What are the "rules" for using popular music in your promo videos?

by 8 comments
What are the "rules" regarding using music in your videos?

I want to make a "motivational" video and send it to my list & I'm wondering what the rules are when using a song by a famous musician?

When I go on YouTube, I see homemade videos all the time using other people's songs...people make their own videos to the song. Is this allowed??

I don't want to get in trouble for doing something illegal...I just want to use a semi-popular song and overlay it with my own photos & video clips.

Allowed or not?

#main internet marketing discussion forum #music #popular #promo #rules #videos
  • Profile picture of the author khanarms
    Yes, it is illegal. The reason many people get away with it is because it is not worth it for the copyright holder to go after them. You on the other side are a sueable entity and furthermore you will use the music for commercial purposes, so you can definately get sued. However, the worst that's probably going to happen is have the record companies make you take your videos down. They won't agree to spend a lot of money to sue you unless it is going to be worth their time and money.
  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    Do a Google search for "fair use". Under certain circumstances, it is perfectly legal to use it.
  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    The music cannot be a significant part of the video.

    For example, a slideshow that plays a song from beginning to end, or plays 50% of the song with rotating pictures is illegal.

    On the other hand, the video of a guy in a bar crying while "November Rain" plays in the background on a jukebox is pretty ok (though Axl will probably sue you anyways to keep those braids fresh). In this case, it sets a mood for the character's development.

    Hope this helps a bit. Here's a great source:
  • Profile picture of the author Rachel Embry
    LOL about the Axl comment!

    I used to have such the crush on him back in "the day".

    Now......not so much.....lol
  • Profile picture of the author JustVisiting
    Hi Rachel

    This web site may be of interest to you:

    They state:
    "There are no sound recordings in the Public Domain in the USA. If you need a sound recording - even a recording of a public domain song - you will either have to record it yourself or license one."

    I learned something too!!
  • Profile picture of the author Melkor
    But why bother, when you can go to Incompetech and use his Creative Commons releases completely legally? Kevin MacLeod makes varied music that will probably suit your needs and if you don't find what you want when browsing his library by mood or genre, you can make your video and have him score it for you.

    Mashups or alternate music videos to popular songs, mix tapes and whatnot are a whole other grey area - some of it skate the line but are creative works, some are derivative works, and some of it is so far over the line it's only the lack of ROI for the copyright holder that keeps the offender out of a court. But in general, it's safe to assume that if it isn't explicitly licensed to you specifically (or you license it through the general ASCAP agreement) you're not allowed to use it.

    I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on the 'net though - if you want specific legal advice on a particular situation, get an opinion from an actual lawyer.
  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike

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