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usage of copyright music

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Wayne Williams
usage of copyright music
on Sep 25, 2007 at 7:37:35 pm

Greetings - Barb and I are looking hard into producing Event Photography and videography i.e. Ken Burns style memorial videos with copyright music. We have an extensive library of Digital Juice tunz but have been asked to use tracks of selected copyright music. Where do we find music available for minimal usage in our productions. I once saw a service that was a pay up front for an allowed number of use. Example: I prepay $250 for 50 uses. If I'm editing a time line and need a song at zero-dark-thirty I need the song. We do wish to be legal in all that we do but want choices beyond electronically generated tracks. I know that in all the pasture, There is a lot of crap and I'll bring the salad.

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Mark Suszko
Re: usage of copyright music
on Sep 25, 2007 at 9:28:42 pm

Copyrighted music like top 40 popular love songs? You are SOL.
To do it legally you'd have to get several clearances, each of which is highly variable in time and money to aquire. Don;t bother telling me the alleged justifications, I've heard them all and while I'm not a lawyer I can read the statutes clear enough that I don't see how most of those excuses could ever pass muster before a judge. If you take money for making the product, and you use someone's copyrighted materials in the making of the product, you have to get the rights. Period.

If you go ahead and use the popular track, you are playing Russian Roulette regarding getting sued. Most times you'll get away with it. The one time you don't, well, are you willing to bet your gear, your car, your house, on the outcome of the court case? Which may take over a year to litigate? You have the time and money to waste on that? Even if you win, you lose.

You can find "sound-alike" pieces that are cleared, it takes a lot of work auditioning web sites from needle-drop services and the like. Sometimes, you'd be better off hiring a composer to make something like that for you that sounds close but is legal, best of all you'd own it afterwards as part of the deal and could charge OTHER people to use it.

Or you just wonder if you fired six shots or only five.

Do you feel lucky?

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Bruce Bennett in Madison, WI
Re: usage of copyright music
on Sep 26, 2007 at 1:58:27 am


Mark has said it all. There are many other posts in the archives that will tell you the same thing.

Although, I do have one creative solution. Way back before people had DVD players, the production company I worked for did your type of projects that ended up on VHS. We came up with a way to allow people to use "their own" music by creating a "Do-it-Yourself" soundtracking/edit room. Customers booked the room by the hour, were allowed to bring in their own source materials and could do whatever they wanted for music soundtracks. They did it, not our company employees.
It was easier back then with VHS and linear editing. I'm not quite sure how this would work with today's more complicated, nonlinear systems. But, it may work for some of your more "tech savvy" customers.

Bruce Bennett,
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC -

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Kerry Brown
Re: usage of copyright music
on Sep 26, 2007 at 2:51:32 pm

Check out Zoom


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Re: usage of copyright music
on Sep 26, 2007 at 8:31:44 pm

Thanks for the post Kerry. Ever since I attended an Art Kade seminar about 10 years ago where he told of us of a $100.00 license available to Australian Videographers that provided legal use of any popular music in small non broadcast productions I've wondered if it would ever be available here. I think this is great and logical. I didn't want to sign up with Zoom now just to view their catalog, is there a good selection? I supose the more people who use it the more money will come available to entice other lables to become a part of it. It will keep people legal and generate profit for the artists.

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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: usage of copyright music
on Sep 26, 2007 at 9:06:48 pm

[Rennie] " I didn't want to sign up with Zoom now just to view their catalog, is there a good selection?"

Sadly, no... the catalog mostly seems to be people we've never heard of. I picked a dozen or so artists and songs at random to see if they had them... none came up as available.

Zoom could be a really good thing, but they're gonna have to get a lot of artists/publishers on the bandwagon for it to be worthwhile.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Gary Chvatal
Re: usage of copyright music
on Sep 26, 2007 at 10:35:28 pm

I signed up to look at the catalog...I'm working on a photo montage for a 50th anniversary. I love their idea and I'm sure I could sell the now I need to figure out how to work "Hoppin' Hoes" into the anniversary show....

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Wayne Williams
Re: usage of copyright music
on Sep 27, 2007 at 2:03:04 am

So I'm Back to the thread. Let say that legal usage is in the wind. Until then its dancing blind through a mine field to the Battle field boogie. The music industries business model is behind and outdated for current technology. Long ago they were into it with radio stations for piracy. They made it work after being shown how radio play supported sales. The same is true today. Encourage the industry to find profit in usage. Access to honorable usage is cool. I did find current state of affairs at . When the music industry enacted legislation for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act they overstepped the copyright term "Fair Use". There is so much horror about the poor slob whom got whacked for major bucks when a cell phone jingle went off during a shoot. I see where those that have spread death and distruction could constructively serve those in the COW by supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation or any other like minded effort. Dig our heals in together and push in the same direction. I mean we have to enlist somewhere for a fight. Also see Fair Use at rock/backgrounddocs/bestpractices.pdf . I'm not a lawyer, I'm a story teller.

Why should I criticize, See the log in my eye.

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Re: usage of copyright music
on Sep 27, 2007 at 1:58:28 pm

Two sites that could help you out. Lots of popular music that can be licensed for anything. They don't have U2 but they do have some really good musicians. Is a site highlighting independent musicians. They don't handle licensing, but each artist has a button to contact them directly so you can talk to them about getting rights to use their music.(good luck calling Bono directly) Also each band is catagorized by who they sound like...perfect if you need a "sound-alike" track.

check em out.


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