Useful information on copyright issues surrounding music and images by fellow ITF Jenny Kijowski. Her original post is here.
Finding music, images and video clips that you can legally use in your videos will be a bit of a challenge. Here are some tips for preventing copyright infringement:
Most of the songs you know and love are copyrighted, meaning in order to use them (even for private use), you will need to obtain a license, which is often expensive and impossible to get for small projects such as yours. You may usepublic-domain music, but most PD songs were published before 1922–probably not your cup of tea. And you may use 30 seconds of any song under fair use laws, but 30-second blocks of songs may be prohibitive and not what you’re looking for.
So, how to find current music to use for your PSAs? There are several options. One option is to use CC-licensed music (songs licensed under Creative Commons, an organization dedicated to making media available to the public). Sites such as Jamendo.com and dig.ccMixter are good places to look. Wikimedia Commons is another source for free-use music. Another option is to Google “podsafe music.” Or, for those of you who are musically inclined, you can create your own music via GarageBand, an application that came with your Macs.
Regardless of where you find your music, whether you pay for a license or use a CC-licensed song or use 30-second clips of songs, you MUST include a music credit in your project (something like you see in the end credits of a movie). For your PSAs, you might want to include a “music credits” section at the end of your movie that includes song, album, artist, and year of publication/release.
As with music, you cannot use an image in your own project just because it’s online. The good news is, however, it’s relatively easy to find images that are licensed for public use. Wikimedia Commons has images in addition to music, as does Creative Commons. You can also search the Flickr Creative Commons page, or do an Advanced Search in Google (for Usage Rights, click on “free to use share or modify”). There is also Fotopedia.com, a “collaborative photo encyclopedia” that includes CC-licensed images, information about the images, and additional goodies. Of course, you can always use images you generate yourself! And as with music, you MUST give credit where credit is due–usually, a photo credit goes beneath the image as a caption.
The same basic rules that apply to images and music apply to use of video. See the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video–watch the video (it’s pretty short but informative) and pay special attention to the “Best Practices” section below the video, which explains the different ways of using copyrighted video clips and what the general rules are. To be safe, use 30 seconds or less of any copyrighted material, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS CREDIT YOUR SOURCES.
A note about crediting your sources…
Each discipline has its own standard for properly documenting sources. The humanities, for instance, use MLA (Modern Language Association) guidelines, while the sciences use the CSE (Council of Science Editors) system. Ask your professor which system they prefer you to use, and find a reliable guide (again, ask your professor for recommendations, but Diana Hacker’s site is a good one to use). It is NOT enough simply to copy and paste the url of your source.