Anonymous asked: I dont know if youve answered this but if I sing a song in a film, me singing it, is that technically copyright adn will festivals etc not take it - or are you allowed to do your own 'rendition'?
Technically it is. From my understanding of what my teacher has taught us, if you have a situation like the one you just describe, though you’ve created a new version of the song, the song’s publishing rights are still own buy someone, specifically a music publisher (not the record label, they only own the literal recording of a song). Thus, you open yourself up to the chance of being sued by a music publisher because you have not acquired the song’s publishing rights (also known as the synchronization rights I believe).
To find the publisher you can go through three organizations: ASCAP & BMI (US music), and SESAC (international music) to search for the song and who you have to contact. The publishing rights to a song are usually way cheaper than the master use rights (which the record label has), but there are no set rates for how much you may have to pay for either ones.
What festivals care about is making sure that you have the clearance (known as the “chain of title”) for every aspect of your film. If you don’t have this, when you send in your film to a festival, they won’t accept the film because they can get sued as well. If your film were to be released theatrically, not only could you be sued for the profits acquired, so can the distribution company that distributed your film. That’s why it’s always important to keep a paper trail and release for everything you get and include in your film.
Hope that helps.