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What should I know about copyrights?
Copying or using professional music in video productions is prohibited by copyright law unless rights fees have been paid to those who own it.

There are a few organizations that represent, set and collect usage fees for the use of copyrighted music. ASCAP and BMI are the largest. Radio stations pay regular blanket fees to them in order to play music over the air. Film and television companies pay for the right to use specific music selections in their productions.

Of course, these uses are for profit and public viewing. The videos you edit are for your own use. At most, your close friends and relatives might see them. For this reason, it's unlikely you would find the RIAA at your door wanting to collect unpaid fees.

If you plan to sell or publicly display (for a live audience, on home video/DVD or via the Internet) your videos, you'll want to avoid using copyrighted music. There are other options:

Make Your Own Music - If musical talent runs in your genes, compose and perform your own music. You don't owe anyone anything but yourself.

Use Production Music Libraries - This allows you to obtain inexpensive production music that often sounds suspiciously like the mainstream stuff.

There are two options for music libraries: Buyout and "Needle Drop". Buyout music allows you to "buy out" a CD worth of songs that you can use as much as you want. "Needle Drop" music requires you pay a small fee for each use of a particular song. These fees are considerably less than for popular commercial music.

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Some of the tips and advice may void your equipment or service warranty. When in doubt, consult your owners manual and/or seek professional assistance. does not recommend performing any task that may damage your equipment, void your warranty or violate applicable laws. Since laws vary, depending upon your location, check local regulations regarding any activities you choose to engage in.