So You Want To License Some Music For That YouTube Video...

from the you-want-to-do-what-now-with-the-whotube? dept

Ray Beckermann points us to an opinion piece by Shelly Palmer, who is President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Palmer's article is officially about why it's dumb for music publishers to join in the mad rush to sue Google/YouTube over not getting royalties for songs used in YouTube videos. However, he actually makes a point that goes well beyond the futility of suing, by showing how ridiculous the licensing process is today. Basically, there are numerous different rights that you need to secure, and each may require a different negotiation with a different party -- and almost no one makes it easy to figure out who you need to talk to about what. In other words, even if people did want to properly license the music playing in their background while making a home video of their toddler dancing, it's probably not even possible.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2007 @ 11:34pm

    Agreed

    When I was in high school, I was part of a group of students who made several funny videos throughout my senior year and we wanted to sell them on DVD as a fundraiser. I approached the CMRRA (Canadian Musical Rights Reproduction Agenecy or something like that) and I was basically told, "Thanks for trying to do the right thing, but this is beyond impractical to actually acquire the licenses because you'll need to do negotiations with separate parties for each of two licenses you'll need for any song used." There was no way that we would have stood a chance acquiring the proper licenses given the time it would require, and our status as nobodies to the publishing companies we would have had to negotiate with.

    So much for paying royalties.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 12:37am

    MUZIC IS SERIOUS BUSINESS

     

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  3.  
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    inc, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 3:30am

    thought that was fair use... why should I need to pay at all?

     

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  4.  
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    John M, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 3:59am

    Anyone else find it odd that the acronym for the academy listed in the article spells "SATAN" backwards?

    National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

    N.A.T.A.S.

     

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  5.  
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    David, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 4:59am

    Creative Commons

    Want to keep things simple? Stick to using music that can be licensed using Creative Commons. Support the artists who are trying to support the artistic community.

     

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  6.  
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    Everyone is stupid..., Aug 15th, 2007 @ 5:39am

    ...Even your mom.

    The system is broken. It is everyone's fault. Might as well steal music.

     

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  7.  
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    Loren, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 5:47am

    Licensing..

    I create videos of our schools chorus and for a mission trip on a yearly basis. The mission trip is normally easy because one company admins both licenses for most of the songs I need (Sync and master recording). The other our chorus owns all the master recordings since we are singing so I only need one license but it is still next to impossible to find all the companies I need to license the songs. It takes 3+ weeks to get them back.

     

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  8.  
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    Nasty Old Geezer, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 6:10am

    Re:

    I ain't no lawyer, so if one is around help me out.

    I doubt if posting a video on the Internet, or selling a DVD as a fundraiser, would be "fair use" -- especially if the entire song is used. These involve public performance and money, as I understand "fair use" it does not really encompass either of these.

    Licensing for small users is a huge mess, as is nearly all the IP legal thicket. If RIAA really wanted to help they would serve as a central clearinghouse for such things, and make it easy for end users to do the right thing.

     

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  9.  
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    Nasty Old Geezer, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 6:14am

    Re: ...Even your mom.

    Dude....why sink to their level?

    "Never wrestle with pigs. It gets you dirty, and the pig like it."

    Author unknown.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    Wait a sec.

    Let me gat this straight. 1)RIAA wants more money than anything else. 2)They claim that sharing music is illegal unless you have a license. 3)Common people are willing to buy these licenses AND pay the royalties. 4)They won't let the common man have a license OR pay the ropyalties.

    Uuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..................What am I missing here? That makes no since what so ever.

     

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  11.  
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    TheDock22, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 7:23am

    Re: Wait a sec.

    What am I missing here? That makes no since what What am I missing here? That makes no since what so ever.

    Sure it does. They make more money suing the common people than they do giving them a legitimate license to use.

     

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  12.  
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    DouggieB, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Wait a sec.

    Close. There's a lot more money in suing Google than there is in suing the common man.

     

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  13.  
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    Matt, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 8:02am

    Re: Fair Use

    Um, I'm pretty sure posting a video on the Internet IS fair use ... the fact that the whole song is used might be a little tricky, and might make it non-fair use, but I'm not sure the classification of a youtube video being a "public performance" would hold up in court.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 8:39am

    How is it fair use?
    Putting a video on youtube is the exact same thing as holding a concert where there is nothing but people lip synching, it costs nothing to get on stage and do your favorit song and nothing to attend but the person footing the bill for the concert (electricity, space) puts adds up all over the place and actually turns a profit off of this concert. That is not fair use by any stretch of the imagination, even if there were no adds and no bill you are still playing a recording of a song for a ton of people to hear without paying royalties.

     

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  15.  
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    TheDock22, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 9:29am

    Re:

    it costs nothing to get on stage and do your favorit song and nothing to attend but the person footing the bill for the concert (electricity, space) puts adds up all over the place and actually turns a profit off of this concert. That is not fair use by any stretch of the imagination, even if there were no adds and no bill you are still playing a recording of a song for a ton of people to hear without paying royalties.

    So...if I get up and sing karaoke I should have to pay a royalty for singing the song? As far as I know, all the bar does is pay for the DJ. There is no advertising that goes on, but I assume the bar is hoping for returned profits in drink sales.

    Maybe if I were to tape myself singing karaoke and then put it on YouTube, but I still think this falls under fair use.

     

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  16.  
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    The infamous Joe, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 10:16am

    Now look what you made me do

    Gah, thanks a ton Ms. TheDock22. Because of you I actually *looked* around, which included riaa dot com and karaokeantipiracyagency dot com, and now I feel dirty-- having to sift through all their black propaganda ("Pirating IS Stealing", "You can't make a backup copy of music, only software-- even for personal use", etc). And it turns out that I was right, and greed does, in fact, rule. It seems that for karaoke to go on in a bar, both the Karaoke guy (KJ, as they seem to call themselves) *and* the bar need to get licenses, though it seems those are relatively cheap, or at least were a few years ago. So, it's safe to say that if *anyone* is making money from music, they need to pay a license. Anyway, as soon as I find a rusty brillo pad to clean myself with I'm sure I'll feel clean again. :)

    Back on topic, in my quick search I found lots of references that one needed to get a license for all sorts of things, but no where does it tell you *how*. I, for one, have no clue, still. It seems that if they made it easier to do, if might, ya know, happen. Seems like a scam to me. But I hate all things RIAA related,

     

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  17.  
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    Calix, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 10:18am

    If you're singing karaoke in a bar, the creative artists behind the music you're warbling get fair compensation in several ways ...

    First, bars (along with every commercial space that uses music, be it live or prerecorded) pay ASCAP and BMI a recurring fee for the right to use their licensed music. The performing rights organizations have people who go around checking on this sort of thing. That pays the songwriter for his or her work.

    Second, the DJ (presumably) bought and paid for the CDs/DVDs he's using to provide the music for you to sing to. That money goes to pay the recording artists and producers and engineers and record labels and distributors who went to all the trouble to create that music for you to sing to.

    Third, the original recording artist who made the song a hit in the first place so you'd want to sing it - well, I think they're actually SOL! But then you're not using their work - you're using the work of the songwriters and recording musicians and producers of that particular cover version of the song.

    In some ways, the rights to use music are pretty simple and reasonable. For example, if I want my band to do a cover version of a song, all I have to do is pay a statutory royalty to the songwriter/publisher (I think it's something like 12 cents per song per unit sold, but I'd have to look it up and it's too much trouble to open another browser window and Google it, even though that would have been faster than typing this sentence ... ) ASCAP/BMI take care of all the rest re the songwriter.

    In other ways, getting permission to use music in a film for example, is a bit more tortureous, in part because so many people have a creative and financial interest in the work - the songwriter, the performing artist, the recording musicians, the producer, the label, the distributor, etc. It can get convoluted.

    But it comes back to the same basic question: why should you have any rights to use music I created however you want? If you want music on your YouTube video, either (a) pay me for mine, (b) make it yourself, or (c) hire a musician to make it for you. Don't see how that's all that complicated, folks!

    (Okay, in light of the original article, I can see how it gets complicated if you want to pay me for mine, but that just means that whoever comes up with a simpler payment model will get your business, not that the complication somehow gives you a moral right to steal my work!)

     

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  18.  
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    TheDock22, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 10:41am

    Re: Now look what you made me do

    Thanks for doing to research on that. I was just curious, but now I know, nothing is free in this world! I wonder if the KJ gets mad when people sing the song horribly since they paid for it.

    Oh well, I think if they had a nice easy way for people to pay for songs (like $1.00 to use once in a YouTube video), the recording industry would be surprised at how many people would be willing to do that.

    Most people don't want to break the law, but sometimes it's hard trying to figure out how to not do that.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 12:03pm

    In mother Russia, music licenses YOU!

     

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  20.  
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    Spuds, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 1:27pm

    Here's an idea...

    Why don't we call the RIAA... each of us... and say that we want to buy a license to a certain song.. and make up a use... just say... "YouTube Video" or something...

    And then... when they start talking about blah blah blah you have to blah blah blah...just laugh... and point out all the stupid things we have pointed out here.

    Then tell your friends to do the same thing.

    Just like writing letters to government officials, phone calls can serve the same purpose to tell an organization how stupid they are.

     

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  21.  
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    Gerd Leonhard, Aug 15th, 2007 @ 5:52pm

    This is a big paradigm shift for rights holders -

    This is the thing: music publishers and record labels used to make money by keeping their licenses and permissions SCARCE - simply because they could. No record without a record store, no major hits without major moguls. Now, the 'people formerly known as consumers' have found myriads of ways to circumvent the control, and to assert the power of their click-streams. This means, among many other things, that now the 1000s of social networks and video sharing sites are becoming THE major new platform for the discovery of music - like Radio used to be. And a refusal to license the use of music, in whatever 'non-commercial / personal' form a user desires, will be fruitless. Granted, there is no precedent to this, and it kills the moral rights etc etc, but publishers need to ask themselves: do I want to PARTICIPATE in the revenues or hunt after literally millions of inadvertent infringers. Read more at www.muserati.com -- and if you are into music widgets check out my company www.sonific.com

     

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  22.  
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    MTurner00, Aug 25th, 2007 @ 1:23pm

    demo videos?

    So what if I want to make a demo video for my martial arts club (which is a non-profit entity) and post it on our website. I do not plan to sell copies of it, and we do not make money off more people coming to class (we charge dues, but it is to cover the expenses of the club ONLY). Do I need a license????

     

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  23.  
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    babybunnie, Oct 28th, 2007 @ 11:07am

    royalties

    these artist make enough money as well as the Song, BMG, and all these other companies..they dont need any more money. They are just greedy.

     

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  24.  
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    DigitalBrian, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 7:44pm

    Karaoke on YouTube

    If the musicians dont want people to sing karaoke to their songs then dont freaking publish it as a Karaoke track! pisses me off!

    Not all songs are available as karaoke and most of the available ones has crappy instruments so it would not be worth paying for the rights anyways.

     

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  25.  
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    steveking, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 2:03am

    YouTubeRobot.com today announces YouTube Robot 2.0, a tool that enables you to download video from YouTube.com onto your PC, convert it to various formats to watch it when you are on the road on mobile devices like mobile phone, iPod, iPhone, Pocket PC, PSP, or Zune.

    YouTube Robot allows you to search for videos using keywords or browse video by category, author, channel, language, tags, etc. When you find something noteworthy, you can preview the video right in YouTube Robot and then download it onto the hard disk drive. The speed, at which you will be downloading, is very high: up to 5 times faster than other software when you download a single file and up to 4 times faster when you download multiple files at a time.

    Manual download is not the only option with YouTube Robot. You may as well schedule the download and conversion tasks to be executed automatically, even when you are not around. Downloading is followed by conversion to the format of your choice and uploading videos to a mobile device (if needed). For example, you can plug in iPod, select the video, go to bed, and when you wake up next morning, your iPod will be ready to play new YouTube videos.

    Product page: http://www.youtuberobot.com
    Direct download link: http://www.youtuberobot.com/download/utuberobot.exe
    Company web-site: http://www.youtuberobot.com
    E-mail: support@youtuberobot.com

     

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  26.  
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    AudioMicro, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 10:39am

    if you need legal music for your videos, it's rather easy to license music for your videos at a library like AudioMicro (http://www.AudioMicro.com) and the prices are as little as $1 per minute and the content comes from award winning composers around the world

     

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  27.  
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    ekuzl11, Dec 27th, 2008 @ 3:00pm

    That's pretty stupid.

    I think that we shouldn't have to pay royalties to companies as long as we're not making money off of it. People can easily go on any filesharing site and upload the songs on their videos and not make money, but I don't see a reason they should get mad at people if they're not losing money on it. In fact, they should pay you if you use their music under their terms.

     

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  28.  
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    mike3, Feb 2nd, 2009 @ 4:32pm

    Controlling the culture.

    "In other words, even if people did want to properly license the music playing in their background while making a home video of their toddler dancing, it's probably not even possible."

    And that's how they want it. The goal isn't just to "get money", they goal is to CONTROL the culture, to PREVENT people from using things, to just turn people into dumb mindless consumers that do nothing but consume the material and use it in one way and one way ONLY. And finally they put the licensing fees and royalties up to silly amounts to clinch the matter.

     

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  29.  
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    Chris Marx, Feb 6th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    Licensing a DVD

    I've been searching for the past 5 days how to get the licensing. I've even paid a few online lawyers who still don't have a good answer that has helped me get authorization.

    I'm trying to license Elton John's Your Song... and really can't find any instructions anywhere.

    The process is really messed up.

     

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  30.  
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    background music at JewelBeat (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 11:17pm

    Re: Agreed

    i know we are a little late for you but for those out there in the present whose creativity are dampened by legalities, do look out for royalty free music as they are affordable and most clear you completely to use with no other extra fees. Alternatively search for free royalty free music. http://www.jewelbeat.com/ where I am attached with has over 500 and counting free music and effects to help you start out.

     

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  31.  
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    Fallon, Mar 24th, 2012 @ 1:52pm

    Re:

    Good Eye to catch that. Very Interesting. Sure that it was not by accident (talk about things that make you go hummm)

     

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  32.  
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    Galen Driver, May 23rd, 2012 @ 3:50pm

    Music Licensing Made Easy!

    www.Audiosocket.com is a great alternative if you need original music for you video easily and cheap. Just as this article points out, it can be a headache trying to figure it all out yourself. Audiosocket offers Music as a Service (MaaS) and is pretty much an itunes of music licensing. Check them out.

     

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