote:
"It's recognisable traits that give value to a product.

A shoe is just a shoe... unless it has a "swoosh" visible. People recognise that.
A golf-shirt is just a golf-shirt... unless it has a crocodile emblazoned on it. People recognise that.
A beer bottle is just a beer bottle... unless it has a Heineken label on it..."

I have no interest in shoes or beer bottles. But I did mention automobiles and buildings. And as we all know, certain automobiles are unmistakable even without their company logo. And many many buildings are identifable and unique.


"If you disagree with the above... just send me a copy of your film. I'll sell copies of it as I see fit, and make some money... without giving you a share of the profits. "

That might be a distributuion deal worth taking you up on. I'll have to think about it.

After I had asked, "Anyone know of any short film fests that accept films that contain music without permission?"

Zensteve replied, "No, not offhand. I'm sure there are some, though.

They won't be the kind where awards or recognition are valued much, mind you. More of a showing/showcase of films, than judging. Once competitiveness gets involved, you can bet your bottom dollar that a person that comes in at second-place with a legit score will be challenging a first-place winner with a suspect Aerosmith soundtrack."

Im not really interested in competition, just awareness of my films.

I am going to look into festival rights for music, but if prices get too high....we'll see.

There are other avenues I am considering. Among them are searching for indie producers here in the city. I do know of some, and will contact them when all my shit is together. I have no problem showing them stuff with copywritten music without permission.

Does anybody know of any non-established filmmakers entering into non for profit fests or similar non-commercial events and then getting in trouble for not getting permission for music?

By the way, Zensteve, is that Veronica Brazil on your posts?

Zensteve
08-01-2005, 12:02 AM
is that Veronica Brazil on your posts?

Hehe, no. I'd have to look up her name on the release, but I shot her about two months for a promotion. I should rotate in some of the other models. http://www.stevenrichards.com/images/smiley_fatcat.gif

certain automobiles are unmistakable even without their company logo. And many many buildings are identifable and unique.

Well, sure. There's a few old threads that go into detail (mainly about buildings) concerning how the DMCA made a few things problematic like that. I'm spacing on the names of particular American structures that one can't photograph right now, but take the Eiffel Tower. (Covered by same concept) You cannot legally photograph that at night. I guarantee that whatever design the new Freedom Tower ends up with, that it will be at least difficult to photograph. Many landmarks and buildings in the US have had changes made to them that now place them under copyright simply by existing.

I am going to look into festival rights for music, but if prices get too high....we'll see.

Go down to the Classifieds section of the forum, and look at the composers. Every month there are more composers posting, looking to do anything... most of them for free, so they can build a larger portfolio/reel.

It's good for you; it's good for them.

_______

Does anybody know of any non-established filmmakers entering into non for profit fests or similar non-commercial events and then getting in trouble for not getting permission for music?

Nope. I don't.

That's because everyone I know who tried to submit without music clearance had their films rejected by the fests at initial preview, and never had a chance to show. http://www.stevenrichards.com/images/smiley_creepy.gif

spinner
08-01-2005, 12:55 AM
...I agree with you, however....

WriteumCowboy - It comes from a generation of people who don't think that the laws apply to them and they want music for free. ...It comes from a generation of people who have been gouged by music stores like Tower and Virgin. ( I love used cd stores now and that is how I have been doing some of my research.)

...I am expecting my project to be a music rights nightmare :scared: but you better believe I intend to figure out how to get music rights. It would be nice if people could just be fair and charge reasonable prices. Then everybody wins....

--spinner :cool:

GREATwarEAGLE
08-23-2005, 04:16 PM
So, does anybody else know of any non-established filmmakers entering into non for profit fests or similar non-commercial events and then getting in trouble for not getting permission for music?

Or will I be the first?

If you do know of anyone, do you have web links or magazine/newspaper article references about such instances?

Loud Orange Cat
08-23-2005, 04:34 PM
Or will I be the first?
Don't say we didn't warn you... :seeya:

GREATwarEAGLE
08-23-2005, 04:46 PM
Don't worry, I won't.

As a matter of fact, if and when arrested, I'll make sure my one phone call is to one of you just so you can have the pleasure of saying "Told ya so."

sonnyboo
08-23-2005, 08:15 PM
So, does anybody else know of any non-established filmmakers entering into non for profit fests or similar non-commercial events and then getting in trouble for not getting permission for music?

Or will I be the first?

If you do know of anyone, do you have web links or magazine/newspaper article references about such instances?

You wouldn't be the first and if you haven't heard about the RIAA going after indivudual users downloading songs... then maybe you're living under a rock. You didn't hear about ASCAP and BMI suing the Girlscouts for singing Kumbaya? or going after APPLEE's for royalties due for singing Happy Birthday ((ever wonder why restaurants make up their own crappy birthday songs? THIS is why - they got sued))? The Girlscouts of America is non profit & they weren't making any $$$ around the campfire singing that song either.

Using it in a short film and publically screening it at a festival is even more public & not going to matter.

Don't do it. It's theft, plain and simple. If you don't even attempt to secure the rights to the music you're using, then you've got no excuse. At least make the effort, sometimes you get lucky & get stuff free or cheap - especially for FILM FESTIVAL RIGHTS ONLY, as ASCAP & BMI have special pricing & arrangements just for us filmmakers.

captain
08-23-2005, 08:32 PM
Ahoy All,
As director of a film festival i can assure you its one of the first things i take into consideration when evaluating a submission..Original music and score puts the submission into the front ..including credits for copied music is always noticed ..copied music with festival permission is quite different than simply crediting the artist ..it can have equal footing as an original song, if applied in a truly original manner ..blatant copying is of course not acceptable..The internet has made networking much easier , many learning composers are out there looking for filmmakers to get started with ..experienced filmmakers already know this ..the art of the deal should be a filmakers forte.
Happy sailing
Captain......_/)........

GREATwarEAGLE
08-23-2005, 09:08 PM
Thanks, Sonyboo and captain. Good to know.

WednesdayPosterBoy
08-23-2005, 10:13 PM
Hi, my thread got lost about this...but I was wondering if anybody could help me out with what this means:

These works are fully under Free Art Licence available at http://artlibre.org.

That means it's copyleft under some conditions (similar to Share Alike)

That was written under the info of a musician's work from archive.org, that I'd love to use. I want to get in contact with him however before I send it off to a festival, any tips on how I should go about this?

Zensteve
08-24-2005, 02:19 AM
That was written under the info of a musician's work from archive.org, that I'd love to use. I want to get in contact with him however before I send it off to a festival, any tips on how I should go about this?

You could try googling the name of the artist, to find their website (which ought to have contact details.)

Also, did the artist maybe add the pertinent info to the actual music file? Try checking the Properties of the audio file, to see what has been added as extra information.

:)

Loud Orange Cat
08-24-2005, 10:54 AM
At the very least, go to archive.org, click "Open Source Audio" and search for music listed as simply "Attribution" or "Public Domain". Give the proper credit in your production and you're safe. That's where I find my music. Lots of good stuff there. Thousands of titles.

scottt
10-25-2005, 02:36 PM
Does anyone have an example of a letter they wrote to a label when trying to acquire song rights?

Do labels typically want to see your film first? Do you include their song with the print, along with the artist's credit, to show them what it will look like?

What if the artist is relatively unknown, or part of a small niche in the industry? Would that factor into the contract?

Scott

mdifilm
10-25-2005, 06:19 PM
if the artist is relatively unknown, first contact them and just write/email them and ask them if they would let you use their music, if yes, try to get it down into a written consent, when you talk to them be honest as much as you can about where and what this film is about and where it's going to get, sometimes, they would say yes, who knows, with short films, it's easier to get stuff without any issue, with feature, they need to just sign a contract, etc.

As for major labels, I cant remember but there's one site where you can get the agreement information and get it signed between you and the recorder/representative... The letter, is usually simple (for initial contact), express who you are, what you want, and what you want to do with his/her/band music and how it is going to relate to the movie and finally what $ is there availabe or not, etc...

jp201
03-05-2010, 08:06 AM
I just wanted to add to this. As a composer myself, I am very aware of the competition that exists between young/new film composers in the industry today. This results in there being a plentiful resource of composers willing to work FOR FREE simply for credits and to enhance their own portfolio. For this reason alone I see very little reason not to use bespoke music (until you can afford to clear the odd track you might want to use)

It is for your films benefit too.

Good Luck

Jack