As we get more and more vloggers amongst our Chroniclers, it has become important to clarify the laws regarding music usage in videos. Please note that these are not some rules Fantasy Faire has set, these are actual international laws that we are committed to follow, and ask you to do so as well.
Most of the music that you’d recognize and might be tempted to use is usually illegal to use, at least for free. This might get you in trouble, or get your videos taken down for example in Youtube. We are naturally against this kind of usage since it is illegal.
We also want to snip in the bud the often repeated concept that you can use any copyrighted music if it’s only up to 30 seconds in length. This is not true. So called Fair Use of such music is only legally permissible when the resulting material is “for a limited and ‘transformative’ purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work.” So a big no for using a snippet of a famous song as background music.
The terms to keep an eye on are Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Royalty Free. Public Domain means the music is free and does not require any extra steps from you, Creative Commons often requires that you credit the music correctly, and Royalty Free means you pay a subscription fee and have a collection of music at your disposal.
When searching for free music it is good to stay critical, because there are many tracks tagged as PD or CC although they are not Public Domain nor Creative Commons. It is best to find a reliable resource to use.
I asked for resource site recommendations from our resident Fairelands Bard, Zander Greene, and he forwarded these suggestions:
If you are looking for free music to use as background for your videos, this article is an excellent starting point: Royalty Free Background Music It has a list of good resource sites that offer free music, and definitely worth a look.
A source recommendation for Royalty Free music is Storyblocks. You need to pay a subscription fee, but the music tends to be much better than fully free Public Domain or Creative Commons.
Another site recommendation is Free Sound. They focus mostly on sounds, not so much music, but that can be surprisingly useful for videos. Plenty of sounds are Creative Commons, but also Attribution (meaning you have to credit them), or Attribution-Non-Commercial, which of course means that in addition to credits you cannot use it in anything you would profit from.
A special Faire-related note that covers of course all of Faire, not just the music: just because something is used for a charity-purpose does not come with any additional legal right to use someone else’s intellectual property.