Online Video, Podcasting & Copyrights

So I was pondering some copyright issues. With the proliferation of user-created content there is all sorts of potential copyright infringement going on. The most obvious use (or misuse) seems to be music. So if I’ve got a podcast and I want to play a U2 song to open it, can I do that? Or do I need to track down the appropriate permissions or pay for the appropriate licenses? Or is that only necessary if I’m making money off the podcast? Same goes for online video. Let’s say I make a video of my daughter, and run a song in the background. Do I need permissions or liceneses for that? Does it matter if it’s for personal use or if I put it online? Does it matter if I’m making money it?

And it seems like everybody’s doing it. That doesn’t make it OK, but it does mean there’s a need for some helpful answers.

But I can never find those answers–at least not basic answers. Creative Commons has a Podcasting Legal Guide that may have the answer, but I got lost and bored before I found it.

So does anybody have the answer? Or are all the podcasters and online video people just infringing left and right and inviting lawsuits?

One thought on “Online Video, Podcasting & Copyrights”

  1. I’m not a podcaster or a lawyer, but I’ve heard some of the other big-name podcasters talk about this issue, and from what I understand, you’re technically supposed to have a license or you technically can get sued, or, more likely, a cease and desist order. Fair use is dying in this country.

    That said, if you’re Joe Bob Podcaster and only 5 people listen to your podcast, the odds of you drawing attention to what you’re doing are minimal. And you’re much more likely to get in trouble if you’re podcast is “Here are songs I really like. I will play them in their entirety for you. I’ll even tell you how to split up this podcast into separate MP3s for each song I play.” – That’s an extreme example, but you get the idea.

    I would say that if you want to be completely legit, you find creative commons music – there’s a big site out there with a ton of fair use music on it, but alas, I can’t remember the exact URL. If you want to rip from a band that is on a major label, you probably want to at least find a song by a band a lot more obscure than U2.

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