Still confused about music

barnacle's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 09/21/2011 - 11:41pm

 It still is not clear about royalty free music.  If I pay and download some royalty free music, can I attach the music and post on YouTube?  What if I attach the music to a video and burn it to a DVD for someone.  Do they then "own" the music and can they upload to YouTube?  I just don't want anyone to suffer a lawsuit.

Kenkyusha's picture
Last seen: 4 years 6 months ago
Joined: 09/22/2011 - 6:46pm

When you purchase royalty-free music, you are paying to use that material (usually with some stipulations, like, you may use it e.g. broadcast, internet, etc., but can't resell the collection).  Just because someone buys a finished project from you doesn't automatically entitle them to use of the assets- if that were the case, you would 'lose' control of your own video everytime you sell a DVD or someone views your work online.

It's easiest to think of it not as 'owning' the music, but having a license to use it.  Unless it's under Creative Commons, songs require acquiring the license from each and every user to keep it above board.  HTH.

birdcat's picture
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am

Everyone has an End User License Agreement (EULA) which spells out (usually) clearly just how you may use any product (royalty free or not, music, graphics, footage, etc...).

Most rf music EULA's allow you to use the music in a compilation (video or sometimes audio) and distribute that compilation to a limited audience (e.g. if you were doing a TV show with an expected audience of > one million sets, you may need additional licensing). In no case have I ever seen the right to distribute the music alone.

Also be aware not all music used in video is rf - there are other forms of "rights managed" music (such as needle drop).

Also, depending on where you show your work, you may need to provide a cue sheet - which for some venues tells them (not you!) who owns the rights to the music and in some cases (like TV or movies) whom they (not you!) have to pay.

Confused?? Join the club!

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions

barnacle's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 09/21/2011 - 11:41pm

 It almost sounds like most of the videos I view on YouTube or Vimeo are illegal.  Would that be a fair guess?

Brian's picture
Last seen: 5 years 1 month ago
Joined: 12/29/2010 - 9:00pm

Bill, not sure about Vimeo's policy (and they might be similar to YouTube), but usually if YouTube is made aware of a copyright violation, they remove the video from public view and allow the owner to change out the music. They have a library of free-to-use music that one can drop in. This is made up of songs that certain artists have allowed to be used. The "fair use" concept also comes into play when dealing with certain types of video projects that are made for different reasons (parody, educational, etc.). It also may be that the artist or record label doesn't really mind that their intellectual property is being used, and appreciates the publicity.

When I was deployed to Kosovo, we produced several video montages (aka "Hooah videos") featuring footage and photos of Soldiers doing their jobs. One video included "He's a Pirate" from Pirates of the Caribbean, and the other was Toby Keith's "American Soldier." They weren't done for profit, or used to sell anything. But guess which one got pulled...? Hint: Disney guards their intellectual property like Fort Knox.

barnacle's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 09/21/2011 - 11:41pm

 After checking, YouTube offers free music with apparently no strings attached.

I think Vimeo does too but not sure.  I guess I will upload my videos to YouTube

and use their enhancement feature to select and add their music.

Thanks to all who responded.

manuelpeace's picture
Last seen: 5 years 6 months ago
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 3:01pm

Hello Bill,

You will not "Own" the music in order to upload with your video in Youtube.

You are buying the right of use the music with your video on youtube or in other places. Also you have to careful because many pages of royalty free music don't allow monetization programs on youtube...

Good luck !


H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Far as Royalty free music goes; when you purchase a collection of music under the Royalty free license, you may use it in any of your productions in an unlimited amount personally or commercially. You can not; repackage and resell the collection in any manner. If you sell a finished production containing said music, the production's purchaser pays for the right for that music to be included in that production. They cannot legally 'lift' tracks of music containing any elements of the royalty-free music to reuse or repurpose in another production. They can however, purchase the same collection on their own and have the same license for use as you do.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc.

Dan O'Connor's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 08/03/2009 - 12:12am

Every royalty free music library has a different license.


Some have limitations, others do not. You need to read carefully.


Some even require you to still file cue sheets for PRO royalties, so the music is only sync royalty free. 


That is why I use the standard creative commons attribution license or a small donation to waive attribution. 


Since the creative commons license is standardized, people know what they are getting.


Dan-O FREE Royalty Free Music Producer