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music use legality

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lets say i'm making a non-profit CG short movie (which is what i'm doing) and i want to use a part of some music from a widely available album. Is it legal just to use it without getting into all of the licensing stuff?

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Short answer: No. Someone more into this might give you a longer answer, but you can't put copyrighted (see, copy, because they have the right to copy) music in your own software, movies, music etc without a special license (expensive).

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that isnt necessarily true.

Depending on specific usage, you might be able to claim it as "Fair Use". However, you should probably check the legal details of this first.

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If it's a personal use only kind of thing, sure. If you are going to broadcast it in any way you're supposed to get a synchronization license.

Really all depends on who's gonna see it? where are they gonna see it? why are they gonna see it?

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it was a personal project, not commercial, but i was going to stick it up on my web page for free download.

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Quote:
Original post by destron
it was a personal project, not commercial, but i was going to stick it up on my web page for free download.


You need the aurther's permison, unless its only a thirty second or less segment. Just call the company that recorded the song, get in contact with the band, and get some verbal permisson. If in doubt, ask if you can record the phone call and then ask the question.

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If it is going to be shown in a public venue you can and would risk getting in large amounts of hot water.

I don't fair use will help you much. Even though it is non-profit, you don't have the right to display/transmit the music, thus like AA said, you would need a sync license.

If you are showing it in an educational environment, you MIGHT, a very big might, be able to use it.

Let me ask you these questions:

How much of the piece are you using out of the full piece?
In what context is it being shown? 500 people see it? On the net?
Where is it being shown?
How will this affect that market value of the music or albums?

You could, (I AM NOT PROMOTING THIS), use the track. Even if you violate the law, unless you, or the venues that are displaying the work with the music, have a little bit of money, and the collection agency is aware of this, they you would be screwed. And since it seems like you MIGHT show this publically, I would not risk it at all.

Sean Beeson

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As an answer, for all these questions, i will provide the full details of my question. I want to use a 15 second sequence from ES Posthumus's 'Nineveh' as a theme for a character in my movie called 'Angel'; so you're saying i don't need permission to use it?

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Even if it is free. Not commercial, you still don't have the rights to distribute it, and good luck getting in touch with the people who own the rights and then getting their permission to use it for a CG film. :) You will struggle to get a hold of them.

In this situation, someone could just post the piece with the music. I am NOT offering legal advice. So don't ever quote me :)!!!!!

Worst case scenario you get caught.

You aren't making any money off of this, and unless this flick becomes VERY famous, thus profitable, they would simply threaten you, saying that they could take you to court. in that case, you just take the film down.

They don't want to talk you to court unless you the film is worth something, because that will cost them a lot of money and time. They would rather threaten you.

But then again, it depends who owns the rights to the music. If it is a large record label, i DOUBT they would go after you, they would threaten though. Now a band or a person who owns their own rights, I could see them taking someone to court.

By the way, I am stating all of this out of reading that I have done with Music Law and Practices, and what I have seen and heard. I wouldn't risk it at all, BUT that being said, it can, nad has be done a lot.

Sean Beeson

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i guess i'm better off not using it. thanks for the information, guys!

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Well, keep it in as a placeholder so when you go to replace it with something you CAN broadcast you'll remember what you're looking for.

I mean...if you just ask for "orginal music in the vein of..." some composer here will probably help you out. Those that can afford to work for free that is...

(not me though,:)

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Quote:
Original post by destron
As an answer, for all these questions, i will provide the full details of my question. I want to use a 15 second sequence from ES Posthumus's 'Nineveh' as a theme for a character in my movie called 'Angel'; so you're saying i don't need permission to use it?


I recall reading that it is perfectly legit to use up to thirty seconds of a song or five minutes of a movie without the aurther's permisson. I can't remember where I learned this though. However, DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT, and look it up! If such a law still exists you should be able to find it easily.

This rule is used in techno music all the time, when people grab a quick twenty second portion of another song or some movie and throw in other stuff. Or in all these 'remixes' of video game music. They use less then thrity seconds or change it enough so as to not need the aurther's permisson.

Again, don't take my word for it and look it up!

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Put it like this...

You don't have the right to sample/publish/distribute anyone's intellectual property (music, art/graphics, written word, code, etc.) without their *explicit* permission (a license or some other agreement).

There's a couple of aspects of the music industry you should know about before proceeding.

First is the value of an intellectual work. The artist/label which owns the music track could argue that you using their track in your film has lowered the value of said track - and as a result could seek MONETARY DAMAGES against you PLUS a cease and decist order for you to stop distributing your film with their track used in it.

Second is royalties. If this were a commercial, for-profit project, then there would be a chance that you would make some money off of your film. Everybody loves money right? Well the artist/label which owns the music track definitely loves money (well most do anyway) - and you using their track in your film can be looked at as an opportunity for the "victim" (albeit they aren't really a victim in this scenario) to cash in.

So in short, you have to make a judgement call.

Is this project so small and insignificant that the owner of the track probably will never even hear of your project, let alone watch the film to discover that their track has been violated?

In the case that your film were to "blow up" and become a worldwide hit, do you have the resources to compensate the artist for any royalties they demand and deserve?

Personally, the only case where I would violate someone else's copyright is if I knew for a fact that the chance of me making a nice chunk of money (or some sort of major contract deal) off my 'derivative work'.

P.S.
There is no such law (and never was any as far as I remember) regarding the length of a sample of someone's copyrighted work. It is 100% illegal to sample even a single drum-hit off of a record for use in your own work. New legislation (2004?) states that it's now illegal to digitally sample ANYTHING without an explicit license to do so.

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That thirty seconds of a song thing sounds right. Why do you think that most online music stores have a 30-second free part of the song? Almost every single online music store has these, now-a-days.

But as SotL said, check that first.

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I'm sorry but that is completely wrong.

Music stores have to obtain a license to distribute those 30-second demos.

This (the film using the music track) is called a derivative work - where one copyrightable work uses another copyrightable work within it - this, and the music store example, are two completely different things.

Don't go off getting sued now - there are A LOT of misconceptions about copyright law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

P.S.
When approaching this type of topic, it's important to understand what 'intellectual property' is. Both the film and the music track are classified as 'performing art works'. Copyright is established upon creation of the work in a 'fixed' format (ie, CD or DVD or other media). So for you to inherently establish copyright on your own work (by creating it) which uses somebody else's copyrighted work within it, could cause you some trouble down the line.

P.P.S.
Instead of looking at it as a 'film' and a 'music track', imagine for a second that both works were literary, books. In your book, you write your own original storyline, but at the bottom of each page you put an excerpt from someone else's book. This is synonymous with using a music track in a film.

[Edited by - swordfish on April 7, 2006 3:18:24 PM]

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see, that's my concern --- getting threatened and/or sued. i should probably contact them before i use it for anything.

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Quote:
Original post by swordfish
I'm sorry but that is completely wrong.

I'm sorry but by what are you going off of? I will try and search for my law, but even without the music store segments people make remixs of songs all the time, and techno music uses unchanged segments of music or movie soundtracks in the background alot. Granted, they can't sell their songs(as far as I know), but even known bands use clips of movies to make a music video often enough without being sued and, sometimes, without permisson.

Quote:
Original post by destron
see, that's my concern --- getting threatened and/or sued. i should probably contact them before i use it for anything.


Absolutely, permisson is always better than no-permisson even if it is legal.

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Quote:
Original post by Sean R Beeson
If you do not mind me asking. What piece is it? You might be calling Harry Fox :)!!

Sean Beeson


read my previous post about 'the details'.

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Quote:
Original post by Servant of the Lord
I'm sorry but by what are you going off of? I will try and search for my law, but even without the music store segments people make remixs of songs all the time, and techno music uses unchanged segments of music or movie soundtracks in the background alot. Granted, they can't sell their songs(as far as I know), but even known bands use clips of movies to make a music video often enough without being sued and, sometimes, without permisson.


Yes and that's the difference. There is a HUGE difference between using 30s clips and remixing them and using raw un-modified 15s clips in a game. The difference is that in the former you are actually deriving new.

Now all that said, your presumption about techno artists is actually wrong. Many of them do in fact have to obtain liscenses to publish their remixed tracks.

-me

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From wikipedia:
"The recent Sixth Circuit Court decision in the appeal to Bridgeport Music has reversed this standing. The new rule in that Circuit is even more strict in its rendering of copyright law: "get a license or do not sample." Fair use does not come into play at all."

*Bows to swordfish*

Ok, I was not aware of this recent law.

Get permisson destron, in the form of a recorded phone call or a signed permisson slip.

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Quote:
Original post by Palidine
Now all that said, your presumption about techno artists is actually wrong. Many of them do in fact have to obtain liscenses to publish their remixed tracks.

I acknowledge that, if the publish them
However, I said:
Quote:
Original post by Servant of the Lord
... people make remixs of songs all the time, and techno music uses unchanged segments of music or movie soundtracks in the background alot. Granted, they can't sell their songs(as far as I know), ...

However due to recent laws, I accept swordfish's statements, (see above post).

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Quote:
I'm sorry but by what are you going off of? I will try and search for my law, but even without the music store segments people make remixs of songs all the time, and techno music uses unchanged segments of music or movie soundtracks in the background alot. Granted, they can't sell their songs(as far as I know), but even known bands use clips of movies to make a music video often enough without being sued and, sometimes, without permisson.


I'm going off of my experience as a music producer. I deal with copyright law almost everyday. I've dealt with record labels, radio stations, and even film studios. On an added note, a big part of my job involves remixing and digital sampling. What I'm saying is that there are strict laws and guidelines for this type of stuff.

When I think of 'techno music' and remixing, the first word that comes to mind is 'underground'. It is a known problem in the music industry, 'the underground', that is, where there are countless cases of copyright infringement that go unchecked. As long as it remains 'underground', meaning there isn't really any profitable activity, record labels aren't going to care much. But once something makes it into the 'mainstream', you better watch your back. The same thing applies to music videos. If someone released a music video on MTV which used clips from 'Ice Age 2' or something like that, you better believe that the major film studios are going to hop all over it. Even after they got the music video removed from the air, the studio could still sue you for depreciating the value of their movie.

So like I said before, it's a judgement call. Releasing the film, even for personal, non-commercial, non-profit, educational purposes, could still be an issue if someone finds a reason for it.

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