Will I be violating copyright laws if I have a professional music played in the background of my non-commercial film? 3 Answers as of November 30, 2010

Will I be violating copyright laws if I have a professional artist's music played in the background of my film? I am a student about to submit my college applications with a film portfolio, which contains pop music and some instrumental music. If my films will only be shown to the schools I applied to, will that still be count as copyright violation? And is it possible that my application may be rejected because of that?

Thank you very much!

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Handal & Morofsky LLC
Handal & Morofsky LLC | Anthony H. Handal
I thought about this one a bit. Probably arguments could be made that this is a fair use. However the safer course of action would be to request permission from the publisher of the music.

Asking permission might make your application more impressive.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/30/2010
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
Yes if there is a copyright - you will be violating it. All music written after 1978 has automatic copyright protection.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/29/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
"Fair use" is a complicated determination, and it is entirely possibly that your contemplated usage is not fair use. See http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html. In any event, its probably not worth the mental anguish to worry about it. You can very likely secure a license for almost nothing through one of the licensing companies, e.g., ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/29/2010
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