Had the ringtone been a common telephone ring, the scene could have dropped into the final edit without a hitch, the moment providing a quick bit of emotional texture to the film. But EMI Music Publishing, which owns the rights to "Gonna Fly Now," was asking the first-time producer for $10,000 to use those six seconds. [nyt]From the sounds of it, things are getting tougher for filmmakers as the documentary form has increasingly commercially viable. Naturally, there's even an example of the high price of "Happy Birthday."
Despite the apparent idiocy of this, rights management did play a part in one of the few moments of minor victory on for the Lisa Kudrow character on the Comeback.