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Royalties due for use of movie sound clips?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by patrick_like_static, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. If an artist wants to incorporate an audio clip taken directly from a movie into a music track on his cd, and intends to sell his cd, is he legally obligated to pay royalties for this? Moreover, is it even legal to do this without consent?
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    You would have to pay. You should go to the Harry Fox Agency site and read the information contained there. It will explain what you can and cannot do.

    Harry Fox Agency http://www.harryfox.com/index.jsp

  3. I couldn't find anything on this website pertaining to the use of the nonmusical (i.e. scriptread) aspects of a movie's soundtrack. Did I miss it?
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Your first post was non specific as to what type of "clip" you were looking to copy from the movie. Harry Fox is the agency that deals with the mechanical rights of music i.e. the ability to record various songs. All movies are copyrighted so you are going to have to get the written permission of the copyright holder in order to use any dialog from the movie and from what I have experienced with clients it is almost impossible to get them to give you permission. They are very protective of their rights.

    What is the final use that you are going to be making of this music? Is it for a class project or for sale to the public. There is a "fair use" provision for using brief snippets of spoken words for educational use but either way I would suggest talking this over with an entertainment lawyer before you make any decisions.

    This could be very costly for you if you just "take" the track without permission and use it for making money as movie studios are known to be litigation prone since most of the people who now run the studios are lawyers by profession.

    Checking with an entertainment lawyer is probably your best bet just to be on the safe side.
  5. Thanks very much, Thomas, and I'm sorry that I'd neglected to put the specifics in my initial post.

    I'd looked into the matter more via various sites and people, and it looks like I'll be unable to use to clips since a.) I'm definitely selling the final product--hence, Fair Use is voided--and b.) only Master Use rights apply to taking spoken word from an existing media, and this requires direct consent from the owner of said media.

    Now if I could just remember what I've done with Tim Burton's/Warner Brothers' phone numbers...

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