Someone up there clearly loves music and is busy creating an awesome band. David Bowie, the Eagles’ Glenn Frey and Lemmy from Motorhead have all died in the last few weeks. Their passing has reminded us of what great music they made, and also means Tallboy has seen a flurry of our clients wanting to use their songs in their own corporate videos.

Music copyright is a complicated area. With so much available on YouTube, you might be forgiven in thinking that all music is OK to use. But the key question to ask when using music is how is the creator of that music being recompensed?

If you chose a One Direction track as your music for your corporate video, then someone watching it on your website could take the song and either listen to it again or use it for something else. One Direction won’t get any money is that happens – so effectively their creativity goes unrewarded.

Put simply, in intellectual property law, the copyright belongs to the creator. In sound recording, generally the copyright lasts for 70 years from when the recording was first published. There are several people who benefit from that protection – the composer, the performer – even the session musicians have some protection. We did say this was complicated!

Once the copyright has expired, the music is said to be in the public domain – so many great pieces of classical music are out of copyright and therefore free to use. However, as explained above, while there should no fees for the creator of the work, there are still performers rights to be considered – and they will need remuneration.

Corporate video production prices

The best solution for a corporate video is to use royalty free music. Just be aware – royalty free doesn’t mean free – you still do have to pay a licence fee. But it’s affordable and takes care of all the legal responsibilities while ensuring the composer is still rewarded.

In law, there’s a vital difference between sharing and stealing music. It’s acceptable to share your favourite One Direction song by posting a link – the artist still retains the digital copy of the performance and therefore can be rewarded if it’s viewed. Stealing is using the track without paying for it and creating another digital link – such as your corporate video. Ensure you remain on the right side of the law – even if money is too tight to mention.

Please note: This blog does not intend to be a comprehensive guide to copyright law, and it is advised to consult a lawyer for specific details.