Music and Copyright

By Autumn R. Neal

I thought the Edgar Snow Project intro video would be more interesting with an audio track of traditional or semi-traditional Chinese music so I’ve been looking for some recently. In Digital History last semester we learned that you can’t use just any audio track even if you give the author credit. I’ll try to explain it, but I am not an expert in this area so bear with me. The majority of music, photos, films, and any other created products are under copyright. If you want to use them you have to purchase a license which can cost a ton of money.

Foto3Foto4However, there is an organization called Creative Commons which allows people to create and share their digital products under their own terms. Some of these items can’t be used for commercial means unless you purchase a license, but some can be used as long as you don’t build upon them (using audio in a video with scrolling images would be considered building upon them) and others can be used, edited, and built upon in any way as long as you credit the original author. There are a lot of sites with CC music, but you’ll have to sort through a lot of tracks in search of the perfect one. If you’re interested in reading more about copyright, check out my blog post “No One Can Do to Disney, Inc. What Walt Disney Did to the Brothers Grimm”.

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