(Frequently Asked Questions)
What is song clearance?
There are two different copyrights in a recorded piece of music. a) The master recording and b) the publishing of the actual song. Basically if you want a song or a piece of music in your production, you need to clear it with whoever owns the publishing and/or master rights. If you don't you could (and probably would) get sued. Copyright owners tend to injunct your production first and ask questions later
If I am only using classical music, surely that is copyright-free and I don't have a problem?
A common misconception which probably lands more producers in trouble than any other. A piece of music becomes copyright free - or more correctly - enters the public domain (in the case of the United Kingdom and many other territories) 70 years after the death of the composer/writer. However every new recording of that music will create a new copyright, which usually belongs to the arranger or conductor or his/her publisher and a new copyright period (the life of the composer plus 70 years) begins. The only way to avoid this problem is to commission and record your own version of the music and make sure that the arranger assigns the rights to your company. Complicated? You bet!
What is a cue sheet?
A cue sheet (or music cue sheet) is a document that shows in detail:
Exactly what music has been used
What each piece has been used for within the production
Who composed it
Who publishes it
Who performs it
Who owns the master
And the duration of each piece of music used
Why do I need a cue sheet?
It is almost always a requirement of a) the licence granted by the copyright owner and b) the sales company/distributor/broadcaster of your production. Failure to supply an accurate music cue sheet would result in a) the copyright licence being rendered invalid (even if you have paid the fee) and b) your final stage payment for delivery of the production being withheld.
Is it hard for me to create a music cue sheet?
We don't know - you tell us. What we do know is that hundreds of productions every year deliver either incorrect cue sheets or no cue sheet at all, leading to delays on delivery.
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