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Legalities of music in films


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#1 Praetorian

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 01:52 AM

I was wondering how to go about putting a song in a short and doing it without fear of being sued.

I'm doing a short for Spielberg's On The Lot, and Peter Gabriel's Book of Love fits the ending perfectly. How can I somehow contact the publisher or whatever it is I have to do to get permission to use the song?
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#2 william everett

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 07:36 PM

A Peter Gabriel song is recent enough that you would have to get permission, and pay for it. Has to be. Might be easier to pick something else. I want to use classical music (several pieces from Vivaldi) but of course he has been dead for two hundred years, so I am going to get a local quartet to play the pieces. Still have to pay them, of course, but I won't be using a recording from an orchestra so i think (!) I will be safe.
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#3 Praetorian

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:14 PM

Yeah, but the short I am doing... Basically a guy takes dancing lessons to keep his girl. He goes home to find her gone. A couple of hours later she is back (shown by changes in light) and they dance to the song. But through that whole bit, the song is going. It is pretty much done to the song. Climaxes happen when the music swells, etc...

I read that I probably have to contact the publisher or something. And I figured I may have to pay, but I am hoping to bat my eyes and use the, "I am a poor college student and will not make any money off of this short whatsoever...it is just an audition, really."
I wanted to confirm that so I don't look stupid.
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#4 Jody Custer

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 10:34 PM

Yeah, but the short I am doing... Basically a guy takes dancing lessons to keep his girl. He goes home to find her gone. A couple of hours later she is back (shown by changes in light) and they dance to the song. But through that whole bit, the song is going. It is pretty much done to the song. Climaxes happen when the music swells, etc...

I read that I probably have to contact the publisher or something. And I figured I may have to pay, but I am hoping to bat my eyes and use the, "I am a poor college student and will not make any money off of this short whatsoever...it is just an audition, really."
I wanted to confirm that so I don't look stupid.


In post on several film this past few months, I have come to the same issues with music and advertisments copyrights. I initially contact the available email address in regards to the company which could then advise me to the public relations department for the specifics of my request. If the film is student or not the PR still must sign a contract for you and that is where I found the most resistance. With music, I was told that the musicians have to be paid for their playing the music. Using this I gathered musicians to recreate the song I needed and paid them, as well and covering the copyright legalities of the song used (in my case an old jazz tune originally sung by Holliday with Louis on horns). A song by Peter Gabriel ofcouse will have to be given permission by Real World Studios in UK. If you go to Real World Music, and on to the Publishing section, you will see as quoted,

"Here at Real World Publishing we have over 3000 music titles sourced from the Real World Records, WOMAD Select and Peter Gabriel catalogues, as well as other World Music labels across the globe.

These titles are available for licensing for use in films, television programmes, adverts, computer games and web sites; in fact anywhere music is used.

As we control 100% of the rights to most of the works in our catalogues, we can provide a great one-stop shop for your licensing needs.

We also work with a number of artists who create music specifically for new productions. If you are after tailor-made music, please contact us with details of your project and we will be happy to discuss your specific needs.
"
I would say to contact the publishing department at this site and go from there, people are very helpful if you just kindly ask them.

Good Luck and be open to what is affordable to you and available for you project.
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#5 Jason Debus

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 03:35 AM

"I am a poor college student and will not make any money off of this short whatsoever...it is just an audition, really."


If it's just for school then you can use any music under Fair Use laws. Not that I'm an expert, but that's what my school has told me. If you want to enter it into festivals or show it to the public then you have to pay, but if your just showing it at school then you can use pretty much anything. (someone correct me if I'm wrong here).
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#6 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 06:36 AM

I'm doing a short for Spielberg's On The Lot,


I had no idea what you were talking about until I googled the phrase "On the lot" Spielberg.

That's really a tough call, if you're going to submit your entry to the TV show, I'd call and ask them if you will accept it if it has copyrighted music in it "for entry purposes only". I'd be curious to hear what they say. I think it would be most impressive if you actually got real permission and were able to list that reality in your credits.
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#7 Praetorian

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 10:26 PM

I had no idea what you were talking about until I googled the phrase "On the lot" Spielberg.

That's really a tough call, if you're going to submit your entry to the TV show, I'd call and ask them if you will accept it if it has copyrighted music in it "for entry purposes only". I'd be curious to hear what they say. I think it would be most impressive if you actually got real permission and were able to list that reality in your credits.


Well, from what I gathered in the paperwork for On the Lot, we are responsible for any royalties to be paid for anything in our submissions.

Here is the link to the rules.
http://www.thelot.co...Application.pdf

Page 9, paragraph five mentions legal use of material. (it won't let me highlight it and copy it)

And this was in the terms and agreements:

You agree that any Content whatsoever posted by you to the public areas of the Site (excluding blogs) you hereby grant to OTLP and Fox the non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable universal license to use, copy, sublicense, adapt, transmit, translate, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, modify, and translate such Content as OLTP and Fox see fit. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on the Site, (ii) your Content does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyright rights, intellectual property rights, or any other rights of any person or entity, and (iii) the posting of your Content on the Site does not result in a breach of any contract between you and a third party. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees and any other monies owing any person or entity by reason of any Content you post on the Site.




Thanks for the information, okdac.
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#8 jijhh

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 06:25 PM

i would definately avoid using copywrited music for an "on the lot" submission. i've only perused the entry contract, but i can't even begin to imagine the legal obligations of fox in dealing with that type of submission. they are probably getting thousands of entries so they would very easily do away with entries with copywrite issues to avoid the trouble. even if you do get permission, you have to get permission for fox to use it, which, just guessing, would not be cheap at all. i would say just avoid it because you'd be cutting down the probability that your submission gets picked.
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#9 Praetorian

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 01:09 AM

i would definately avoid using copywrited music for an "on the lot" submission. i've only perused the entry contract, but i can't even begin to imagine the legal obligations of fox in dealing with that type of submission. they are probably getting thousands of entries so they would very easily do away with entries with copywrite issues to avoid the trouble. even if you do get permission, you have to get permission for fox to use it, which, just guessing, would not be cheap at all. i would say just avoid it because you'd be cutting down the probability that your submission gets picked.



Yeah, thanks.

It doesn't really matter because I don't have any equipment anyway. I thought I might be able to use university equipment but I got a big NO.
Ah well.
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#10 Danny

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 03:06 PM

I'm a composer myself, if you wanted a track done, let me know what you need and I might be able to pull something off. Free of charge (and no legal bullcrap), just want a copy of the film and a place in the credits.

An old song by myself: Bermuda Sky

You'd get a tailor made song for the film, it would be how you wanted it. I'd just be recording and playing it.

Edited by Danny, 02 July 2006 - 03:02 PM.

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#11 Praetorian

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:26 PM

I'm a composer myself, if you wanted a track done, let me know what you need and I might be able to pull something off. Free of charge (and no legal bullcrap), just want a copy of the film and a place in the credits.

An old song by myself: Bermuda Sky

You'd get a tailor made song for the film, it would be how you wanted it. I'd just be recording and playing it.



Wow Danny. That is very generous of you. I'll definitely contact you in the future. Bermuda Sky is awesome.

Edited by Phantom's_Christine, 03 July 2006 - 11:27 PM.

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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 10:11 AM

Wow Danny. That is very generous of you. I'll definitely contact you in the future. Bermuda Sky is awesome.


Just make sure that you put this agreement in writing, so that the music cleared for use in your film. Studio people want to see the paperwork and films tend to collect a pile of the stuff. You can find model contracts online or at the very least a letter giving permission for the music to be used in the film, the use you can make of it and for how long.
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#13 Danny

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 08:22 PM

Wow Danny. That is very generous of you. I'll definitely contact you in the future. Bermuda Sky is awesome.

Thanks.

If you did want a track done, since as you are from America we'd have to do most of everything through the internet, although when it comes to final tracks I'd send you a high-res version on DVD through the post or something. All in all it would probably take a week to produce the track. That Bermuda Sky song took a few days, so with a weeks work it would sound pretty pro, imao. (I don't care about shipping fees, they're hardly anything with jewel cases)

There would be no obligation to use the track, it won't break my heart if it's not used lol, although what I would do at first is send you a few rough copies of what the main line would sound like and then you can tell me what you like and dis-like e.t.c.

I think it would just be an interesting experience. In many films the soundtrack is made in a completely different location, for instance in 'King Kong' 2005 the film was shot in New Zealand but the track was made in America. The music was just okayed by the director (or whoever) and sent through high-speed internet connections to the cutting room.

I've got access to most intruments, I myself can do guitar, bass, digital drums and possibly some vocals. But I know some amazing singers and acoustic drummers and pianists (they do synth aswell). They're close friends and they would be happy just to have their music played elsewhere as would I.

Just make sure that you put this agreement in writing, so that the music cleared for use in your film. Studio people want to see the paperwork and films tend to collect a pile of the stuff. You can find model contracts online or at the very least a letter giving permission for the music to be used in the film, the use you can make of it and for how long.

Good point.. I think we should use a legal contract anyway. The agreement would be that I would still own the track completely, but you would have the right to use it in the film and have it shown anywhere with the track playing in it, without any fees or anything, this includes the right to sell the film with the track included. The only distributing rule there would be on it is that I would need to be consulted first before the track is sold as audio in some kind of separate soundtrack.

Of course.. this is probably going way overboard.. but it's probably best to have these things on paper anyway. Like Brian mentioned, for any studios or anything.

Thanks Brian if this does go through I'll look for a model contract.

Edited by Danny, 04 July 2006 - 08:24 PM.

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#14 Praetorian

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 12:26 AM

Thanks.

If you did want a track done, since as you are from America we'd have to do most of everything through the internet, although when it comes to final tracks I'd send you a high-res version on DVD through the post or something. All in all it would probably take a week to produce the track. That Bermuda Sky song took a few days, so with a weeks work it would sound pretty pro, imao. (I don't care about shipping fees, they're hardly anything with jewel cases)

There would be no obligation to use the track, it won't break my heart if it's not used lol, although what I would do at first is send you a few rough copies of what the main line would sound like and then you can tell me what you like and dis-like e.t.c.

I think it would just be an interesting experience. In many films the soundtrack is made in a completely different location, for instance in 'King Kong' 2005 the film was shot in New Zealand but the track was made in America. The music was just okayed by the director (or whoever) and sent through high-speed internet connections to the cutting room.

I've got access to most intruments, I myself can do guitar, bass, digital drums and possibly some vocals. But I know some amazing singers and acoustic drummers and pianists (they do synth aswell). They're close friends and they would be happy just to have their music played elsewhere as would I.
Good point.. I think we should use a legal contract anyway. The agreement would be that I would still own the track completely, but you would have the right to use it in the film and have it shown anywhere with the track playing in it, without any fees or anything, this includes the right to sell the film with the track included. The only distributing rule there would be on it is that I would need to be consulted first before the track is sold as audio in some kind of separate soundtrack.

Of course.. this is probably going way overboard.. but it's probably best to have these things on paper anyway. Like Brian mentioned, for any studios or anything.

Thanks Brian if this does go through I'll look for a model contract.


Oh, I definitely planned on doing a contract if I used a song. Can't be too careful these days.
I'll keep in touch with you. I am sort of stagnant right now with lack of equipment, so no movies to be made any time soon...

Again, I really appreciate the offer. I play drums and compose stuff for drumlines and I know how time consuming composing can be, so to offer your services for free is very generous and extremely appreciated.
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#15 Roman

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 12:50 AM

You may be able to "fair use" of the material. It is VERY murky segment of law hence do you own research... othervise, the

Determining of Fair Use:
http://www.sandiego....041014111137116
Motion media: Up to 10% or three minutes, whichever is less, of a copyrighted work (for example, an animation, video, or film image). The clip or portion cannot be altered in any way and would not be considered fair use if the portion taken is the "heart" of the work.

http://www.mplc.com/ Motion Picture Licensing Corporation
http://www.utsystem....ty/permissn.htm
http://www.lib.purdu..._use/index.html - Fair Use Analysis

GOOD start, Music's Publisher's Association
http://www.mpa.org/c..._center/copying the place is the place where you can learn a lot and searh for the music hence for the copyright owners. then you may nagotiate with them.

http://www.pdinfo.com/ is where you may find some free domain music...

Good luck!
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#16 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 12:21 AM

www.creativecommons.com has bunches of PD music you can use with no issues)
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#17 Tom Mott

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 03:31 PM

I'm a composer myself, if you wanted a track done, let me know what you need and I might be able to pull something off. Free of charge (and no legal bullcrap), just want a copy of the film and a place in the credits.

An old song by myself: Bermuda Sky

You'd get a tailor made song for the film, it would be how you wanted it. I'd just be recording and playing it.


Danny,
Bermuda sky is great... I am working on a no budget documentary feature film ( as producer, director, cinematographer, editor) and would like to possibly use this or other songs you have already produced as part of the score. I have over 50hrs of footage - in the editing process now. I don't know how to get a hold of you through the forum (it has you listed as unregistered) but shoot me an email at tom@tommott.com

Regards,
Tom Mott
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