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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    3

    Default Using Copyrighted Music on College Social Media

    Hi all,

    Have two questions related to Fair Use:

    1) I'm the social media manager for a College. I have a professor in a media department making 15 second short videos and uploading them to Twitter/Instagram. The video is created in house, but he's using copyrighted POP/RP/Hip-Hop music as the backing track to these shorts.

    Some of these videos are produced by the Professor to promote his department, some are shot by his students and then the professor uploads them to the Instagram/Twitter account.

    I would like your opinions as to whether this is violating Fair Use or not:

    To me, we are at best in a legal "grey" area - when it is on social media, it is no longer "educational", it has become commercial/promotional. The usage isn't a substantial part BUT I know there's no "minimum" usage. The music is a creative work. It hasn't been substantially changed. And finally the artist is probably losing money from the fact we haven't paid for a license to use the music.

    The Professor has assured me he's spoken to IP lawyers and "contacts" at ASCAP and they've assured him this usage is permissible, but I'm not really convinced.

    On the question as to whether a copyright holder would care enough to pursue it, and whether they'd seek damages rather than just issue a "take down" is another question, but honestly I don't think the College should be put into that possible situation in the first place.

    Am I over-reacting to this concern? Am I wrong in my understanding?

    2) Second scenario - same Professor(!) - his students have created little 2-5 minute short videos. Again, copyright music is used in the background of these videos. The professor has upload them to YouTube as examples of in-class work at his department. YouTube has already taken down at least one of these videos, and has muted a different one.

    In my understanding, this is not a Fair Use situation since it is now online and is freely available for distribution. If it was only in-class and only the students and the professor had copies, then it would be Fair Use as it would be for the purposes of education and limited distribution. On YouTube is has again become promotional/commercial and is now widely distributed.

    Appreciate any comments and I am happy to clarify anything that I have no made clear.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,901

    Default Re: Using Copyrighted Music on College Social Media

    Colleges/Universities often have blanket performance rights negotatiated with ASCAP, BMI, etc... You should consult your university legal department.
    This does NOT sound like fair use in any form.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Using Copyrighted Music on College Social Media

    Yes, I can safely say we currently have nothing like that, so that's what I figured as far as fair use. Thanks, appreciate your answer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,901

    Default Re: Using Copyrighted Music on College Social Media

    Quote Quoting crizthebard
    View Post
    Yes, I can safely say we currently have nothing like that, so that's what I figured as far as fair use. Thanks, appreciate your answer.
    What makes you think that you have nothing like that in place? Almost every school I've ever been associated with does. You have concerts, bands, etc... show up on campus, a campus radio station, etc... you need to have the PRO license. Check with College legal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Using Copyrighted Music on College Social Media

    We don't have a College legal other than the county attorney. We're a community college, paid performances happen at a local theater, not on campus, we also don't have a college radio station, so I'm pretty certain we do not have a blanket performance license. Wouldn't we need a sync license anyway given it is social media, rather than a "live" or streamed performance?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,901

    Default Re: Using Copyrighted Music on College Social Media

    Then try your county attorney. Websites have been relegated to the PROs under licensing there. Sync rights are needed only if you are putting it as background to a video or movie (or theatrical performance).

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