Understanding Legal Issues With Copyrighted Music In Video

Understanding Legal Issues With Copyrighted Music In VideoI interviewed Chicago's high-profile "new media" attorney Daliah Saper about some of the important issues that video marketers and other professionals need to be aware of if they are using (or plan to use) other people's music in their own online video pieces, and for their own professional gain.

[powerpress]

Music Law 101 & Online Video

There are so many ways people are trying to monetize video today, and they're doing a lot of it with music. Some marketing professionals (including myself) would argue that a lot of video out on the web wouldn't be nearly as successful with engaging visitors if it didn't also include a good music soundtrack behind it. However its clear by all of the popular songs behind lots of viral videos on the Web today that most people who use other people's music are not doing it the right, legal way.

I happened to be in Chicago to check out Daliah's monthly office seminar, with this month's subject being Music Law 101. Daliah was gracious enough to do a podcast show with me before her seminar on the subject, and explain to our own audience the legal issues with featuring other people's (or other rights owners') music in your own video content – especially for professional/commercial use. Daliah actually did the interview with me from her phone walking to her office while we were recording in the studio. (Now that's what I call dedication, flexibility, and efficiency!)

Click the play button at the top of this page and listen our discussion on music legal issues in online video:

  • What are the legal issues (copyrights) with music in online video that people need to pay attention to?
  • Who are the copyright owners in a recorded music piece (who's rights you may be infringing on)?
  • What are the damages you can suffer if use other people's music in your video without permission?
  • How can you find out who does own the music copyrights (and get legal permission)?
  • How you can copyright protect your own music in your videos?
  • What's the criteria for "fair use" with using other people's music in your own videos? (And why Daliah says that the fair use argument is typically not a good defense if that's your only defense.)

About Daliah Saper

Understanding Legal Issues With Copyrighted Music In VideoDaliah Saper is the principal attorney for Saper Law Offices in Chicago, specializing in intellectual property law, media and entertainment law, litigation, and business affairs. I first met Daliah at a law conference in Chicago, where she spoke on "New Media" issues including trademark and copyright law on the Internet. She is one of those attorneys who walks the walk – being fully involved in social media, and especially "gets" online video – even doing regular video seminars around important legal issues with New Media.

Here are just a few of Daliah's accolades. (You can check out Daliah's full bio here.)

  • She's handled several high profile cases and has been featured on tv, radio, and several publications; and has repeatedly received the honor of being named a "Rising Star” by Chicago's Super Lawyers magazine
  • She is on the faculty of the Practicing Law Institute, and has been selected by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society to be a member of Harvard's new Online Media Legal Network (OMLN), and;
  • She is an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, teaching a Sports and Entertainment law course.


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Posted in Video & The Law
About the Author -
Grant Crowell is a veteran “social video stylist” working in video marketing since 2005. He has worked in the online marketing industry since 1996 providing digital strategies and development to enterprises and entrepreneurs of all sizes, including Video SEO, YouTube marketing, video UX best practices, performance testing, legal issues and ethics. Contact Grant @ http://grantcrowell.com/. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://internetmarketingabc.com Internet Marketing ABC

    Awesome! This is a subject that I've thought quiet a lot about and always stayed away from using music. Now I'm happy about that.
    Is it true that copyrights owners are developing a technology that allows them to automatically "scan" online videos to spot infringements?

  • Anonymous

    @Internet Marketing ABC - YouTube is already detecting copyright material when uploading videos, so copyright owners or their agents will be doing the same thing if they aren't doing it already. Yes dot com is showing what songs radio stations are playing by sampling the first couple seconds of the song (or less) and matching it against their database using a special algorithm. It's foolish to think you can use anyone else's material without being caught.

  • https://twitter.com/LeePritchard Lee at MediaMusicNow

    I actually work in the music licensing industry and found your audio very interesting, thank you for that.

    You mentioned about a direct license agreement with an artist, this is an interesting area as in my experience this is ideal as the user has the consent of the owner(s), however there does seem to be a massive grey area with PRO's (Performance Royalty Organisations) where the composer has granted permission, for example in the case of music on hold, and sooner or later a PRO comes along and demands an additional license to be paid. Now, as I understand this, it is because a number of PRO's declare exclusivity in their small print and most artists feel that they have the right to override this. Unfortunately, many PRO's feel differently, and push for license payment as they have the right to do this. In my experience, it takes the composer to directly contact the PRO and state that they do not wish them to collect on that occasion. This has always solved the problem in my experience.

    The crazy bit for me is that some PRO's have this exclusivity clause and can cause so much extra admin for composers, artists and distributors like myself.

    The American PRO's BMI, ASCAP and SESAC do not have this ridiculous exclusivity clause and their small print allows the artist (owner) to have the final say.

    I am sure Daliah is well aware of this issue and I am no legal expert but I think that this exclusivity should be abolished now that there are so many direct opportunities for artists / composers. What are your thoughts on this?

  • billlake01

    Where's the beef?
    This article doesn't provide any answers. It instead references a video that I can't find.

  • http://twitter.com/betterretailing betterRetailing

    Wheres the audio link!?

  • Kaila Krayewski

    I really don't see a play button anywhere on this page...

  • Corey Sandefur

    I'm loving the invisible play button.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001904204770 Katie Ferrell

      If its invisible can u poke it..