The Basics Of Copyright

13th July 2016 No comments

Disclaimer: We are not legal professionals. This is not professional advice about legal matters or legal guidance. This is just a summary of our understanding of the law. If you need legal help, please reach out to a properly trained and certified advisor.

Copyright is a legal mechanism for protecting the ownership of intellectual property such as images and music. In the UK, copyright is granted on an original piece of work the moment it’s created. So if you take a photo or write a song, you own the copyright on that photo or song immediately if everything in that photograph or song is your own, original piece of work. From the moment it’s created it’s your property to do with as you please. This is great for producers of content as it stops other people from stealing their work… in theory.

In the creative realm, copyright can apply to things such as logos, names, slogans, music, photos, videos, and artwork.

it’s fair to say that most people tend to have a layman’s understanding of this due to the big cases that make it into the news – like when large music and movie pirating websites are brought down. It’s highly unlikely that there are many people out there who would deliberately upload a feature film to their YouTube channel and not be aware that they could get in trouble for it. Likewise, it’s fairly common knowledge that people shouldn’t download music illegally.

Where things get confusing for some people is, what happens when you’ve purchased a copyrighted work, such as a song, legally?

Using copyrighted material (like a pop song) in your own creations (like a corporate video)

Some people think that buying a song gives them the right to use it how they wish. This isn’t the case. When you buy a song you’re buying a copy that you can play for your own leisure in private. The same is true if you buy a film or TV show. The moment you share or distribute that music, you’ve breached the copyright of the artist who created it. You could do this by including it in a video, but even playing the song to an audience or in your workplace without a license can result in fines.

Thankfully getting a PRS or PPL license to play music or having the radio on in your place of work is quite straight forward and fairly inexpensive, but sadly this isn’t the case for using commercial music in your videos. For most small businesses, using commercial music in your videos is out of the question.

But don’t despair – this doesn’t mean you can’t use any music at all! When we produce a video we tap into a wide pool of stock music that can be licensed relatively affordably, specifically for use in your project. In fact, in most cases it’s so cheap to do this that we include the cost of a stock music track in our already-low editing rates. This way your can have a high quality soundtrack that’s appropriate for your brand and your message without having to worry about breaking any copyright laws.

Additionally, we can also source any stock footage or photos that you may need to compliment you project too – because no, you can’t use that picture you found on Google Images without permission, sadly!

How copyright protects you

I’m sure you’re thinking that this whole copyright thing is a pain in the neck. Well, it can be, but you have to remember that most artists make their money exclusively from licensing their works. Be they musicians, painters, photographers or something else, if their work used for free, they’re losing out on revenue. You wouldn’t be happy if people stole your products or expected you to work for free either.

But it’s not only these artists that benefit from copyright. If you release a video showcasing your business, products or services, you’re protected in case someone decides to pinch your video and use it for their own purposes. It gives you the ability to take legal action against them for unauthorised use of your content.

All in all, copyright is a great thing. It means that everyone who works hard on developing an original piece of work can be rewarded for their efforts.

There’s much more to it than what we’ve gone into in this blog, but if you’d like more information you can always leave a comment or get in touch. Just remember, we’re not legal professionals and if you have a specific copyright issue, it’s best to take it to someone with some kind of law degree.

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