View Full Version : music copyright

08-25-2008, 05:24 PM
hey im a director and i was wondering if anyone knew anything about copyright laws, do i need artist permission to put their music in my movie

08-25-2008, 08:24 PM
Uh... you're a director and you haven't looked into copyright laws? You really need to get on the ball here. I'm going to assume you're a low budget director and don't have a legal team behind you.

Yes, you must get permission to use music in your film. And not from the artist, but from the copyright holder. That may be the artist, and it may be a corporation or other entity like the writer or whatever.

Not only that, you need very specific permission. You need to obtain the "sync rights" to the music.

That means you need the rights to not only use the music, but to synchronize that music to your movie. That may mean you need permission from multiple copyright holders, such as the original copyright holder (often the creator of the music) and the copyright holder of the piece you want to use. (Such as a cover song, you'd need permission from both the original band and the cover band.)

If you plan on entering your film in a festival, then you'll need to provide your copyright clearances to the festival, or at the very least sign a waiver saying you CLAIM to have the copyrights. If you don't, and you get caught, the fines are quick steep.

That's why I commission original music for all my movies. Or use royalty free music. Because I can't afford the result of a lawsuit.

More info can be found here: www.copyright.gov

joker jr.
08-26-2008, 02:27 AM
Depends on where you publish it.

If it's public, and you make money off of it somehow, then yes you'll need permission. You can probably just contact their label or whatever company they belong to, if any.

Other than that you might be able to find some contact info on their websites.

Shadow Master
09-03-2008, 07:07 PM
I recommend that, you make a little short movie, and borrow the music.

Although keep in mind: when you go this way, you can't legally make money off of it.