There are two copyrights on a piece of music; one on the idea (the notes &
lyrics) and another on the recording. Both of the copyrights must have
expired before you can use the music without getting permission from the
The copyright on the idea expires 70 years after the year of the author's
The copyright on the recording expires 50 years after the year it was
If you find you need to licence a piece of music for your film the first
point of contact is PRS for Music (formerly PRS/MCPS Alliance).