Laws Concerning use of music

in General Discussion edited January 2014

I'm currently helping my aunt create this little video production for a meeting she will attend at her school. It's just a collection of pictures set to music. She was just recently told by her tech guy that she couldn't use the music because she didn't have permission to do so (from the musicians and/or label).

My question is simply what are the laws with respect to something like this? She is not using it to make money, nor sell anything. It's for education use. Does anybody out there have any insight on something like this? Anyone know where I could go to get more info? It seems to me that if she owns the music (purchased the CD), it shouldn't be a big deal, but I guess I don't really know if the law thinks the same way I do

Thanks for any info,



  • Reply 1 of 7
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    Sketchy. Technically, you can't broadcast the music for a public performance. But with schools... I think school projects are somewhat exempt from the rule. You would have to give credit at the end (a simple two-lines 1-song title, 2-Artist) BUT you don't have to get permission to use the song. Make sure you erase the program after you are done with it.

    EDIT: I know some of you are lawyers out there! Don't make me hunt you down!
  • Reply 2 of 7
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,215member
    I think she's fine. Copyright has many vague parts but it exists to protect the Owner. However in many cases of Copyright Infringement the owner must show that they have impacted in some harmeful way or that their works have been used to compete against them. A Teacher using music as a backdrop would be hard to stifle. Thousands of home made movies have backing tracks from the creators favorite songs...this is not illegal. Broadcasting would be unfair competition however .
  • Reply 3 of 7
    mbezzombezzo Posts: 72member
    Thanks, I appreciate the replies.

    Does anyone know where I could find actual info on this though? I totally think she would be fine too, the problem is simply that she's been told she can't do it without concent. So what I need is some sort of actual proof saying that it is okay, or for that matter, that it isn't. She needs to be able to take something in to this Tech guy and say "here, it's not a big deal, don't worry about it"

    Thanks again,

  • Reply 4 of 7
    mbezzombezzo Posts: 72member
    this has got me thinking... So, it's legal for someone to play music on their stereo for a group of people, say at a dance or party or something, right? Heck, playing music for a group of people, in an office, at work, whatever. That's all legal right? So how in the heck is this different? Would it be legal then (if it were in fact illegal to include in the video without proper consent) to play the movie without audio, and play the music through a stereo along with the video? Hmm, this is such an annoyingly gray area.

    This movie will not be distributed or anything like that, it basically won't leave her laptop. It's gonna be projected in front of a group of education professionals before a meeting.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member

    There is something known as educational fair-use in the realm of copyright law. If the purpose of the presentation is to inform in an educational setting (AKA teach) than it is perfectly legal to incorporate copywritten material into the presentation, provided the presenter or the school owns the license to that music.

    A quick quote from the page to which I'll be linking (from S. Day O'Conner):

    " The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but '[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.' To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art."

    The idea here is that for an educational presentation, new ideas would be put forth and the copywritten material would merely be one of many tools to put forth that presentation.

    Out of this rises the previously mentioned fair-use exception, which I believe your scenario falls under.

    Here is a great link:

  • Reply 6 of 7
    mbezzombezzo Posts: 72member

    Awesome! That's exactly what I was looking for

  • Reply 7 of 7
    progmacprogmac Posts: 1,850member
    cool, glad i could help

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