Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

I was slightly heading towards what John mentioned, like "I decided to go
ahead with using it as I lacked the money to get a U.S. clear song and
since I had no expectations of the film ever being sold or broadcast." or "I
will probably not ever risk using a song in the PD again in any major work.
Unless its something very unique it seems like too much hassle".

The situation has clearly changed dramatically, with Youtube (and it's more
or less worldwide coverage, content recognition etc.) being the standard.
To be on the safe side you don't even "risk using a PD song". Or what you
can also do is to make a Youtube-only video, accept the rules and the ads,
and merrily put Madonna or whatever in it.

The trouble is also what John calls "no expectations", because not only
that those can turn out to be wrong (and either you or someone else finds
that the work deserves more recognition/presence). It is also that of
course people expect different things in different times, which is where my
concern about older works with protected music comes from, when the
realistic expectations meant something like a few unlisted screenings and
one or two festivals maybe (given that the programmer could pull it of and
screen it or smth).

But on the Internet (and with the current omnipresence of Youtube in
particular), there is very little of such underground around which these
"expectations" could evolve. (Ubuweb is one of those perhaps, with all of
it's pros and cons).

I also have to note that I have no *personal* interest in this, because I
definitely prefer "free" or "unsigned" music and my favourite kind of film
soundtrack is a running 16 mm projector, so I don't care much about Youtube
or Ubuweb either. But I find it to be a very intriguing situation indeed
(and I worry about some of the old stuff).

Matej



On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 4:19 PM, Bernard Roddy <rodd...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Back when Steve Kurz was on the block, I posted a discussion of
> intellectual property at interactivist site:
>
> http://interactivist.autonomedia.org/node/4923
>
> If using music without clearance is considered bold on Frameworks, we may
> be rather far from appreciating what's going on in the Brose case.
>
> Activism has always been an important aspect of experimental and
> underground film culture, and although the legal developments and policing
> strategies hold some interest, official policies should not be a substitute
> for thought and debate.
>
>
> Bernie
>
>
>    ------------------------------
> *From:* John Woods <jawood...@yahoo.ca>
> *To:* Experimental Film Discussion List <frameworks@jonasmekasfilms.com>
> *Sent:* Sunday, January 6, 2013 9:05 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [Frameworks] copyrighted music in
> underground/experimental/avant-garde cinema
>
> Great question and something I think not discussed enough. There seems to
> be a don't ask don't tell attitude to this issue. My experience with local
> film festivals & screenings has led me to believe that most festivals don't
> care whether you've got the rights to songs or video clips. As long as you
> claim you've got the rights when you submit they don't worry. I've seen
> short films made on a shoe string that have used music from bands as famous
> as Elvis, The Beach Boys, Black Sabbath and The Beatles to name a few. I'm
> positive the filmmakers did not clear the rights.
>
> In my own experience I usually use original music or obtain rights from
> local musicians. But I did use a public domain song for a film of mine a
> few years back. When I was researching public domain songs in the U.S. it
> seemed that a lot of this material is squatted on by various companies who
> may or may not have the copyright but will vigorously go after any
> violation. Because of that it seemed the practice was such that
> professional film company's would pay them for the rights as a way of
> protecting themselves.
>
> I settled on using a classical  Beethoven song recorded in the 1930s and
> obtained on a well known public domain publishing label in Canada. At the
> time it was public domain in Canada and Europe but not the U.S.  I
> decided to go ahead with using it as I lacked the money to get a U.S. clear
> song and since I had no expectations of the film ever being sold or
> broadcast. As long as I was clear in my own country I felt I would be fine. 
> The
> song was looped in parts, edited in other parts and digitally cleaned up by
> a friend.
>
> After a modest festival run it sat on the shelf until I decided to post it
> on YouTube last year. In the years since, the public domain status of that
> recording has changed in the EU and is no longer in the PD. I got flagged
> on YouTube by a company in Austria claiming copyright on the song. Since
> PD status can be easily changed in one country and not another, I will
> probably not ever risk using a song in the PD again in any major work.
> Unless its something very unique it seems like too much hassle.
>
> However, as recent interests have drawn me to explore using locally shot
> 8mm & 16mm home movies and other found footage for a local history film I'm
> planning. I might soon have to explore the legal issues of using found film.
>
> John
>
>
>
>
>   ------------------------------
> *From:* Matěj Strnad <matej.str...@gmail.com>
> *To:* frameworks@jonasmekasfilms.com
> *Sent:* Sunday, January 6, 2013 4:02:17 AM
> *Subject:* [Frameworks] copyrighted music in
> underground/experimental/avant-garde cinema
>
> Dear Frameworkers,
>
> I have a daring question regarding your experience with screening but
> especially publishing of experimental film/video works which feature
> copyrighted music.
>
> With today's level of copyright-crusade, I find it quite unlikely that
> anyone working now would deliberately choose copyrighted music without
> permission in his film (without perhaps conceptualizing it somehow).
>
> But there surely are many works from the times when this issue wasn't so
> exposed, I mean Harry Smith's films and such. I quite understand a certain
> touchiness of this subject (that is probably why I found so very little
> about it), but I would very welcome any relevant
> tips/readings/examples/contacts.
>
> It is not only my personal curiosity, dissatisfaction with how
> intellectual-property laws push economics over creativity (or effectively
> force us to disregard a part of our cultural heritage, so to speak). It is
> also that we are dealing with this problem right now (preserving and
> digitizing 8mm films from the 70s which were originally accompanied with
> copyrighted, US-record-label kind of music).
>
> With many thanks for any on- or off-list responses,
>
> Matej Strnad
>
> student at
> Center of Audiovisual Studies
> Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, CZ
>
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