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Royalty Free Music > Music News > Royalty Free Music News: Copyright Law and YouTube

November 15th, 2006

Time Warner recently announced that it would pursue copyright complaints against YouTube, citing the rampant usa of copyright-protected movie and music clips in the content featured on the site. Although the intention of most YouTube content creators is simply to share funny videos with their friends, major music labels clearly do not want the average Joe using their music in a video he plans to post on YouTube.

Royalty free music and royalty free images are an excellent alternative to expensive production music, background music and video and film footage provided by major music providers because they allow the opportunity for professionals across industries to pay a one-time, affordable fee for unlimited use of royalty free music and royalty free images purchased with no further obligation. Many major music providers expect professionals to pay on-going monthly fees simply to use tracks of production music and background music and such an arrangement can be a challenge or even an impossibility for those on a strict budget hoping to create high quality video, television and film projects. Royalty free music provides flexibility and reputable royalty free music companies such as RoyaltyFreeMusic.com makes it simple for those to finish important projects. However, the Internet has brought forth many new opportunities when it comes to downloadable music and video resources.

In the past few years, YouTube.com has become one of the most popular services to provide interactive video, film and television clips complete with and production music and background music. Still, there has been some controversy surrounding this site because of the complexity of copyright laws and their implications in the ever-evolving Internet world. Conscientious professionals and others aware of the high penalties associated with copyright infringement might wonder, "How is YouTube.com legal?"

Copyright law is a type of protection given to authors, artists, composers, musicians and others producing works deemed "original works of authorship." This includes dramatic, literary, musical, artistic and some other types of intellectual properties. Royalty free music and royalty free images take care of copyright fees upfront by charging a buyout fee to use works for a lifetime. However, items on YouTube.com are often clips from major motion pictures, television programs and videos that feature background music and production music with rights owned by artists throughout the world, creating a complex site that is free of free of charge to those that use it.

Founded in February 2005 by three employees of PayPal, YouTube.com uses Adobe Flash technology to show video and is one of the fastest-growing websites on the Internet, offering clips that are viewed approximately 100 million times daily, with an additional 65,000 new videos uploaded every 24 hours. The content of YouTube includes movie and television clips as well as amateur content, such as home videos and homemade music videos. Because of new technologies, those viewing content on the YouTube.com website can, as of August 2005, watch video clips with high quality production music and background music directly on the site instead of downloading it and using valuable computer space.

YouTube policy forbids anyone not permitted by U.S. Copyright Law to upload content and often will remove offending items. Still, a great deal of content that infringes on copyright law is still uploaded. Because of the great deal of traffic on the popular website, many times copyright holders cannot keep up with reporting illegal videos, background music and production music and YouTube finds problems through self-policing tactics within the ever-growing YouTube community.

YouTube.com has had some problems with content complying with Copyright Law since its inception, and it continues to refine its policies to keep it free and avoid penalties for the website or for those using it. NBC and other major networks have asked that some of its copyrighted content, like clips from the popular television variety show Saturday Night Live and the Olympics. Most of the infringement occurred because of Copyright Law and the limitations it puts on the length of video and television clips that can be offered without penalty to the public. With the exception of content submitted via a special Director Program for original amateur filmmakers, video clips on YouTube that come from motion pictures, professional videos and are limited to ten minutes, well below the Copyright Law-established length of 10:58. While this has helped protect YouTube from many problems with copyright law infringement, savvy uploaders have managed to get around this rule by splitting clips up into smaller segments that fall below the ten-minute limit.

Recently, networks such as CBS and even NBC have started to work with YouTube and realize that web-goers will continue to be able to find ways around Copyright Law nd have also recognized that YouTube exposure, as popular as the site has become could actually be good for exposure. Major music companies such as EMI and Warner Music have followed suit and decided to offer music videos and other content as part of a partnership with YouTube.

Copyright issues not withstanding, YouTube is an efficient way for producers to get video content out in the world. Recently Google purchased the company and will be competing with major players in the industry such as iTunes and Yahoo.

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