Question by secret_smile4u_only: Music copyright in a student production?
I am making a short documentary for uni (8 mins) and I would like to use small snippets of music by various artists but all the copyright info i can find is way above my head…does anyone know any good websites or whats whats with students and copyright? and who do i contact? will add more info if you need it!!!
I’m in the UK!!!
Answer by aeshamali
Any music you use in any production is subject to challenge if those owning the rights find out about it, so be VERY CAREFUL if you choose to do this.
If you use a song in a production, you usually have to pay for it. However, there is an exception called the Fair Use Doctrine that states that fair use is determined by the following:
1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. The nature of the copyrighted work;
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Your student film may be able to use music and not be subject to litigation under fair use, and is related to the above provisions in the following manner:
1. It is not being used for commercial gain;
3. You are using small pieces of the work, and using 10-20 seconds of a 4 minute song is not a substantial use;
4. Your student film is not going to cut into the market for this song or anything.
Copyright is really confusing, and I hope that I haven’t done more to confuse you. I’ve studied it myself in school and it still can be confusing. You did not mention where you are from, but if youre in California or New York, there are organizations such as California Lawyers for the Arts and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts that may be able to help and advise you in this matter, if your professor can’t.
There are organizations throughout the country, so you may want to do a Google search for the one nearest you:
Volunteer Laywers for the arts (NY)
California Lawyers for the Arts (CA)
Philadelphia Lawyers for the Arts (PA)
Georgia Laywers for the Arts (GA)
Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (DC)
Ocean States Lawyers for the Arts
That is just a sampling… if you go to the webpage I have listed below, you’ll find listings by state for all the organizations, and you can contact the one nearest you for more advice.
I hope this helps. Good luck.
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