Music copyright?

May i use music for my movies, do i have to get the authors accept, because lets say i wanted to use some Rage against the Machine music, but the band does’nt exist any longer, or Nirvana…its a little bit complicated to ask Kurt for permission, as he is dead?
Does anyone knows the copyright rules, by the way im not going to make money of the movies.

Unless you’re showing them in cinemas, no-one will notice (or care) if you use it. Lots of people do it all the time.
It only really matters if you’re actually selling the videos.

the answer is NO, according to copyright laws.

I’d agree. If you’re making animations to practice etc. then go ahead. Technically, however, those artists will have copyright assigned acording to the recording contracts they were under at the time. If the artist is dead, then his or her estate probably has the rights.

If you are making something for money or for broadcast, always cross the t’s and dot the i’s legally.

You might want to try one of these sites:

My game was stolen so I say NO :slight_smile:
Do not use copyrighted stuff without permission is my advise.

Im going to publish the movie for free download and view, no personal gain, and probably not the hole the song(s).
In the end ill give credits to the makers?
How sounds that?

YouTube, however, have a deal with Waner Brothers so that if you put some Warner Brothers music in your video, Warner brothers still get royalties. This only works if you’re only going to put the video of YouTube - infact if this is the case, youy don’t really have to worry. Music over 50 years old is out of copywrite (both writen AND recorded over 50 years ago), so you can use that, and smaller or local bands are often very keen for you to use their music in short films.

It’s simple: If you don’t have permission, then you are infringing on the copyright. Whether or not you will get in trouble depends on if the copyright holder pursues legal action against you. Most don’t look kindly to mass distribution, such as by distributing via the internet, and often if they catch it, they will send you a cease and desist order, which requires you to remove the content. If you comply, they will probably let it go, but if you refuse, then you could face major legal headaches. It really doesn’t matter if you intend to sell it or not, but they react more harshly to commercial use, of course. My recommendation is to always try to get permission, and if you can’t get it, then don’t use their content. Besides, there’s lots of Creative Commons stuff nowadays, a lot of it is just as good as mainstream bands. Check out sites like,, and

(BTW, I’m not a lawyer, so if you want serious legal advice, then you should hire one.)

roofoo is right. best to compose ur own stuff, or find a talented friend, or hook up with a local band.

I’d recommend using creative commons music that allows derivative work (meaning you can put it in a move), check out the sites roofoo posted. There’s some cool music there, but it might require you to use a similar license for your own work.

Okay…but then, does anyone now who im going to ask for permission and how?
Im going to use Rage against the machine’s “Wake up”.
Edit: And does anyone know any good free music ‘makers’?

Here you go:

This tells you how to go about getting permission, who to ask, etc. There’s even some sample letters to get you started!

And here’s another article I found regarding obtaining permission:

Hey man, thanks, great link!

Theres only one problem…the copyright offices are in America…im in Denmark?

I was very interested when I heard this, but after reading into it a bit more, I don’t think that they’ve actually put the deal into practise yet(?) because on their blog ( it says “[Warner Bros] support your creativity by authorizing use of their music content for free, in partnership with your favorite artists! This new architecture will be available by the end of the year.” So I’m not sure if it is yet legal to actually use music under the Warner Music Group Label. I think that the Lord of the Rings soundtrack is under the Warner label, which is really good music for epic live-action or CG films, so hopefully Youtube will make this “new architecture” soon!

Generally, the EU has the same copyright restrictions as the US. However, several european countries had very liberal “fair use” rights. Under the EU and their IP directives, I think what you can and cannot do is now more limited. (At least your copyrights expire after 50 years and not 95 years like here in the US…thank you Disney!)

(I think there are some early Elvis hits now in the public domain in Europe now…at least in the UK iirc)

That being said, here is the rule of thumb. If your using the music for a student project to show a class or even on a demo reel for portfolio and don’t release it publicy, use whatever you want. If your going to put it on Youtube or the internet…the generally rulings have been that is infringement. Frankly, it’s an area of law that is still being sorted out, but “fair use” has taken a huge hit in the US in the past Decade. For some reason, the lawmakers decided that the old laws weren’t good enough for the “Internet”. Plus all the lobby money to Congress helped create the monster that is DMCA. (my arguement was that the old Copyright laws held just fine with technology. We needed a court ruling, not a new law…after all that’s why we have a COMMON LAW system) <sorry, I’m in law school for IP law…so I tend to rant about this topic>

How can that be, since Elvis is NOT even dead?