Today’s post is about the use of music created by others that is available online to download. As an author and a composer myself, I am very aware of copyright law. This post is to say “thanks for the music”, Scott Holmes.
The Copyright Law in the United States and other countries is designed to protect the rights of artists, musicians, authors, and others who “create” intellectual property. The first congress of the United States created the copyright provision of the Constitution in 1790. It has been amended and added to since then to keep up with the changing ways that intellectual property is created, stored, and sold. As an easy example, there were no digital tape recorders in 1790, so copyright law has been amended to included digitally recorded music.
Copyright Law works like this – when anyone buys a recording of a piece of music or pays for a ticket and goes to a concert or performance, a portion of the price they paid gets returned to the creators of that music or concert or performance. Composers, authors, and publishers grant a “license” to those who use their intellectual property. There are organizations such as ASCAP and BMI that track performances, collect royalty payments, and then pay out those royalty payments to composers, authors, and publishers. That is how composers and authors are paid.
The Law also applies to content manufactured digitally, such as software, CDs, DVDs of film and so forth.
It is a source of untold disappointment for me that children in this world are not taught this information in schools. In fact, there is a section of Copyright Law called “Fair Use” which states that a certain percent of a copyrighted work can be used and reproduced for educational purposes. This section of the law is so broadly used in our educational systems that I feel most teachers and educational institutions are not even aware that they are taking advantage of that section of the law when they quote books, or make copies of music for use in their classrooms. Just because the Fair Use section exists, does not mean children should not be educated about the fact that the reason they CAN make copies is because of the Fair Use section of Copyright Law. Most children go through school thinking they can make copies of anything at any time.
If one reproduces music, digital files, or produces a play without permission from the creator of that intellectual content, they are in violation of Copyright Law. There are strict fines that can be posed upon violators for breaking this law.
Above is a very brief discussion of Copyright Law and how it is used and misused out of ignorance.
As stated earlier, this post is to say “Thanks for the Music”. The reason for this statement is because I just finished creating a training webinar to be disseminated for free, online, to Support Groups for stroke, TBI, and other brain injuries. I found some motivational music online. Then, I contacted the composer, Scott Holmes, and asked his permission to use it as part of my project. He responded to my email request within 24 hours and gave me written permission to use his music. So as part of the agreement with him, I am to give him credit for his work in this manner:
- “Motivation” by Scott Holmes
This notification appears on the webinar itself. I am also posting that notification in this post to simply show how easy it is to be in compliance with Copyright Law.
In addition, I have created this entire post to make others who “use” music they download freely, without compensating or acknowledging the composers aware of two things:
- It can be easy to contact a composer or creator of intellectual property and ask permission.
- It is easy and quick to give notification of the license to use that intellectual property.
One last comment on my part, do you like to get paid when you go to work? Do you like your salary check every two weeks, or whenever it comes? So do composers, authors and publishers. THINK about what you are doing when you download music, files, and other intellectual property. It’s called theft.
Also, please note the copyright notification at the bottom of this post.
For more information about my book, “Don’t Stop the Music: Finding the Joy in Caregiving”, see my personal website at
Nancy is on Twitter @wecknan
© 2017 Nancy Weckwerth
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