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Cover of a copyrighted song legal?

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  • Cover of a copyrighted song legal?

    Let's say hypothetically the scene is a bar or some diner with karaoke night right, and it's not the focal point, but while two characters are having a conversation in the background there's just some dude singing his ass off to a song, essentially his "cover". Is this legal? and if yes to what certain point? Like what if the karaoke singer was the focal point of the scene?

  • #2
    If a song is recognizable within the film, even if it's just ambient background sound within a scene, you will have to secure the right to use it from the copyright holder. The only exception to this is if the song is in public domain.
    Matt Crunk
    Writer/Producer/Director/Actor
    Fiveacre Films Productions

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    • #3
      Copyright laws are incredibly strict, so everything said above is 100% true. Even if a fraction of the song is recognizable, you would need to get permission from the copyright holder and most likely pay a fee.

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      • #4
        If your project is a documentary you may have some wiggle room, but if you are a private business that required you to get permission from the owner, then yes, you need to acquire permission/license from the copyright holder.

        - Wolf

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        • #5
          I would ask the record label and explain your project, they might give you some rights for free.

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