Sunday, April 4, 2021

Checking Out for Royalty Free Music

I think every other week someone asks a question about using commercial or pop music in a podcast of video. There are folk that declare that they have never been caught and don't worry about it. 

There are many more people that are educated and have good sense that talk about not to do this. Not for eight seconds. Not for three. Flat out don't do it.

Me, myself I tend to attach a source to convince those of the cement dome why they should not do use commercial or pop music. I lean toward the academic so I have no problem plunking people toward the Stanford Library Copywrite Principles Primer

I like the stuff at web host Blubrry that explains why not to do it.

Or I could point folks to a post about the topic. The answer is from a legal point of view but, nope, don't do it.

Which leads folks into either commissioning someone to their music or making use of the various Royalty Free Music websites. 

This is going to get confusing very quickly.  Hang in there.

Royalty Free music services have a collection of music or sound effects for sale. That music can be used multiple times (per the condition of the license) after purchase. Meaning you don't have to pay each and every time a music track is used in a podcast or video.

Generally there is a fee associated with Royalty Free Music. But not always money.

For example, Purple Planet Music does provide music for attribution. Meaning you can use their songs provided you make sure that their name and/or website is visible in the finished product. 

The payment is by attribution. If you don't want or can't do that they do have a fee for track purchase option.

Which brings us to

Main Page of website.

This is a relatively new service that is offering free music for creators. And right on the screen it says no copyright claims.

I am a person of doubt. Before I download anything, I keep reading. 

My first stop is the Help Center:

YouTubers, streamers, podcasters, vloggers, and social media maestros, that means you! If you're a solo creator or part of an organisation with up to 10 employees, you can use our music on any open-distribution platform, so long as your content isn't paid advertising

Ok, so far, so long as you are not using the music to create an advertisement it seems like you are go to go. 

When you create an Upbeat account, you agree to the music usage policy, which explains what you can and can't do with our music. When you download a track, instead of a complicated license, you simply receive a unique Uppbeat Credit that's linked to your account. For YouTubers, the Uppbeat Credit can be included in your video’s description to proactively clear copyright claims.

Hold on, there is a music usage policy. And if the video is being uploaded to YouTube you have to place a credit in the description to knock out the YouTube music chasing bots. 

Understandable, but I have a feeling there is more. I found the more. The actual service is a company called Music Vine Limited dba 

I am not, nor have I ever been a lawyer. This is my understanding of what is being presented.

  1. If you decide to use the service, you have to abide by the rules of the service.
  2. They can stop, change or remove the use of the service at any time.
  3. You can make limited alterations of a track, suck as using just a section of it, limited sound editing and minor enhancements.
  4. You can't "sample" the track or make a derivative work.
Yadda, yadda more legalese until you get to section 9.5

9.5   If you are a consumer user, please note that we only provide the Platform and the Tracks for domestic and private use.  You agree not to use the Platform and the Tracks for any commercial or business purposes, and we have no liability to you for any loss of profit, loss of business, business interruption, or loss of business opportunity.

There it is - the gotcha.

Because what constitutes domestic use? This company is located in the UK. I'm not. 

And posting on YouTube or other social media sites is a very public and now days, internationally public activity. Are they saying that yes, if you lock down the video and only show it to friends and relations, that is ok?

But if I use it in a tutorial that may or may not be popular then does that becomes a violation if it does?

And if it does, will Music Vine come back to me and say "hey, you violated the terms of service, either take the video down or pay the commercial rate?"

I'm not feeling comfortable about this. 

You will have to evaluate if this is a safe royalty free site to use. You might like their stuff. 

Maybe just go ahead and pay the Upbeat Premium monthly rate of $6.99 a month to get whitelisted on the 'Tube.

In my opinion, I don't think this "free" offer is free enough of potential trouble. 

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