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Old January 15th, 2009, 01:52 PM   #1
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What rights for covers?

If I wanted to use - not the original recording - but a cover of a major-label artist's song in a video project, what rights/licenses do I need to secure? Let's assume I can get licensing from the cover band without too much problem.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 02:03 PM   #2
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Then you still need permission from the copyright owner... either the one who wrote it, or the person/company who the rights were assigned to. But, not from the entity that owns the recording (since you will be using a different recording than the original).
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Old January 15th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Brian Boyko View Post
If I wanted to use - not the original recording - but a cover of a major-label artist's song in a video project, what rights/licenses do I need to secure? Let's assume I can get licensing from the cover band without too much problem.
You need to obtain a synch license from the copyright owner of the music itself - ie, the words and music. That would generally be the publisher and/or the composer(s). The original label secured the licenses from the publisher that allowed them to release the first recording as did the cover band's label when recording the cover version. Likewise that's where you too have to go to get permission to use the music itself, just like they did. Then since you're going to be using the existing cover recording of the music rather than making a fresh recording on your own, you'll also need to obtain a master use license from the owners of the copyright to the specific recording that you want to use, probably still held by the label that released it. The cover band itself likely has no say in the matter one way or the other, unless they happen to have released the recording under their own label they would not be the legal owner of the recording's copyright. Nor is the original artist and label likely to be involved either, at least not unless they happen to be the music's publisher as well.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 06:05 PM   #4
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Good luck getting any sort of a reply...

We have been trying to get rights to record a version of a song and also to get sync rights so we can do a video. After a long time we finally got the email address of the person we needed to contact and a bit of an intro to her - that was three months ago - not a word. You know I would be happy if they got back to us and said "no" - at least we would have an answer. But I guess that would be too much work...

So if you get anywhere with this, please give us an update...
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Old January 20th, 2009, 04:11 AM   #5
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Good luck getting any sort of a reply...

We have been trying to get rights to record a version of a song and also to get sync rights so we can do a video. After a long time we finally got the email address of the person we needed to contact and a bit of an intro to her - that was three months ago - not a word. You know I would be happy if they got back to us and said "no" - at least we would have an answer. But I guess that would be too much work...

So if you get anywhere with this, please give us an update...
For mechanical rights so you can record a cover, if you're going to release it as an audio recording such as on a music CD, contact the Harry Fox agency in New York -they're the main clearing house for such licenses in the US. Do a Google for "Music Rights Clearing" and you'll turn up a number of agents that can take care of clearing sync rights for you. You may be running into a situation where the person you first contacted doesn't know who you are or doesn't realize yours was a serious request. Publishers tend to deal with their "regulars" first.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 02:03 PM   #6
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Just for your info Steve, Harry Smith does not handle this band, we checked there first - this is an indie band (due to their bad experience with record companies in the past). The person we got the contact info from is close to the band and notified the contact of our wishes and that we would be contacting her. We're not done trying yet, but I just wanted to let Brian know that getting any response at all is tough when you're a nobody - we'll I'm a nobody, I guess I shouldn't include people I don't know...

Has anyone reading this (who isn't associated with a major production company) ever received sync rights for a piece of music that was on the radio? I'd love to here that story!
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Old January 20th, 2009, 02:04 PM   #7
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opps why did I write Harry Smith? I meant Fox - the gray matter is going quick...
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Old January 20th, 2009, 02:31 PM   #8
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Just for your info Steve, Harry Smith does not handle this band, we checked there first - this is an indie band (due to their bad experience with record companies in the past). The person we got the contact info from is close to the band and notified the contact of our wishes and that we would be contacting her. We're not done trying yet, but I just wanted to let Brian know that getting any response at all is tough when you're a nobody - we'll I'm a nobody, I guess I shouldn't include people I don't know...

Has anyone reading this (who isn't associated with a major production company) ever received sync rights for a piece of music that was on the radio? I'd love to here that story!
Mechanical rights to make a cover don't come from bands or record labels, they come from publishers and composers. So a search of Harry Fox Songfile on the band won't turn up anything unless they are the legal publisher of the music. Try the ASCAP database at ACE Title Search Database - ASCAP.com. or for the actual song title on Harry Fox
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Old January 20th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #9
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When I said they were an indie band I meant that they self publish and do everything themselves there is no one else to contact - not everybody goes with ascap , bmi, or whatever.

I was a bit surprised that a band made up of people that were part of a number of major acts in the past would go this route, but come to think of it, everyone I know that has (or had) a contract with a major record company feels ripped off.

Besides, when making a video, if you can't get sync rights there is no use to go further.

well, we beat that horse to death...
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Old January 21st, 2009, 05:05 AM   #10
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Err, misread original post - deleted
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