Jump to content


Photo

Using Non-Original Music in a Short Film


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 J. Pautsch

J. Pautsch

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Other
  • Maryland, U.S.A.

Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:08 AM

Hey, I'm new to these forums (obviously), and I have one pressing question.

Alright, my brother and I are making an amateur film just for us. However, neither of us have the ability to create our own music (let alone GOOD music) and we've already selected many titles (mostly from movie soundtracks) for our scenes. They all fit perfectly and sound beautiful.

We do not plan on making a profit from this movie, nor do we plan on even selling it all. We have no desire to enter it into any festivals or contests. We'll only be showing it to our family, friends, and their families, as well as a select few people over the internet. We'll also be giving credit at the end of the film to all the artists whose music we used.

But even then, do we still have a problem with copyrights? This whole thing confuses me, and I haven't been able to find any info which applies directly to my situation. Any info would be appreciated.

FYI, I live in the United States.
  • 0

#2 J. Pautsch

J. Pautsch

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Other
  • Maryland, U.S.A.

Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:19 AM

If it means anything, I just wanted to add that I have legally purchased all the music in the movie from reputable stores.

Probably doesn't, but oh well.

Edited by Azure Mantle, 31 May 2006 - 09:19 AM.

  • 0

#3 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:45 AM

In short - no, it's not allowed. However, there is a grey area when there's no profit involved, or if it's strictly for personal use. It's called Fair Use and grants the user the theoretical permission to use intellectual property as long as it's not for public viewings and not for profit and not widely spread. Don't take this to the bank, though - it's their interpretation of how commercial or public your work is, not yours. If they feel you've infringed, then you are liable.

Normally, however, this is how it works: many in this business cut and include copyrighted music on their reels. This is strictly not legal, since you're actually using their music to promote yourself even if it's in an indirect way, but it's accepted since the product only assumingly reaches people in the industry. Everyone does that, from the smallest guy to the biggest hot shot. If someone objects, the worst that will probably happen is that they send you a cease-and-desist letter urging you to remove their copyrighted image from your reel. But I've never heard of that happen.

Have you tried asking permission from the music publisher and record co? They can be quite forthcoming sometimes when they know it's just for non-commercial, arty work. It's worth a try if you have the time.
  • 0

#4 J. Pautsch

J. Pautsch

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Other
  • Maryland, U.S.A.

Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:48 AM

Thanks for the reply!

Have you tried asking permission from the music publisher and record co? They can be quite forthcoming sometimes when they know it's just for non-commercial, arty work. It's worth a try if you have the time.


I've considered that, but I really have no idea how to go about it. I'm new to this whole thing, at least compared to most of you guys. =)
  • 0

#5 jijhh

jijhh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 108 posts
  • Student

Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:14 PM

If you want to give calling the record companies a try, search the artists on www.ascap.com and/or www.bmi.com and find the publisher for the particular song/cue. I have a lot of experience doing this and although I wouldn't call my music taste highly mainstream, I've never had a problem getting gratis rights from publishers (very large ones for some songs) for festivals. Given your situation I think even a verbal agreement will do the trick (unless someone in your family/friends/family's friends is a ballbusting music copywrite lawyer).

If all else fails, give this site a try:

Creative Commons

Good Luck
  • 0

#6 Bryan Darling

Bryan Darling
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 227 posts
  • Director
  • Sacramento, CA

Posted 31 May 2006 - 12:59 PM

Honestly for what you are doing and how you are doing it, I wouldn't worry. It's not like the music copyright secret police will be at your door or tapping your telephone. People do this all the time and as long as you aren't out there showing it at festivals, etc. you aren't going to have a problem.
  • 0

#7 J. Pautsch

J. Pautsch

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Other
  • Maryland, U.S.A.

Posted 31 May 2006 - 05:07 PM

Well, it would be nice if I didn't have to worry about it at all, and it may turn out to be so good that I would want to show it at a festival. I'll give calling the artists a try and see what happens.

At the very least, I know I'll be safe if I keep it private and non-profit.
  • 0

#8 J. Pautsch

J. Pautsch

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Other
  • Maryland, U.S.A.

Posted 31 May 2006 - 05:23 PM

Nuts, I couldn't find a single one. The sites (at least the first one) aren't exactly intuitive anyway.

Private it is then. =D
  • 0

#9 Bryan Darling

Bryan Darling
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 227 posts
  • Director
  • Sacramento, CA

Posted 01 June 2006 - 12:30 AM

If it ends up that you want to try and get it into festivals then go and put a call out for people doing music. I haven't had an issue finding people to do music and sound. It can take more work and searching to get "good" people to work on your projects for free. But you have to start somewhere. Once you are more experienced and have a body of work it gets a lot easier.

Edited by tornsprocket, 01 June 2006 - 12:31 AM.

  • 0


Willys Widgets

Visual Products

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

CineTape

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Opal

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Opal

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Rig Wheels Passport