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Copyrighted Music in Student’s Film: Legal or Illegal?

Before knowing whether it is legal or illegal we must at first gather knowledge about what exactly copyrighted music is? So, copyright is a protection norm that helps artists to prevent misuse of their artworks. For instance, if a musician has a copyright on his song then it is illegal to use that song without his or the organization’s permission. And if someone is found using the song without permission then he or she may be subjected to penalty or other legal actions may be taken on them, this is how the copyright works.

Now the question comes whether it is legal to use copyrighted music in students’ films or not. Well, the answer is definitely a big “NO” in its first place unless the purpose serves the term “fair use”. Now, you must be getting curious about what is “fair use”? Let’s talk about that. “Fair use” is a condition that allows the use of copyrighted music for free under certain circumstances. If the video in which the music is used is made with an intention to teach, research, review, private study, or report then only the copyrighted music can be used without any legal limitations and for free.

Hence, if a student’s film intends to teach, research, review, or study then only it is legal to use the copyrighted music in their films, otherwise not. So, the filmmaker must be careful while choosing the concept and music whether they both serve the required purpose or not.

Kamalika Sarkar