It's the word should strike the fear of God in anyone creating media these days. But, second only to speed limits, in my observations this is the law that is most widely disobeyed in this country.
Time and again, clients ask if they can use copyrighted popular music or images from magazines or newspapers in their projects, and time and again, I have to say "no." And if they insist, we have them sign a contract taking all the risk, because the copyright police are out there.
There was a time when I was young and free (back in the 60s), and we never considered this to be an issue, but in fact any use of copyrighted material without the copyright owner's permission is stealing! But there are ways to license copyrighted material, and you CAN use material in the Public Domain or that has been released under the "Creative Commons" license. Here are some resources that further explore the issue:
- For a complete guide to copyrights on recorded music, this Guide to Music Copyright is very insightful. In essence NO music recorded since recordings were invented are in the public domain. Any recorded music needs to be licensed.
- To learn about the types of licenses needed for video or Web release, and to negotiate with record companies, we've used BZ Rights and Permissions. They can negotiate your license, but be prepared for major expense.
- To learn about assets people are willing to share on the Web, visit the Creative Commons Website.
To discuss your copyright needs, and to find affordable music library tunes or have an original score, give us a call.
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