MovieMakers:Music registration, laws, etc?


I am making an extreme unicycling movie featuring exclusively female riders.

Who knows about getting music registered/“okayed” to play in a movie/video? How would I go about this? Would it just be extremely hard maybe to get some songs in it from some pretty “popular” bands these days?


Sara Chastain )—(X)

Do you intend to sell the movie and make money?


Yes, if at all possible, I would like to make a little bit of profit from the movie. Don’t Dan Heaton and Kris Holm make something off of their extreme unicycling movies??


Well, one thing’s for certain, you’re going to have to put their name in the credits.

You have to remember that there are a lot of good bands and artists out there who haven’t made it yet so have a good look around. Perhaps there’s an “all girl” rock band out there who would like your idea and be willing to let you use their music?

As far as getting permission from “popular” people, you’ll have to pay a licence fee. The more popular they are, the bigger the fee. If you decide to go down the road of paying the copyright holder, perhaps a tiny amount per copy would be more appropriate to you than an outright figure.

I’d recommend trying to find lesser known musicians because they’re usually just keen to get their stuff heard.

You can usually get in contact with bands and record companies by looking for their official websites. Hope this helps.



Thanx for all the info, Pete!!


There has to be like a million great musicians out there that would do anything to get their music heard and give you the music. My brother is one of those. Not sure if his music is what would work for you, but he is continually writting and recording new stuff as well as having many older recordings to pick from. E-mail me and I will get you in contact.

From what I understand, if a film is being distributed for free, you don’t need the license. But as soon as you start selling it, the bigger bands want royalties. That’s why they couldn’t sell ‘Under No Influence’ and had to ask for donations instead. Can anyone back me up on the free distribution idea?

My belief is that purchase of the appropriate license (i.e., payment of fees) is required when using copyrighted music in any form of public presentation.

I checked both the Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Web sites. I did not find specific information pertaining to not for profit use, so I requested clarifying explanations from each group. I’ll pass on whatever information I receive.

Re: Yes

Yes Dan heaton made a bit of money from his movies but almost everyone in existance bought it because of the best riders in the world were in it so if I were you I wouldnt even try to use songs that you need th “rights” to. I totally agree with the idea of using “indie” bands.


he hasnt posted in awile but that is
Unidak’s avitar.

good luck with the video.

A person who writes a piece of music retains all rights to the music. So does the performer of the music.

This means that you can’t use it unless you’ve got permission. You need permission both from the writer and from the performer. Even if you’re not making any money out of it.

For anyone big, the cost of this is usually way way too much. In a product I’m working on at the moment, we actually got a video shot and a song recorded and produced, because of it being too much money to use an existing song.

For small bands, its often much easier to get the rights because they want to promote themselves everywhere. Be aware that if they’re a signed band, you might need to get permission from their record label and publisher, although directly contacting the artist is often the best thing to do first.

If you’re getting permission from bands, labels or publishers, always get it in writing, otherwise you’re screwed if they suddenly say you can’t use it, or if you want to use it in a different form and then you can’t find the band to check. I think Dan Heaton said something to do with only verbally checking the music rights was going to stop Universe 1 being put on as an extra on the Universe 2 DVD.

Whatever you do, don’t just go ahead and use people’s music without asking or else you risk getting into complicated problems if your film becomes at all big.



Since you are trying to promote women in unicycling, you should also work to promote women in music. You could do this by using music by female artists who are looking for a way to advertise thier music. You get free music, they get free advertisment.

Here are some links I found:

There is also a book by Nolo called Getting Permission: How to License & Clear Copyrighted Materials Online & Off You should go down to your local bookstore and check it out. These do it yourself law books can be hit or miss but sometimes they have helpful forms.

hope this helps,



Thanks everyone for the info!! I probably should have said that my cousin in Australia OWNS a recording label, and I am contacting him, so, hopefully I can use songs from some of his bands!

~Sara Chastain