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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old August 31st, 2004, 02:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Belgium
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using filmmusic

Hey, I'm gonna make a movie next year, for school, it's gonna be my end work for high school.
And I would like to use filmmusic. I know that by the fact that it's for school makes that I could use what I want, so long that I don't sell it or so.

The thing is, if I succeed in making the movie I would like to send the movie to festivals, so I'll do need the rights.
I really would like that music because next to the movie there is a theoretical part needed, and I need the music so the theoretical paper fits with the practical (being the movie).

Now, my question is, do you guys think (sorry if it is a dumb question, but it isn't a big effort to post a question here, so I thought I could as well do it) I would have to pay a lot?
How big is the chance they'll let me use it for free, or have compassion ;-)?
Here is more info (and arguments to persuade them :-p):

- I am a student and it's not as if money grows on my back, i'm allready making a huge investment for the movie, I'm buying an XL1s (second hand) for the movie (well, and a lot of movies I'll make afterwards offcourse :-))
- I'm not using famous filmmusic. I had my eyes on Willow (filmmusic from '88) but (importantly!): I'll will not use big themes from the soundtrack, but more of the underscore.
- Thought on using music from The City Of The Lost Children, also known as La Cité Des Enfants Perdus, french movie, composed by Angelo Badalamenti. Also, not very known filmmusic.
- Innitiately, I'm using it for a school work, so it's very important to me. I just want to have the chance to send it to a filmfestival without having legal trouble.

I know you guys can't know how much I maybe would have to pay, but I would rather just know your opinions and guesses.

All response is appreciated!

(btw, sorry for the possible bad englisch, englisch isn't my native tongue :-:$)

Thanks
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Old August 31st, 2004, 03:21 PM   #2
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Short answer.

Don't do it.


Long answer- It is highly unlikely that being a student is going to appeal to the corporate people who controll the rights to film scores. The odds of getting to use it on a student film are astronomical, especially for no/low fees.

Best solution.

Hire a friend to write and compose some nice tunes for you. Then you own the rights.

Next best solution.

Spend some money on "royalty free" music cd's. There are lots to choose from, but read the licensing carefully. Some do want money if you use it for a feature film.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 04:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
I know that by the fact that it's for school makes that I could use what I want, so long that I don't sell it or so.
Sorry, but you've got your facts wrong. What you've described _may_ come within fair use doctrine, but it also may not. There is no way to tell from your description.

Quote:
How big is the chance they'll let me use it for free, or have compassion .
For your high school project, possibly -- it doesn't hurt to ask. For festival entry, extremely unlikley.

Richard's suggestions are the best.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 08:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
I know that by the fact that it's for school makes that I could use what I want, so long that I don't sell it or so.
In this case of why you're using it, say for school, you would be running a risk, How large? I think it depends on the company and how hard they pursue these cases.

One example is Microsoft going after a student Mike Rowe who owned the mikerowesoft.com domain. But, because it sounded like Microsoft, the software maker went after him for trademark infringement. It ended pretty peacefully thought and mikerowesoft.com is alive and well.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/internet/01/19/offbeat.mike.rowe.soft.ap/

http://news.zdnet.co.uk/business/legal/0,39020651,39119214,00.htm

But apparently, Microsoft was obligated under law to protect its trademarks otherwise risk losing them. Aww... oh so how complicated laws can be.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 08:23 PM   #5
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One example is Microsoft going after a student Mike Rowe who owned the mikerowesoft.com domain.
For what it's worth, the Microsoft matter involved enforcement of trademark rights, which is different from copyright. Trademarks are weakened by significant third-party use, so a trademark owner is obligated to go after open and notorious infringements, or else see the value of their trademark eroded. Copyright owners don't have a similar obligation.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 09:54 PM   #6
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True, though the ZD article did mention copyrights. But I tend to think it was a typo.

In anycase, when you use a property that isn't yours, be aware of the risks even if it does seem like Fair Use. To me it's always in the grey area.

On a side note, what about clips used on news shows? You know, say in SportsCentre where you see highlights from the show, does anyone know if networks ask permission from other networks to use these clips or do they use them directly without permission?

Usually if ESPN airs sports highlights from an NBC broadcast, they'd put in the credit: "Courtesy: NBC".
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Old August 31st, 2004, 11:22 PM   #7
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In anycase, when you use a property that isn't yours, be aware of the risks even if it does seem like Fair Use. To me it's always in the grey area.
And that's an excellent point. I've seen a number of websites which discuss fair use and, usually, they make it sound like it's a black-and-white thing: "there are four factors, if your use is covered by one of the factors, it's fair use." What the websites never say is that the factors are only guidelines, none of them are dispositive, there are judicial glosses on each of them that aren't at all obvious, and the court can choose to ignore them all in reaching its determination. Fair use is not something someone should rely when choosing to copy someone else's work without permission, unless they have (1) legal advice, including a written non-infringement opinion, and (2) darn good insurance to indemnify them if they get sued.

Quote:
On a side note, what about clips used on news shows? You know, say in SportsCentre where you see highlights from the show, does anyone know if networks ask permission from other networks to use these clips or do they use them directly without permission?
You're assuming that sports coverage and news are the same thing. ;)

The coverage of most sporting events is protected by copyright. Admission to the events themselves is by license, and that license usually prohibits using video of the event without permission.

For true news, i.e. stuff that happens on the street that has news value, fair use usually permits use of copyright-protected material for news reporting. The most famous example of this is the Zapruder film of the assassination of President Kennedy -- the news media were able to show it repeatedly without Zapruder's permission under fair use.
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