How to get copyright advice on the use of music and images in your film or short film

Notes from the experience

When you need to obtain a music copyright for short films if it's pop rock music, it's easy if you contact with MCPS-PRS Alliance. But it was not easy for me. I needed a copyright for a Jazz/world music. I researched and managed to find good friend of musician in Germany. He's a filmmaker and uses his music in his films. Unfortunately it was not good enough as we needed to contact to licence owner for him. Although I have send several faxes, emails, the licence owner was not interested in our project maybe because of short film with no budget. So I had to give up. It was so sad as the music has been always in mind even I wrote the script.

So I researched for musicians. I found one musician who composes for theatre plays. It was minimalist. I contacted with him. He has accepted that in the beginning then he asked if I really do not have any money. So be crystal clear in the beginning. We agreed on. He made it.

My second short film, I have asked a sound engineer friend who used to do mixing. He has agreed.In this time I had a small budget so I could able to pay small fee. He has just mixed it not composed.

For my documentary music film, I was a bit lucky as the music was old enough. So they did not have any copyrights. But I also used musicians' performances.

More professional and commercial use, you need to pay for everything. When I worked for commercial films productions, we've both used library music/ royalty-free from post production houses or worked with the composers. I have always suggested to work with composers or ask someone to play your tune/music that you want to use it. So you can get the copyright from them.

Be aware of international copyright issues. So try to get world wide copyrights if you want your short to screen at international film festivals.