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music licensing for independent film questions
Cody J Deel posted a topic in Business PracticesHello everyone! This is my first time posting to the forum. I use the site for reference all of the time, but never became a member until now. I'm hoping to gain insight as to the best way to execute the music licensing process as a 26 year old independent filmmaker. The project is funded entirely out of pocket, so as terrifying as it seems, I plan to try and tackle the endeavor on my own. I know that a copyright attorney or clearance company could greatly expedite this, but again I'm trying to keep my costs as low as possible, because I know licensing the music itself won't be cheap. Here is some background information: The song I intend to use is a cover of a popular song from the 1960s. The band that covered the song was a group no one has ever heard of. It was recorded by a company that no longer exists (A1 records [a division of Trans Canada]). The company was sold, sold again, renamed several times and I guess now is a relic of the past somewhere in a basement filing cabinet. I traced the company from the 60s to a large Canadian conglomerate (Quebecor Media) whose subsidiaries control a good portion of the media and entertainment industry in Canada. The company I believe who owns the rights is called Distribution Select. Even if they don't own the rights, hopefully they will be able to point me in the direction of the person who does. I digress. From what I have learned from reading about the subject I have gathered the following: - I need both synchronization rights and master use rights >synchronization to use said music in tandem with my visual imagery >master use to be able to use the specific recording of the song in general - I need to obtain rights for the physical recording of the song, as well as the intellectual property rights. These are usually separate from each other. >contact person who owns the recording (artist or label) >contact intellectual property owners (publisher/songwriter/entity/entities) All of this is still a tad confusing to me, so if I am wrong on any of this, please correct me. Because my song is a cover, which by the way is recorded in a foreign language (French), what rights do I need and from whom? I assume it would be something along these lines… I would need to get both the synchronization rights and the master use rights. Synchronization, I would get from the Canadian company that I hope still has records that they in fact own the song. For the sync rights I would also need to contact the publisher/representative to the party that owns the intellectual property rights to the original song that is being covered. So contact the owner of the recording of the cover, then the covered song's original composer? Who then would I contact for the Master Use rights? Would I need to contact multiple sources, as I did to acquire the sync rights? Sorry, I know this is getting lengthy, but I'm almost done. Lastly, which party do I contact in order to obtain a film festival license, which if I remember correctly has a two year cap? Also I would be interested in looking into some kind of limited use license (for internet and possible small scale future distribution)? Are these licenses' processes ones which involve obtaining rights from multiple parties as well? I know the basic formula is the more exposure the film gets, the more royalties you have to pay out. I also read it is pretty imperative to negotiate all prices for all licenses needed upfront if possible. This is why I am asking so many questions. I'm merely trying to cover my bases and proceed in a correct and educated manner. I apologize if reading all of this made your brain hurt. Thank you (: