Demystifying Music Rights: Licensing, Public Domain or Fair Use

Demystifying Music Rights: Licensing, Public Domain or Fair Use 

Filmmakers and all types of media creators are constantly faced with the challenge of navigating the vast web of music rights. What is Music Licensing? If I only use 2 seconds of the song, am I cleared? This music is really old, is it Public Domain? What are my risks if I just use the music? Does “royalty free” mean it’s free? And what in the world is Fair Use?

Understanding the differences in music rights and being able to clear them properly is essential to minimizing your liability and maximizing the creative possibilities to fit within your budget. In this discussion, NYWIFT member Leah Streetman (music supervisor and licensing expert, Triton Creative Group) and NYWIFT board member Maria C. Miles, Esq. (entertainment attorney) give an overview of music rights to help demystify some of these questions.

Following the discussion, there will be a Q&A where attendees will be able to ask questions relating to their specific projects.

Leah Streetman in a NYC-based independent music supervisor and licensing expert for film, tv, and advertising. Prior to starting her company Triton Creative Group, Streetman was Vice President of Film + TV Music for Universal Music Group’s Republic and Motown Records where she oversaw creative music placement in film, tv, advertising, and videogames for artists like: Florence + The Machine, The Weeknd, Pearl Jam, Ariana Grande, Drake, Lorde, Jack Johnson, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Prince, Black Sabbath, and Amy Winehouse. She has secured creative music placements and partnerships with every level of film studio, tv network, trailer house, video game and ad agency. Some include: HBO, Showtime, EPIX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, MTV, Warner Bros, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, EA Sports, ESPN, MLB, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Shazam, Microsoft, Apple, Tribeca and Sundance Film Festivals. She is currently a music supervisor for EPIX Network.


Maria C. Miles is the founding partner of an entertainment law firm based in New York. Miles’ practice focuses on all areas of entertainment law including, film (narrative and documentary), music, publishing, fashion and new media. Recently, she served as general counsel for a multimedia start-up overseeing a diverse range of matters including corporate and financing transactions, technology development and licensing, intellectual property (incl. trademarks, copyrights and patents), both in the US and abroad. Prior to her role as in-house counsel, Miles was associated with Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Rudolph & Beer, LLP where she was counsel to award-winning producers, directors, writers, actors, television hosts, multi-platinum recording artists, and corporations in the fashion and sports industries related to their entertainment matters.


Special Thanks to RED Digital Cinema for hosting this program

About RED Digital Cameras

In 2006, RED Digital Cinema began a revolution with the 4K RED ONE® digital cinema camera. By 2008, the camera that changed cinema also began to change the world of stills. RED’s DSMC® (Digital Still and Motion Camera) system allows the same camera being used to shoot features like The Hobbit trilogy and Gone Girl — as well as the Emmy-winning House of Cards — to also be used to shoot covers for magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. In 2014, RED entered the broadcast space with the introduction of the REDCAST™ Module that allows streaming live 4K while recording 6K R3D masters. RED continues to innovate with its recent debut of the newest members of the RED DRAGON family, the RED RAVEN, SCARLET-W and WEAPON cameras. These cameras combine compact and lightweight design with cutting edge performance, and the 6K WEAPON includes an option to upgrade to an 8K sensor at a later date. Additionally, all of these cameras are capable of simultaneous on-board recording of REDCODE RAW and Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHR/HD. All RED cameras are built around a modular foundation that gives the flexibility of full customization for each shoot.


May 18 @ 6:30pm
6:30 pm — 8:30 pm (2h)

RED Digital NY
125 Grand St
(Cross street Broadway)

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.