Understanding how copyright of music works in films

Copyright of music is a very interesting aspect of law, and often a topical issue of great interest to everyone.

Here we briefly touch on what copyright laws mean in relation to utilising music in films, as an important consideration for filmmakers to ensure that they only utilise copyright free or copyrighted music with permission in any film / video / movie that they create.

This is a vital concept to understand prior to embarking on a film making project. Film makers utilizing any post-production services should ensure that they too understand the importance of the correct use of music in the film.

In relation to copyright law, music is defined as “musical works that are a succession of pitches or rhythms, or both, usually in some definite pattern”. It is therefore important to understand the broad spectrum of what falls under the protection of musical copyright – it will not always be a song with words, it can be any discernible music recording.

A copyright exists the moment it has been created, unlike certain other intellectual property such as trademarks and patents which need to be registered in order to gain protection. A copyright owner can, however, choose to register a copyright and accordingly searching a copyright database prior to utilising any potential music is a good starting point for a film maker.

The easiest way for a film maker to stay on top of these legal complexities is to utilise a service that provides non copyright music specifically for such purposes.

Avoiding abusing a copyright work will protect a film maker against any legal ramifications, Spending the additional time in ensuring that the use of the music is allowed in terms of any copyright can save the film maker additional time, energy and costs (both legal and otherwise) later on should a copyright owner demand that the movie / film / clip not only be taken down or removed, or also institute legal action for damages for unlawful use of the copyrighted music.