How Can I Use Copyrighted Music in my Videos?

Tricky Legal Stuff Again

I’ve just finished Mark Levy’s very informative article, What’s Legal, in the January issue of Videomaker. My “masterpieces” are travel vignettes that benefit greatly from the use of familiar music. I show them in my living room, and I give copies to my travel companions. Friends often suggest that I enter them into contests. Trying to obtain permission is incredibly complex, and the same video with royalty-free music simply doesn’t have the same impact.

I would love to read more articles by Mr. Levy, perhaps expanding his discussion of “Fair Use” into application of that concept to not-for-profit festival entries. His remarks about using That’s Amore were intriguing…don’t we actually create a market by introducing Dean Martin’s material to new generations of fans? Here’s an idea…perhaps you could invite Mr. Levy to participate in a Videomaker Presents vidcast.

George Henderson

San Diego, CA

Nice idea about getting Mark Levy on the vidcast. Meanwhile, Fair Use, Copyright, and other related intellectual property issues are hot topics, and we will follow up on this confusing subject.

Compelling and Genuine

What a coincidence that I should pick up the April edition of your magazine where three key words, “compelling, authentic, and genuine,” stood out when I read your editorial, Why are Docs So Compelling?

Having conducted over 200 interviews with senior citizens in Bermuda, I had just completed transferring them from VHS to DVD. On a recent shoot, in consultation with a friend, he noticed a pattern, which led to the completion of Five Profiles in Harmony, a documentary about five senior retired musicians who live in Warwick Parish. Slated to release in May, those three words were exactly what I was looking for to capture their tears, laughter and joy. Thank you for giving me the impetus to not only continue to film but to look for more patterns to produce materials that will be “compelling, authentic and genuine.”

Dale Butler, J.P.M.P.


Learning New Tricks

I am a retired ex-BBC and London Weekend Television sound supervisor, with studio production experience going back to 1955 at BBC in London.

My wife and I retired to Burlington, North Carolina, three years ago, and since subscribing to your magazine, I have graduated from a Canon Z100 consumer camcorder to Panasonic’s PV-GS400 and your highly rated Panasonic AG-DVX100B. I edit with Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0. The music I use is from my own compositions.

Our community has about 600 residents in Independent Living and Assisted Living and HealthCare, and I volunteer to make video DVDs of our events. Entertainers who volunteer their programs are given two free DVDs, and I recover a small portion of the cost by selling copies to residents for $5.00.

Videomaker is a continual source of useful information that I look forward to each month. I have shot 14 short videos of life at Twin Lakes that are appearing on YouTube. (Search for britishjohn to view them.) At the age of 71, I have the temerity to suggest that life can be very rewarding.

John Cannon

Burlington, NC

Pro Tricks with Consumer Gear

Over the past 5 years I’ve learned a lot from your articles. I found quite a few tips related to shooting on a budget, mastering camcorder controls and clever editing. Thanks, Videomaker!

You’ve mentioned Dreamer – The Movie, a feature-length movie shot entirely on consumer video equipment by George Johnson. I found the Web site, bought the DVD and watched the movie. I’m impressed. An entire collection of good video techniques (as mentioned in your articles) in action! I forgot this was shot on Mini DV. The scene where Kevin holds an old bulky VHS camcorder to shoot and meets a reporter with a nice broadcast cam was hilarious.

Narcis Anghel

Longmont, CO

Tricks from VM Presents

My mother got a new camcorder for the holidays, but hadn’t used it yet until this weekend. She wanted to videotape my brother’s band playing at a fundraiser benefit. I suggested she go online to Videomaker‘s Web site to watch the Tips & Tricks segment and the timing was perfect, as your host had some great handheld tips that my mother was able to use. Thanks, we’ll keep watching!

Florence J.Young

Colusa, CA


In our June 2007 issue, we inadvertently stated an incorrect price and URL in our review of the Roland R4 Pro. The Roland R4 Pro is $2,395 and the URL is

Also, there is a correction for our review of the Gateway FX530 Workstation. This system indeed ships with video editing software (Windows Movie Maker), and Vista’s User Account Control setting is set to “On” when shipped. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

– The Editors

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

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