Music and Copyright
This might be on the wrong board, but I thought I'd ask because my director friend has been busy and I don't want to pester him with questions.
I plan on starting the process of going into production with my short films sometime next year, and one thing that has been a concern of mine is how to go about using copyrighted music without running into problems. With some of my films, the song choices I wrote in are somewhat important to establishing tone and the mood, and it would lose its impact if they had to be changed to some generic creative commons music or a bad public domain song.
I believe two or so of the directors from a local festival used some copyrighted music, but I don't know them or what they used specifically. My director friend said we could opt to have a director's cut version of our stuff up somewhere with the original soundtrack, but part of me doesn't see a point in even having an alternate score selection if it's going to kill the meaning it was supposed to have.
Another thing I'm not sure about is how to thoroughly check if something still has a copyright tied to it, and if so, then who. For a short horror film I've been wanting to do has instrumentals from a shockumentary from the 70s, and I'm not sure who technically owns the soundtrack unless it's in the public domain now. So something I'm not even sure of is if it would be financially smarter to sample it or see if I can find someone who could compose an homage to the score/composer and we'd use that track.
tl;dr -- Does anyone have advice on how to go about securing copyrighted music for projects, especially independent, lower budget content?
Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing. -- Orson Welles