by Heather Hayward
In the past there have been a few issues about whether music or narratives could be used in our videos for competition nights. Just because you see something on the Internet, even though you may see it or hear it on many different websites, it does not mean it is free for you to use. If you film at a music concert, that doesn’t mean the music you hear is free for you to record and then re-use without obtaining written permission. Any works that have been created being videos, photos, music, poems etc. have copyright that belongs to the creator and any one who wants to use it has to have permission. The bottom line is, would you like someone else to copy your work without asking permission, no, I am sure they feel the same way too.
Copyright lasts for 70 years from the end of the year the creator of the work died. This rule applies to published music, photos and literary works, etc. There are various exceptions to this rule, including:
Once copyright has expired and enters the public domain you are free to use it, e.g. Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elise’ is not protected by copyright. If you want to film your sister playing this piece, you are free to do so as long as your sister agrees to this. On the other hand, if you want to use someone else’s recording of the piece (for example, a recent commercially released recording of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra performing the piece, you would need permission from the owner of copyright in the sound recording (who is usually the record company) and possibly also from the performer(s).
Similarly, if you wanted to use someone else’s arrangement of the piece (for example, a recently published arrangement of “Fur Elise” for bagpipes, you would need permission from the copyright owner of the arrangement (who is usually the relevant publishing company).
A copyright owner is the only one who is entitled to do certain things with their material. Permission is needed from them in the form of a licence to reproduce the whole or a ‘substantial amount’ of the material. In copyright law, any part of a work that is important, distinctive, essential or recognisable is likely to be ‘substantial’ in this sense. A few notes or excerpts of music that may be recognisable will generally require permission.
Copyright protects the way information and ideas are expressed. However, you can always use the Internet to find and view information about a particular subject. You may, however, infringe copyright if you copy all or a “substantial part” of someone else’s work. Having said that, if you do use something from the public domain, it is ‘netiquette’ or web manners to clearly show it is a quote and add a link to the original source.
Let’s define the different types of resources available:
- Public domain, which means its use is not restricted by copyright and anyone can use it without restriction.
- Royalty free means the content is owned either by the creator, a music company or publisher
- and they give you permission to use it, however a fee is required by the copyright holder, it could either be the composer or the record company if it’s a music track, or it could be both.
- Creative Commons (CC) licences work a bit differently. This means that the content creator gives their permission to reuse, remix and share the content to their video for free with some Caveats. The most basic CC licence is the Attribution licence. What this means is when you use this work, you must always attribute the work to the original creator. Other restrictions are sometimes added which I will go into later. Go to the attached link for a fact sheet on Creative Licences. Creative Commons
For those of us who source music, photos or information from the Internet, there are conditions to be met. The music we download is not copyright free, it is licenced music under the title of a “Creative Commons” licence. You can’t just download something, without conditions and acknowledgement.
For an example, if we download one of Kevin MacLeod’s songs, he asks for attribution to be given. He asks for acknowledgement as the composer, the name of the song, a link to the website and the Attribution Licence. See below
"Special Spotlight" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License Creative Commons
There 4 different Creative Commons licence features that you need to be aware of.
Attribution (By) means you must credit the creator, the title and the licence of the work.
Share Alike (SA) means any new work produced using this material must be made available under the same terms. So if you do remix a work you have to release your new work under the same licence.
Eg Attribution-Share Alike has to stay Attribution-Share Alike.
No Derivative Works (ND) means only verbatim copies of the work may be used. In other words you can’t change the work in any way. You need to get extra permission if you want to crop a photo, edit down text or use a song in a film. Basically, any remixing is out.
Non-Commercial (NC) means any use of the work must be for non- Commercial purposed only. That means file sharing, educational use and Film festivals are all ok, but advertising and for-profit uses are not.
It is recommended that you download a copy of the brochure of the 6 various licences for future information. download
It is recommended that ‘Attribution (By)’ and ‘Noncommercial (NC)’ are the ones we use.
We need to be aware that copyright rules and regulations from Europe may be subject to different requirements from USA and Canada. Go to SmartSound Royalty Free Music Licence Info for more detail smartsound
We are all proud of the creations we make and everyone has the right to be attributed with the work they have created. Putting ‘copyright free music’ on our films without any attributions is not correct. The music on the any purchased CDs is Licenced/Royalty Free for us to use and should be attributed as licenced music, not ‘copyright free’ and give acknowledgement to the licence holder, including the name of the song, album and their website details.
Extracts and information by:
Creative Commons Australia. Creative Commons
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence Creative Commons
Australian Copyright Council Australia
ABC Open – OK to download? Online copyright explained by Jane Curtis ABC Open
ABC OPEN – Are you being commonly creative? By Daniel Schmidt ABC Open
Recommended on this page to go to the link Kevin MacLeod’s FAQ for a list of music sites
ABC Open - How to find music for your videos by Ruslan Kulski (gives a list of places to find CC music) ABC Open
This is a video explaining Creative Commons License and how it helps us share digital content You Tube
A printable sheet of the six different licenses. Its a good idea to print/keep this pdf as it shows you the different combinations of licenses.
Videomaker magazine – Finding and Using Free Sound Effects Videomaker
To obtain information and Australian licences go to Australia
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared carefully to help provide you with an understanding of what copyright is about, however rules and regulations change so it is up to individuals to ensure any work used does not infringe copyright.
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