Music and copyright

Music and copyright

Copyright laws

If you want to use a piece of music in your film you MUST get permission from the copyright owner to use it. This might involve paying a fee, and in the case of well known pieces of music this can be expensive.

Clearing music usually involves talking to two sets of people:

Publishers – these people own the rights to the words and music in written form. So if you wanted to strum your own version of a Madonna song, for example, you would need to get permission from these people.

Record Company – they own the rights to the actual performance and recording itself.
So if you want to use a clip from an actual Razorlight song (rather than singing your own version), for example, you would need to have permission from both the publishers and the record company.

Find out more here

Getting round copyright issues

Here are some useful websites which offer music for free:

Music Revolution


Creative Commons




Free Music Archive

Taylor Hayward

Derek Audette

Audio Archive

PD Sounds

and Sound Bible

If you know of any others, you can share this by letting us know here. Or why not think about composing your own soundtrack?

BAFTA Guru has also compiled some advice on music clearance.