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iphone ringtone copyrighted ?
Old 16th May 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
iphone ringtone copyrighted ?

Hi,
Does anybody know if iphone 4 ringtones are copyrighted for use in a fiction feature film ?
I mean a character has an iphone 4 and the phone rings.
Do we have to worry about copyright or should we make an alternative ringtone ?
Thanks.
Old 16th May 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stieglitz View Post
Hi,
Does anybody know if iphone 4 ringtones are copyrighted for use in a fiction feature film ?
I mean a character has an iphone 4 and the phone rings.
Do we have to worry about copyright or should we make an alternative ringtone ?
Thanks.
Yes. They are. But I've never heard of a case where people had to pay to use them.
Ask production about making your own ringtones. If they have a product placement deal with Apple apple might want to have one of their original ring tones on screen not one that's not available on the phone.

Below the line, ask production what to do. Never risk anything regarding copyright yourself. In the end they might come after you because you signed a deal that says that anything you deliver is free of claims of third parties.

If in doubt leave the decision to production.
Old 16th May 2012
  #3
Here for the gear
Production said to go with the original apple tones.
So I guess they'll take responsability since we don't have this clause in contract.
Old 25th May 2012
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stieglitz View Post
Production said to go with the original apple tones.
So I guess they'll take responsability since we don't have this clause in contract.
You know how litigious Apple is. Just make your own that sounds like the Apple ringtone.

If for some reason the director needs it to be the actual Apple ringtone, production needs to get permission to use it.

In the (highly unlikely) event production were to get sued by Apple, their lawyers/insurance are going to figure out how they can shift blame away from their client onto someone else.
Old 26th May 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
If you contact apple, you will most likely get free use if it, since the user issuing an iPhone.
A series I'm mixing was given the license for free, because they a using an iPhone in the series as well.
Old 26th May 2012
  #6
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JSt0rm's Avatar
I dont know exactly how this works but if they have the rights to film it they may have the rights to record its sound as well.

Its a dumb thing to have to think about. I actually called apple once about it and talked to some corporate person. They said to write in at some address that I forget to get permission.
Old 28th May 2012
  #7
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
My HTC Desire has the exact same "Old Phone" ringtone as the iPhone. I doubt it is copyrighted and even if it is, if they don't sue HTC for copyright infringement, they are unlikely to sue you.

Alistair
Old 31st May 2012
  #8
Here for the gear
Producer said Apple should agree with the product placement peculiarities in the first place in order to issue the free licence, and that could maybe complicate things.

I did my best to keep them informed about this, I have the proof (emails), I don't have anything in the contract that makes me responsable for the copyright of the sounds present in edit, so that is that.

We used a ringtone unique to apple afaik. I'll just watch things pass I guess.

This is the first hit on google for the matter and is an interesting read:
Apple’s iTunes Ringtones and the Complex World of Copyright Law — RoughlyDrafted Magazine

Thanks for support guys.
Old 28th May 2018
  #9
Lives for gear
I don't have anything in the contract that makes me responsable for the copyright


Your contract is with the production. Nothing can make Apple (or anyone other than the production) not sue you, if they want to.

What you really need is a clause indemnifying you against copyright actions for anything the production provides.

I used to do a lot of TV spots for radio stations around the country. They always insisted that the songs they gave me were covered by their ASCAP and BMI annual licenses. That's wrong on so many counts: the license is only for the notes and words as written on paper, it only applies to their own station, a spot becomes an authorized derivative work, the recording is a separate copyright owned by the band or record company...

So my lawyer insisted on the indemnification sentence, and that the production supplies the music from their own library. It means that if the copyright owners come after me -- which they can -- and are successful, I can make the production pay the damages and legal fees. I never had to invoke it, but recall a couple of times where stations' lawyers suddenly got a lot friendlier when negotiating for "just this once" with a record company... knowing it would come out of their pockets and not mine. IANAL.

I also have a friend who was head of music business at Paramount. He told me one of their stars spontaneously made up different words while singing a pop song acapella, during a TV interview. Bingo: that was an unauthorized derivative work, and Paramount had to settle by paying $20k to the publisher.
Old 29th May 2018
  #10
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TVPostSound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
If you contact apple, you will most likely get free use if it, since the user issuing an iPhone.
A series I'm mixing was given the license for free, because they a using an iPhone in the series as well.
Agree with Henchman.
The agreement we have with Apple, is we must use Apple ringtones when you see an Apple phone. You can not use any other custom ringtone.

You can NOT use an Apple ringtone on a non Apple phone.
Old 20th January 2019
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

You can also ask Apple for permission to use the iPhone ringtone at this link:

Legal - Contact - Rights and Permissions - Apple

In general, they'll do it provided the Apple product isn't being used in a scene involving a crime. For example, if a Mafia chief picks up his cellphone to order a hit on somebody, I think it's unwise to show the Apple logo and hear an Apple ringtone. If it's just a regular "civilian," Apple won't question it. They might ask for a copy of the script page on which their product is used.
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