Copyright and Compliance

Young person writing a film review
Young person writing a film review

We are committed to helping make educators aware of copyright and compliance laws when using film in or out of the classroom, whether copying materials for use in lessons, or using music within filmmaking activity.

'Intellectual property' is defined as something unique that you physically create - this can be anything from a logo, to a piece of music, to a recipe. We have produced a suite of resources on respect for intellectual property to help educate children and young people about why it's important to watch films legally, and the damaging effect piracy has on the film industry and wider culture.

Filmmaking can be an excellent activity to help educate young people on compliance. The collaborative nature of filmmaking means that multiple people's intellectual property may be required to complete the finished work.

One of the main reasons that films submitted to our competitions like Film of the Month or the Into Film Awards are disqualified is the use of copyrighted music. Young people are likely to want to use their favourite songs in their films, but the process of obtaining permission for commercial music is lengthy and costly. Instead, we would always recommend the use of music which is free of copyright restrictions. Better still - why not make your own music!

There are many online sources that provide license-free material for filmmaking. By that, we mean royalty-free music. You may still need to pay a one-off fee for the use of the music though.

A Creative Commons license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. The use of royalty-free music in films is usually covered by an Attribution-Non Commercial license, which means that you can use the music in your film as long as it is not for commercial purposes (for instance, financial gain) and that you give appropriate credit to the licensor, the wording for which will be provided for you to copy into your end credits. 

Music and sound effects

The following websites provide music and sound effects that are free to use on YouTube and Vimeo. Just make sure to attribute correctly if you are using the Creative Commons license. These sites will give you the correct credit wording - simply copy and paste. YouTube and Vimeo credits can be placed in the video description, or in the video itself.

Still images and photographs

If you want to include images or photographs in your film to complement the video footage, it is important that you have permission to use them. Do not assume that just because you can find an image in a Google search that it is free to use. It is more than likely under copyright and not free for you to use. We would recommend taking your own photographs on location where possible, but if you need additional stills, use a copyright free image library online. The following websites provide access to copyright free images that can be searched against a wide variety of topics.

Video and archive footage

If you want to use archive material in your film, or you have obtained footage from another filmmaker, make sure that you have permission to use the footage in your film, and that it can be shared online. Use a copyright free video library online and make sure that you credit the copyright holder in the end credits of the film for any video clips used.

It's also important to remember that copyright extends to any logos or branding that may appear in films, and permission will also need to be sought for these if you want to use them. To avoid falling foul of this, all actors should wear neutral clothing, free of branding, and check that there are no adverts elsewhere in shot during shooting.

If you're thinking of starting filmmaking activity in your school or youth group, you may in the future want to enter your films to one of our filmmaking competitions. We require all children and young people under the age of 17 to obtain parental consent for participating in the making of a film before we can share and showcase films to the public.

Please use the Into Film Contributor Release Form template below and retain copies of these for when you enter your films to us.


Contributor Release Form and FAQ

Contributor Release Form and FAQ

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