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Old February 4th, 2007, 08:55 PM   #1
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song use, ? what's the procedure for permission

I want to request permission for (hopefully not a huge amount of $) to use a song by a well known artist as a theme song for a documentary. What's the most expedient way to do this?

I think there are "one stop shopping" places that make all the necessary contacts, but I don't recall the names of any of these places. Anyone have this info, or any advice?
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Old February 4th, 2007, 09:39 PM   #2
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Old February 4th, 2007, 09:50 PM   #3
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i believe if the song is ASCAP or BMI you contact them ...
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Old February 5th, 2007, 09:17 AM   #4
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BMI and ASCAP are for performance rights clearances such as airplay on a radio station and don't handle the clearances needed to use copyright music in a production. For that you need synchronization rights, mechanical rights, and reproduction rights. You start the process by identifying who hold the copyright (s) - it might be several different entities - and opening negotiations with them. If the song is on a CD or record, start by looking at the information in the jacket to see who the copyright holder is.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #5
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Of course You don't make reproducing licence with owners of fonogram.usually all major label a represented by local office of reproducing.As You mentioned you want some popular song then i guess it belongs to some major label.As i know you must contact with your local organisation of reproducing and they guide You how to manage this.For them usually important producer of original fonogram,label,authors and publisher,and let them know,what for u need this reproducing.
I do fonogram reproducing almost everyday,and thats the way things go..for me.

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Old February 5th, 2007, 10:33 AM   #6
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Unfortunately in North America there is no central organization for clearance of synchronization and reproduction rights. Here you have to track down the actual copyright owners, contact them directly, and hope they'll work with you.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Gorman
I want to request permission for (hopefully not a huge amount of $) to use a song by a well known artist as a theme song for a documentary. What's the most expedient way to do this?

I think there are "one stop shopping" places that make all the necessary contacts, but I don't recall the names of any of these places. Anyone have this info, or any advice?
Of course that depends on your budget. Since I am just a wedding video producer, I can't hope to spend the time and money to get any popular song (S. Twain, M. Bolton, or anyone else). Royalty free is about the only way to go and even then, $70 a song is very spendy considering that a wedding video might need 6-8 songs (unless you just play one over and over which I can't bring myself to do).

My solution has so far been Sony Cinescore
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Old February 5th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #8
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locating copyright holder, clearinghouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
BMI and ASCAP are for performance rights clearances such as airplay on a radio station and don't handle the clearances needed to use copyright music in a production. For that you need synchronization rights, mechanical rights, and reproduction rights. You start the process by identifying who hold the copyright (s) - it might be several different entities - and opening negotiations with them. If the song is on a CD or record, start by looking at the information in the jacket to see who the copyright holder is.
Thanks, I'll start the process of getting the CD jacket and identifying all the copyright holders, however -

I believe there are clearinghouses, possibly in N.Y., that take care of locating all the copyright holders address's and needed contact info etc etc for a particular song, but I no longer have the name of any of these "clearinghouses" Also, I'm not sure how much they charge and if it saves you enough time and effort to be the best choice when seeking such rights, or if I'd be better off trudging through it all myself. I thought maybe someone on these boards might have some experience with that or have the contact info for this type of clearinghouse. I don't remember what they are called so can't look it up.

BTW, I own libraries I can use, but my intention in this case is to seek rights for a specific popular song I want to use for part of the documentary sound track, or at least find out if it's anywhere in line with our budget.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #9
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If it's a currently popular song by a name artist you can anticipate sticker shock. And there's nothing that says they have to give you a license at any price if if they don't want to. If it was a song by Bono and your documentary is about world hunger, for example, you might have a chance since that's one of his favourite causes. But otherwise, well, be prepared with a Plan B.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
If it's a currently popular song by a name artist you can anticipate sticker shock. And there's nothing that says they have to give you a license at any price if if they don't want to. If it was a song by Bono and your documentary is about world hunger, for example, you might have a chance since that's one of his favourite causes. But otherwise, well, be prepared with a Plan B.
Yes, I realize it would be rare to get the ok, especially at an affordable price, but I'm making the effort because of the chance it could happen for a worthwhile mini budget doc. I definitely have the plan B, but plan A would be great.

I was hoping someone here may have the clearinghouse name in case we have difficulty getting the needed contact info for all copyright holders.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #11
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Golly, I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet:

www.rightsworkshop.com

For a fee, they'll clear any rights with the artist and publisher for you.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 07:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
If it's a currently popular song by a name artist you can anticipate sticker shock. And there's nothing that says they have to give you a license at any price if if they don't want to. If it was a song by Bono and your documentary is about world hunger, for example, you might have a chance since that's one of his favourite causes. But otherwise, well, be prepared with a Plan B.
By law, if you clear rights for a song, you are required to pay both sides of the license (artist and publisher) equally. So while Bono may go pro-Bono for you, if the publisher of his songs requests $500, you've got to pony up $1000.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 11:09 PM   #13
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rights info

Thanks Ben. That's the link I was hoping for. I know it takes time to get all this done. From what I read you have to describe the actual visual/video segment where the song will appear. I won't know that til I'm much further along in the editing of this 80 min. piece.

If I wait til then before requesting rights we may not get an answer in time. Earlier in the process, I would at least be able to describe the subject and typical scenes in our doc, and maybe that would be sufficient?

I may not use the whole song, and will fade the music in and out in relation to the narration and video scenes. Not sure if that requires yet another specific request, or if that comes under "sync".

Anyone have actual experience with going through this process? Do you really have to wait until you're in your final edit so you can exactly specify the scene(s) where you want to use the music?

The other thing - I want locate up to date definitions to specify the type of rights we seek. I read that "mechanical rights" don't apply here because that's for audio only recordings.

I know I'll need "Sync Rights". But what else? Maybe "Multipmedia" because DVDs will be sold?

Uses will include projecting it on screen for live audiences (special interest venues, not theatrical); It will be sold on DVD, sales and advertising will include internet. A short promo version will be edited for demo.Possibly the demo would be shown on-line some time in the future.

I envision this as the theme song, so portions would be used in the short demo version as well as in part 2 and part 3 of this doc which will be separate shows, shown separately and put onto different DVDs. They are all part of the same documentary, however. Guess I have to describe all this and more before submitting a request, right?

If I can read up on these details it would be helpful because I can then be prepared when submitting the request. Anyone who has been through this, please chime in.
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