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Old June 5th, 2008, 04:09 AM   #1
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The Wonderful World of Law

Hello to Everyone,

I am an amateur filmmaker from Texas and I seem to be running into a problem with a current project of mine. I recently created a short promo for a local film festival and I wanted to use a song by FatboySlim.

I know this question has been asked a billion times but I must ask once more. Sadly the law is my weakest understanding when it comes to copyright music. I would love to use the song I have chosen for my piece but I do not know where to begin as far as obtaining the rights or what one can get away with legally without having to obtain rights. Example, I was under the impression that you could use some music from other artists as long as you make no profit from it and it is stated in a disclaimer in your piece. But again I am not clear and these are things I have just heard over time.

My question is:
Can someone lead me to perhaps a website or a book that can explain the laws of copyright and what methods are available in obtaining the rights. Kind of a do and donít for copyright use in film.

Well thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 07:18 AM   #2
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Hi Bryan:

Start with the record label and work your way from there. You may be surprised when you receive a quote for $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 though. Seriously. Anything that's been a hit will be in the multiple tens of thousands of dollars for most usage.

Dan
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Old June 5th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #3
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Despite what you see on YouTube everyday, just about the only music you can use legally for public performance (ie. outside of your house) is:
1. Music you have licensed (see above);
2. Music you have negotiated rights to. Moby allows for use of some of his material in not-for-profit scenarios. Go to www.mobygratis.com for more info.
3. Music you have yourself created;
4. Royalty free music you have purchased, for example visit www.digitaljuice.com and look at their StackTraxx collection.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 10:05 AM   #4
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there are some fair use areas, but this is NOT one of them. fair use centers around docs / news. this is clearly commercial use, even if it might be a "not for profit" group, its still commecerial usage.... and whoever thinks "not for profit" means no money doesn't live in the real world.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #5
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the fun of law is paying lawers

I'm not really an expert but here's what i tell my students in brief

here are a few of the rights you would have/may have to obtain

synchronization rights - the right to edit the music to images in any form for any use
performance rights/broadcast right - the right to show it to anybody in any quantity
mechanical rights - the right to make copies any quantity
master rights - the right to use the mastered recording

each right is owed by different entities and would be negotiated with the entity or entitles agent.

plenty of web sites
http://www.ascap.com/licensing/termsdefined.html
http://www.bmi.com/licensing/entry/C1289
http://www.nmpa.org/aboutnmpa/hfa.asp



good luck
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Old June 5th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #6
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forgot to add

a note on who's got the rights here are just a few:

the writer - who wrote the words and music
the publisher - who owns the right to the words and songs
the performer - who sang an played on the song
the owner of the recording - who paid for the recording to take place

each could be entitled to get a fee depending upon the situation and keep in mind a performer usually does not have rights to the recording of their performance their record company owns rights that, the performer would own the rights his performance ...
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Old June 5th, 2008, 12:12 PM   #7
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Two sites on copyright and fair use

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyrigh...view/chapter9/

This info has been posted on these forums I don't know how many times. Since the question keeps getting asked, I'll keep posting it.

There are many, many helpful stickies and posts over in the Taking Care of Business forum.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ortiz View Post
I was under the impression that you could use some music from other artists as long as you make no profit from it and it is stated in a disclaimer in your piece.
Just to make sure you (and anyone else under a similar impression) understand, that is categorically false. It is 100% not true. Not under any condition or exception.

The only time you can "get away with" using copyright music without a license and not be in violation of copyright law is under the Fair Use guidelines (see me previous post in this thread). And no, Fair Use is not a giant grey area full of loop holes, it is actually fairly straight forward.

And this always warrants repeating in a thread asking questions about a law:

When in doubt--even a slight, nagging uncertainty--consult a lawyer.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 06:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Barber View Post
Just to make sure you (and anyone else under a similar impression) understand, that is categorically false. It is 100% not true. Not under any condition or exception.

The only time you can "get away with" using copyright music without a license and not be in violation of copyright law is under the Fair Use guidelines (see me previous post in this thread). And no, Fair Use is not a giant grey area full of loop holes, it is actually fairly straight forward.

And this always warrants repeating in a thread asking questions about a law:

When in doubt--even a slight, nagging uncertainty--consult a lawyer.
Or conversely, just use it. Nobody will find out. Right? ;-)

We are talking about getting sued for LOTS of money here people and the copyright holders almost always win.

Really, unless you you have a real project with a real budget, you will not use copyrighted music successfully. It takes money just to find out who you need to pay the real money to.

That's why GarageBand and Soundtrack Pro are such good tools.

Dan
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Old June 5th, 2008, 10:25 PM   #10
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A lot of classical music on the other hand

is available in unedited "Urtext" original editions and since most of it was written before copyright even existed is in the public domain.

Copies of performance recordings on the other hand are a different story, I believe.

There are sites where a lot of such music is available in MIDI as well as MP3, such as

http://www.classicalarchives.com/

Maybe not the greatest performances of all time, but some are quite nice indeed.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 08:07 AM   #11
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Thank you

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply to my message. I appreciate everyones guidance in this subject matter. Thank you all.
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