September 20, 2014 at 2:03PM

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Using Royalty Free Music

So I plan to shoot a short film soon and I wanted to have music playing in the background. However, I'm conflicted between using a song that's considered royalty free and that of a local composer. Basically, what I wanted to know is whether you are required to give credit to the artist if it's in the public domain, even if it's a really old song from the say, 1800's? What if it's present day music and still in the public domain - how do I go about using it?

6 Comments

Hi. You vahe two things.

1.- The credit to the artist always you must hace it (credit it's not permision)

2.- If yo want permission, you must have a royalty free (you have the licence to use it)

3.- In songs with a think 50 years old, you don't need a permission.

September 26, 2014 at 3:38AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7481

Thanks for the comment Raguel!

September 26, 2014 at 5:36PM

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I have read that songs recorded in 1923 or earlier are in the public domain, but I'm not a copyright lawyer so don't quote me on that.

One thing to be aware of are that, even if the song itself is in the public domain, the recording of it might not be.

October 18, 2014 at 2:42AM

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Minor Mogul
Dilettante
552

Hi Chelsea,

I'm a film composer and music supervisor, hopefully I can clear things up a little for you. First of all, copyrights last 70 years after the author/composers death, so you have to figure out when the composer died. Second, there are two copyrights with every piece of music: 1) the composition itself [unrecorded] and 2) the recording itself. So you can have a 300 year old song, in public domain, but if it's a recent recording IT IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Credit is not necessarily required if you have licensed the music properly. Depending on the aesthetic of the film, I usually recommend working with a composer as it's an incredible experience to work with another artist to bring something new to the film.

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

November 7, 2014 at 11:05PM

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Nick Dolan
Film Composer
51

It can be time consuming but finding existing royalty free music is a lot cheaper than hiring someone to compose it. Plus you'll know if the song is right for your scene. Sites like http://www.freemusicpublicdomain.com/ offer their music for free for personal use or a small fee for commercial use.

May 3, 2016 at 5:35PM, Edited May 3, 5:35PM

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Rick Costello
Music Producer
76

Hi Chelsea,
For me the best is to use Creative Commons music.
BUT! there's different licenses in Creative Commons...
You can use CC-0 license (Creative Commons Public Domain) and make use of it like you want... but hard to find the good music you need.
Or you can use CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution) and you have to quote where it comes from and the Artist...
My favourite site is www.be-tunes.com because there's only CC-BY music there...

February 27, 2017 at 4:58AM

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