Thursday, May 13, 2010

YouTube expert discusses the acquisition of music rights by filmmakers

Glenn Brown from YouTube discusses music rights and how filmmakers should deal with them in this talk at the Los Angeles Film Festival, on a fortyminite video.  He first talks about the law as experiential as well as theoretical or merely logical. The most important concept for music rights (as it affects script clearance) is that there are two sets of rights: the “sheet music” or the original composition, and the “sound recording”, or performance. The sheet music for older classical music may be in the public domain (and a filmmaker may be able to arrange performance economically on his own). He covers the history of copyright, and the attempts of some piano roll companies around 1900 to monopolize the market for some music, until copyright law evolved.

He discusses how ASCAP started, and then discusses how some composers write music for filmmakers to use in their own videos.

He talks about “red” and “yellow” requirements. A copyright holder might expect more for use that is written into a script and indispensable.

A good question with classical music could come up with a “slightly” derivative work. Would there be a separate copyright on a new cadenza for a Mozart piano concerto (especially #26) if used in the background of a film? (Or what about any work left in sketch and completed again, like a “completed” Schubert Unfimished.)

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