Making a video yourself can be a fun task, but it is almost always time consuming and hard. A way we find of cutting corners is by using music, images, and video that other people have created to bring up the quality. People are already familiar with it so it can be easier to relate to, and it is also usually much better quality than the music, images and video that we try to create ourselves. As we have the great ideas of how to use other people’s media in our own, it’s easy to overlook the copyright attached. I reckon mostly we just don’t think of it! The difficult news is that all music, images, and video have copyright attached simply because it is the work of the creator. Mainstream works (like a hollywood film) are often tied up with a whole range of people, and so copyright is handled by a distributor. So, this means we cannot just use whatever we want in our own videos. Below are some of the intricacies about the use of the different mediums.
But what if I own the music?
When you buy a CD or mp3, you then have the right to play it as you like for personal use. You are even able to change its format and store it on different devices (eg computer and ipod – believe it or not, this was only made legal a few years ago). However, you are not allowed to freely distribute it – so giving a copy to a friend, or sharing it on the internet, or even playing it in an open public setting without permission (see FEVA document for use in church). You are also not allowed to change it without permission. This happens when you add a music track to video – it becomes a different medium. By connecting it with the video, you have changed what the music will mean.
This means that legally you are not able to use mainstream music in a video you put together for church unless you are able to get permission from the distributor (though this usually involves a substantial cost).
But what if I credit them?
This doesn’t make a difference. It’s actually the wrong way of looking at it. The credits are there to show what is going on legally – a requirement of the permission already attained. It’s very loosely like how just doing good things doesn’t get you right with God; instead, Christians do good things because they’re right with God through Jesus.
This leads into my hot tip though: a good way to work out whether you can use music/video/images in a video or not is to again ask if you could honestly put a credit at the end for the music/video/image with its creator saying ‘Used with permission‘. Placing this kind of credit at the end is a good practice anyway as it acknowledges the creators work, keeps you accountable, and helps the viewers to recognise that there are legal obligations. Maybe if more of us did this, it would help others to be more aware of how they use other people’s media.
There are also LOTS of resources available that you can use with permission for video, music, and images. So check them out. You’ll notice a lot of images on this site from these kind of resources, and a lot of music in my videos.