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How should I go about getting sync rights for a sporting event?

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Adam Fischer
How should I go about getting sync rights for a sporting event?
on Sep 19, 2008 at 4:23:08 am

Next month I'm going to shoot a mixed martial arts event (like UFC) and similar to a boxing match, the fighters have their own songs that they use for walk-in music. There are 9 fights, which means 18 songs. The organizers of the event already secured their ASCAP/BMI/SESAC license, but we still need a synchronization license for the final product which will be put on their website and/or DVD.

I've only ever licensed production music, so I don't know the best way to go about getting a sync license for all of these songs. Should I contact an attorney? Are there firms that specialize in only this?

I am also wondering how this kind of use differs from that of a feature. You always hear stories of labels/artists who won't license their music for movies, but in my experience working on televised sporting events, there never seems to be an issue getting rights for whatever songs the event organizers or fighters want to use. Is this a different kind of sync license? It seems like 18 popular songs would be very expensive. Do organizations like the UFC pay big fees every time they have a pay-per-view or cable event or is there some sort of blanket fee like an ASCAP license?

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give me.



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Tracy Smith
Re: How should I go about getting sync rights for a sporting event?
on Sep 22, 2008 at 3:02:46 pm

Adam,
There is really only one thing to do, get clearance from the artists and composers themselves.
You can do this yourself, or hire a clearance company.

"These rights are administered and licensed by the publisher who accounts directly to the writer."

"A synchronization license is the license required to make and distribute audio visual recordings. A synchronization license does not include the right to use an existing recording (master) in association with a new audio visual product. You will need to obtain an additional "master use" license in order to combine an existing recording with a new audio visual project. To obtain a master license you will need to contact the owner of the sound recording, usually a record label"

There's good info here: http://www.signature-sound.com/11quest.html#q5

or get in touch with some clearance experts.

You can search the info fairly quickly with BMI and ASCAPs search engines. You may want to give them a call, they've been very helpful to us.







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Adam Fischer
Re: How should I go about getting sync rights for a sporting event?
on Sep 22, 2008 at 4:26:22 pm

Thanks very much for the info. I tried contacting BMI and ASCAP and couldn't find a phone number on their website. All of their contact pages were email. I emailed them and they simply told me to get a sync license. I appreciate your help, I'll follow those leads.



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