When creating videos, you may wish to include some music, photos, and/or video images without having to create them yourself. If so, you’ve probably been searching the web for them, and wondering how legal it is to use the works of others in your production.
Google and other search engines have added filters (Search Tools -> Usage Right) that will only allow you to see photos that expressly allow reuse in commercial or non-commercial settings. (More on that below when I discuss “Creative Commons”.) Unfortunately, this will filter out like 99.9% of the photos Google indexes; not so much because their owners would have an issue with you using their image, but because they did not go out of their way to tag their photo with that permission.
Officially, you are supposed to have some level of permission for any image you use. When it comes to blogging, that rule is mostly ignored, and could arguably fall under the “Fair Use”/Educational copyright laws. BUT…that doesn’t mean you are legally covered. If you are using the images commercially, then you would be in violation. And if your blog starts getting popular, then you could find yourself with a cease-and-desist letter, or a law suit. (Please note, I am not an expert in these matters, and am only sharing my limited knowledge and opinion. Please consult with a professional on this subject to make sure you are in compliance.)
So, where does that leave you in trying to find a great image, video, and/or music to complement your work?
First of all, don’t confuse “royalty free” with “free”. You will still need to pay for royalty free music/images, but you will only have to pay once and then be able to use it (within the terms of the agreement) forever.
If you are willing to pay for the music and images, there are tons of places on the net to go and buy them. One of my favorite music sites is: www.royaltyfreemusic.com They charge $10 for a track, or $100 for a disk. (But then you can use it forever.)
For stock photos, search on keywords: stock photos + the keyword(s) for image you are looking for and see what pops up. iStock.com and ShutterStock.com are two of the biggest, but a LOT of newcomers have entered the market over the past few years.
Finding genuinely free music and images is hard, but a organization called Creative Commons (CC) is changing that a bunch. To find out more about them, check out CreativeCommons.org, but basically what they have done is allow people to permit their creative work (video, photos, music, etc) to be used by others in a limited way without having to make an unique agreement with each user. It’s very cool, but you need to check the specific CC license granted for whatever it is you want to use and make sure you comply with the rules. For your purposes, you will need to make sure that they allow “to share” and “to remix”, and if they require attribution, then you need to list their info at the end of your video.
Check out Creative Commons music for video use at: http://creativecommons.org/legalmusicforvideos
A big restriction you will find in many Creative Commons licenses is not permitting “for profit” use, so you need to decide if you consider the video you are creating as a “for profit” project (meaning it’s promoting your business), of if it is more in the realm of “educational”. Maybe you can do it as educational now, but you will then need to find other music and photos if you decide to use it as a for-profit promotional video later. To avoid the hassle of a re-edit, it’s probably best to find music and images from the beginning that allow “for-profit” use.
As for the finding the specific music and images you need, you’ll need to search for them, find what you need, and then check the license or pay to use them.
Coach Chaim Goldman
For such a time as this!