Anyone know if I can use this theme song when creating a video for public use?

16 replies
Does anyone know if I can use the theme from the sitcom Cheers? I don't want to use the entire song, just a clip or so.

Also, I'd like to know if it is available as royalty free music somewhere. If so, I am willing to pay $20 to someone if they can get a legal copy of the music either with vocals, or without, and send it to me.

Thanks ...


Mary
#creating #public #song #theme #video
  • Profile picture of the author VirgilO
    You will have to buy it or get written permission from the owner to use it. Sorry

    Virgil
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  • Profile picture of the author bladerunner
    I have an mp3 of someone playing the theme on a keyboard dont know if that is any use to you
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
    Hi Mary,

    To legally use it you will need to obtain a license from the Hollywood Studio that owns it.

    This should help you hunt down the answer to whether you can and where to obtain a license:

    The artists site:

    Gary Portnoy.com

    Theme from Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The license could run you hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the use and terms.

    They may also refuse to let you use it.

    The original Song was called "people like us."

    The Cheers theme song "Where everybody knows your name" was a rewrite specifically for Cheers and is likely owned by the studios that produced the hit show.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    Thanks a lot guys for the valuable information. I appreciate it.

    Hey Josh,

    I assume I will run into asimilar problem with a license to use the original tune "people like us" correct? Or would that be a different case?

    I guess now's as good a time to learn about music licenses lol.


    Hey Bladerunner,

    I have an mp3 of someone playing the theme on a keyboard dont know if that is any use to you
    I'm not sure something like this is legal to use without a license even if someone else is playing the tune. It's the rights to the tune itself I believe, and I would have to aquire a license for use of it.

    I'll get back to you though after I do some heavy duty reading.

    That's unless of course Josh, you or someone else can answer the question without me having to do that.

    Thanks again everyone ...


    Mary
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    • Profile picture of the author KenJ
      Hi Mary

      If it was me I would approach the composer and just ask for permission.

      I have 2 songs "out there" and when I have been asked for permission I always say "Yes" as long as I am credited with the source.

      Kenj
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      • Profile picture of the author mpeters7
        You could do what the Hollywood studios themselves do and get someone to write a song that's close enough to the original so that everyone knows what you're going for but different enough so that it doesn't infringe on the copyright. Now this isn't legal advice and I can't tell you what constitutes "enough" of a change, but I do know this happens all the time, especially in commercials, and especially if you don't need vocals.
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    • Profile picture of the author bluet
      Originally Posted by mmurtha View Post

      Thanks a lot guys for the valuable information. I appreciate it.

      Hey Josh,

      I assume I will run into asimilar problem with a license to use the original tune "people like us" correct? Or would that be a different case?
      I guess now's as good a time to learn about music licenses lol.

      I'm not sure something like this is legal to use without a license even if someone else is playing the tune. It's the rights to the tune itself I believe, and I would have to aquire a license for use of it.
      Last time I registered a cover song for selling it on an internet site, I went to Harry Fox Agency. A couple years ago it cost $28 for a one year license to sell up to 150 copies. Cheaper if you do more than one song at a time, as there is a substantial processing fee that is included, part of the $28, for each time you do this. This is giving people download access after purchase. Don't know the rule on streaming in an audio or video, I think that's stiil a grey area.

      HFA's Songfile &reg

      The song license is listed as available there, if you had someone record a cover of it for you:

      WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME
      Writer(s): GARY PORTNOY, JUDY HART
      HFA Song Code: W48334

      Songfile System
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
    I assume I will run into a similar problem with a license to use the original tune "people like us" correct? Or would that be a different case?
    It's no different than copying people's content. You have to obtain permission first.

    Its a copyright issue.

    I'd contact the artist directly, let them know how you want to use the works, and ask how you might obtain a license for those purposes.

    They can probably point you in the right direction or at least give you a quick answer.
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    • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
      Originally Posted by Josh Anderson View Post

      It's no different than copying people's content. You have to obtain permission first.

      Its a copyright issue.

      I'd contact the artist directly, let them know how you want to use the works, and ask how you might obtain a license for those purposes.

      They can probably point you in the right direction or at least give you a quick answer.
      Hey Josh,

      Thanks, that's what I ended up doing after reading that resource you pointed me to. Thanks for the help.


      Kenj, bluet and Frank,

      I appreciate the advise and comments each of you made. You all gave valid points. As mentioned above, I contacted Gary Portnoy, but I will also check into the license at Sony.

      Frank, I got the synchronization form, and yes it is for videos as well.


      mpeters7 and Reese,

      Although I appreciate the sentiment, I'd rather make sure I am using the music legally, especially when a profit may be directly tied to using the video with the song on it.

      I've heard things can get mighty sticky with this kind of thing. It seems to me if you are going to change the tune, you must change it substantially. Otherwise is like Josh pointed out - It's like cpying someone's content. I'm not sure where that line is, and I'd rather pay the fee instead of finding out the hard way.

      All the best ...


      Mary
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  • Profile picture of the author Reese Fabro
    Well there are alot of bands that do covers. I think as long as your are not profiting from it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Hi Mary

      The composer of "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" is Gary Portnoy.

      However, as with most professional composers, the rights to his material will be administered by a Publishing Company, in this case it's Sony/ATV Music Publishing :

      They'd be the people who would grant a license to use the track.

      This would apply regardless of whether it was the original song or a cover version being used.

      HTH


      Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author bluet
        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        Hi Mary

        The composer of "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" is Gary Portnoy.

        However, as with most professional composers, the rights to his material will be administered by a Publishing Company, in this case it's Sony/ATV Music Publishing :

        They'd be the people who would grant a license to use the track.

        This would apply regardless of whether it was the original song or a cover version being used.

        HTH


        Frank
        Right, and their FAQ says:

        I want to record and release a song that is owned/controlled in whole or in part by Sony/ATV Music Publishing? What steps must be taken to obtain the necessary mechanical license?
        Please contact our exclusive licensing agent, The Harry Fox Agency at http://www.harryfox.com. You will be advised accordingly.
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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          Originally Posted by bluet View Post

          Right, and their FAQ says:

          I want to record and release a song that is owned/controlled in whole or in part by Sony/ATV Music Publishing? What steps must be taken to obtain the necessary mechanical license?
          Please contact our exclusive licensing agent, The Harry Fox Agency at http://www.harryfox.com. You will be advised accordingly.
          That's only if you wanted to record the song yourself. I believe what Mary is looking to do is just use a version of the song on a site or product or video (?)

          In which case, she would need a synchronization license which is available from the Sony/ATV site (you can download the request form).


          Best,


          Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author mpeters7
    Probably smart to play it safe. I'd be curious to hear what the artist and Sony say, though. I've heard a license like that can run into the 10s and 100s of thousands. Think what Dr. Pepper paid to use it in that commercial.
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  • Profile picture of the author jaynet
    Best thing for you to do - since you cannot use the song without paying high licensing fees, if you can get a license for it at all - is to create the song yourself. If you're musically inclined and have a midi keyboard, that's easy. Failing that, the cheapest way would be to contact a local recording studio that has musical production capabilities and have them recreate the song. You can arrange with them for a buy out license. Shouldn't be terribly expensive - maybe a couple of hundred bucks.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    Hey guys,

    I appreciate the responses, but already found a work around.

    Thanks!
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