O.K, let’s clear this up. It’s 2014 and I’m still having animated discussions with marketing and corporate communications professionals about fair use with regard to copyrighted music. There is no “internal use” anymore. Once it gets into your air space it’s on you.
If you use professionally recorded music to score a video or entertain participants at a sales meeting you are putting yourself in jeopardy. The only exception is “buy out” or “royalty free” music that is sold just for that purpose and whose quality and variety has grown over the years. Very well done in my opinion.
If you want to stall your project or event for an eternity, try licensing a popular tune from a successful recording artist.Your attorney will be thrilled as he or she will finally be able to pay off their kid’s student loans. You know what billable hours are, don’t you?
And it’s not just you, I am also culpable because I’m supposed to know better. As a musician myself, I had to pay union dues to BMI and ASCAP to be able to perform covers of other artists over the years. This is serious business.
My job is to make you look your best and give you the best professional advice from my years of experience in content development.
Now, you might have been fortunate over the years to get away with this sort of thing but as you know, nothing is private anymore. More importantly, nothing is free.
Today, you might have to ask yourself “Do I feel lucky?” These huge entities are just dying to make an example of someone and the bigger the better. Ignorance is bliss but it’s no excuse and it won’t save you from litigation. And don’t think your management will say “It’s OK, you didn’t know.” It’s like going off label when the package insert clearly states otherwise. Shame on you!
The takeaway: It is not appropriate to appropriate someone’s art for your own use and entertainment. This has been going on for years and will most likely continue unabated, but there will always be the chance that you will be caught in the net and made an example of.
If you have any questions or have a specific concern, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
It’s time to turn the beat around.