Copyright is a means of protecting people’s intellectual property and giving the owner control over how their original ideas and materials are used and ensuring they are not infringed.

If you submit a film to FilmG, you must have gained permission to use any material which is not your own intellectual property from the person who owns it. This includes music, photographs and images, brands and archive footage. Be aware that using other people’s materials often incurs a cost.

You must also get permission from people appearing in your film that they are happy to be filmed. You should ask anyone appearing in your film to sign a release form.

You should also consider protecting your own work. Unless your idea is written down as a script it is not protected by copyright.

Music Copyright

Here is some general information about using music in your film:

  • If you compose your own music, then it’s yours to use as you wish.
  •  If the last living composer or writer is over 70 years dead, then it is free to use. Quite a lot of classical music falls into this category. Be careful though, new arrangements of old music can fall under new copyright, so do your homework.
  • If you wish to use somebody else’s music you need permission from the copyright holder, and this isn’t always the composer or artist, it is often the record company so be sure you are contacting the correct person.
  • Music rights can be very costly, so be aware of this when you are choosing music for your film, how much you want and how many different copyright holders are involved? There is more than one fee involved. You may need to pay a synch fee to the publisher for including the track on your soundtrack and a master fee to the record company for use of the master CD.
  • Remember that an unsigned artist or band will be cheaper than very famous artists, so shop around. Even if you are using music composed by a friend or family member it is ALWAYS important to adhere to the rules of copyright.

Check out MCPS-PRS Alliance for more information. It is often more useful to phone them directly to get a clearer understanding of your requirements.

Check out BBC Video Nation for more advice