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Making a short film, but using someone elses music...


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#1 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 02:08 PM

I was just wondering, I've almost got the plan for my latest film "Check Mate" done and dusted, I've written my own music track, but I've found another that sounds amazing... Trouble is, it's not mine.

Basically I want to use "Lothlorien" by "Enya" but I'm afraid that if I end up sending this film into competitions e.t.c. I'm going to get done for copyright infringement, or something like that.

I mean... 17 year old kid, making a short movie, sending it in to some competitions, practically harmless, but will they see it that way?

What's the worst that can happen?

Thanks,
Dan.

(Maybe if I ask Enya nicely..)
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#2 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 02:58 PM

Unfortunately, record labels take a very dim view of unauthorised usage of their material. I've been in this situation myself, and found that the best approach is to contact the record label, explaining exactly what you want to do, emphasising the 'not-for-profit' nature of your project. If you're lucky (and it does happen) they'll give you permission to use the track. If not, use your own music. Really - record labels have teams of Lawyers who like nothing better than to scare the poop of people over unauthorised use.
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#3 Gordon Highland

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 03:44 PM

I'd use your own music. Hey, it's another credit! Or you could always go the royalty-free route; for not very much money, you could probably find something with a very similar feel. Or rewrite your own music in a similar way without copying it. Flip some of the chords around, change the key, but use the same kind of instrumentation with a new melody.

Honestly, the worst thing that would probably happen is a cease-and-desist. But you could forget about entering it into any festivals without the license.

I don't think it's unfortunate at all that record labels (actually ASCAP and BMI) pursue these things; I wish they'd be even more aggressive about it. People want the value that familiar music adds, but they don't want to pay for it.
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#4 Dominik Muench

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 12:34 AM

i approached labels and bands before and so far i always got to use the music i wanted, even from some really big bands, just explain them what its for and that its for non commercial use.

if you use music from someone else without their permision you wont be able to get your film screened at any festival.
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#5 Sam Wells

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 10:08 AM

Sometimes labels will give you a license for Festivals only at a lower price.

The problem here can be that if your film is successfully recieved you've got more potential issues i.e. $$ than if it didn't go anywhere.....

I suspect an Enya recording is gonna be pricey but you never know.

-Sam
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#6 Matt Sandstrom

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 11:02 AM

you can typically get worldwide festival rights even to quite well known tracks for as little as a couple of hundred bucks.

/matt
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#7 rik carter

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 11:37 AM

Daniel, a 17 year old kid making a movie and sending it to some competitions should respect the rights of other artists.

The chances are some festivals and competitions might not object, but many will. The chances of getting sued are almost nothing - at most you will get a cease and desist order, meaning you will have to stop showing the movie with that music.

So at your level and age it really comes down to your own ethics. Using someone's intellectual property without permission is simply wrong. Someday you will own the intellectual property rights to something you created - be it a movie or a piece of music or a script. As an artist you would like the opportunity to know where and how your work is being used.

(Maybe if I ask Enya nicely..)

Exactly!

Do the right thing. Ask for permission. As Sam mentioned, most publishers offer Festival Rights and these licenses can be very affordable for a young movie maker.

-rik

Edited by directorik, 06 October 2005 - 11:39 AM.

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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 02:10 PM

Daniel,

Every film fest I enter wants to know about music clearance. If you have some thing famous in your film then the fest organizers will definately want to see your official clearance for the use of the music. Or your film will be rejected on that fact alone.

The film fests are at more risk than you are. The lawyers who work for the record companies (they only come out of their coffins at night by the way) know that they have a greater chance of financial recovery from a film festival than a 17 year old kid. So they'll do what Deep Throat advised and "follow the money."

This is why the music industry lawyers filed suits against the ISPs that people used to download music from Napster. Finding the individuals that did the downloading was next to impossible and there where too many of them. The ISPs on the other hand where businesses that could not run away, they had offices and staff, and most importantly revenue. The ISPs where told they where criminally liable for the actions of their customers. Which is like saying GM is liable if one of their cars is used in a bank heist. But hey the music industry has always made their own rules, then they wonder why no one has any sympathy for them. It's a bit like the IRS wondering why the public hates them so much.

I suggest royalty free, cheap easy and no law suits. Try www.smartsound.com or www.freshmusic.com

R,

PS: As for one day owning content that you would not want others to steal. I have been in this situation many times, and I am always flattered when it happens. After all no one goes through the effort to steal crap, if people are ripping off your work they must think it's "theft worthy." You know you've arrived when you make some thing good enough that people want to steal :)
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#9 Daniel J. Ashley-Smith

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 11:21 AM

Ok. Thanks guys.

I'm going to try contacting the record company, see what I get out of them. Although if they don't like it, I'll just have to use my original track. I'd prefer Enya's track but there's no way I can afford the rights, since as I plan to create the film for less than £100. (All I'm planning to pay for is the travel expenses, food)

I may end up having to rent a location, although I'm hoping to persuade one of my friends to let me use their home. (As you can imagine, people aren't too comfortable about having a film crew in their house when they don't even know them) Although if I offer them a position in the film, they might be more willing.

As it stands I'm going to use my Canon MVX350i, although I do know someone that owns a Canon XL1s, so maybe if I offer them the role as camera assistant they'l let me use it. (I'm ok with the resolution of the MVX350i but the noise is a bit worrying, since as this film will need some colour alterations)

Other than that I think I can borrow a dolly from my College aswell as tripod (Nice tripod aswell)

My last question is, do you guys know of any really good horror films where the killer is chasing the victim in a dark basement or something? I don't know many horror films, the only ones I do know of like that are really old ones. Basically I want to disect the scene and use the techniques in my film.

Thanks again,

Dan.

Just thought I'd mention the film is quite similar to One Hour Photo in a way.

Edited by Daniel J. Ashley-Smith, 10 October 2005 - 11:12 AM.

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