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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
    Fiveacre Films Productions


    • #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.


      • #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


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