Copyright Information

This is something you need to read with care BEFORE you make that film!

Filmmaking is, to some degree, as much about your meticulous paperwork and how carefully you can wade through it, as it is a creative pursuit.  Yes, even Guerrilla filmmakers need to get releases signed and copyrights cleared.  Thus, here's some information we prepared for you.  You will need to act on this carefully before submitting any film and fill out the relevant releases with care and accuracy.  Otherwise, your brilliant film may never be seen on a screen. 

Intellectual Copyright is a serious business.  You may want to use your favourite track from The Veronicas as your backing music but it’s illegal if their publisher hasn’t signed off on it.  And that goes for radios or TVs playing in the background of your scene or somebody singing karaoke. You can, in most cases, secure a ‘Festivals only’ release but our advice is that you put the wheels of that in motion BEFORE you shoot that film.  Contact the publisher with a friendly letter explaining exactly where the film is likely to be shown (see below for our list and don’t forget to include the website) and you may be lucky. 

Talent will need to sign releases. You will also need clearance on locations, artworks or photographs used.  Actually, it’s not a lot different from uploading a picture to Facebook or Youtube – even they require copyright clearance these days.  It’s just that for your protection, you need to have that piece of paper correctly identifying who has given you permission to film the article/person/music and where you are allowed to screen it.  Any Film Festival has an ‘indemnity clause’ requirement.  This means that you must guarantee to Bayside Film Festival that you have legal ownership of every aspect of your film – and the paperwork to prove that fact - and any complaints about it can be dealt with by you, the filmmaker.

Do set up a neat and safe folder to contain all these legal documents.


Need copyright info and release forms?

  • No public screening of student films in the Bayside Film Festival 2014 will happen without music and performance clearance.
  • Breach of copyright is a serious matter and Festival staff reserves the right to refuse entry to the Bayside Film Festival of any film that is not accompanied by appropriate evidence with respect to copyright.
  • The AMCOS* License Agreement that covers the use of music in student films made at government schools does not include the public screening of the works in film festivals or competitions.
  • AMCOS  = Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society - This body represents composers and performers and collects royalties when music is re-recorded or reproduced in some way and then they distribute those funds to their members which is the way musicians can earn a living.
  • *APRA - collects and distributes licence fees for public performance of members’ musical works.

Further information on copyright can by found by contacting the following organisations: 

  • Australian Copyright Council (ACC)
  • Relevant copyright information sheets from the ACC can be accessed directly @
  • The information sheet titled Film & Copyright is important to read to understand copyright.  This is all you will require.
    As well, you can read more about documentary and film copyright on these sites.

    Note: you can access information about how copyright works from various places on the web or  The latter is an international documentary community on the web and they are very helpful to beginners joining their forum.
  • You can obtain free advice by contacting the ACC 
  • Australian Government Attorney General’s Department Information on Copyright can be found on the following link:

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Page last updated: 30 Sep 2014

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