Let’s Create a Source for Free Royalty-Free Music

Let’s help build a killer index for FREE royalty-free music. Ever search for free music online? How about royalty-free music? It’s hard to find good stuff. Now let’s complicate it further. Free, royalty-free music? Nearly impossible.

But the need is there, and the benefit is high for:

  1. Viewers/listeners: Who can discover new talent, and enjoy videos without hearing the same ridiculous loops from every editing software package.
  2. Video creators: Who can stick to what they do best, but create better videos with the help of talented usicians.
  3. Musicians: Who can gain exposure from the large audiences of video creators. What a great way to market your work. If I was a musician, I’d certainly offer a few songs for free (in exchange for credit), and I’d market myself to popular video creators in hope that they’d use my tunes and credit me. I do this often, but it helps when musicians are aggressive (and talented).

Kevin MacLeod, the infamous talent behind Incompetech.com, has changed YouTube forever by offering his music for free AND royalty-free use. That means we “partners” can use it without fear of the copyright police. We want to use good music (not just our own attempts to score via Garageband or other layman tools.

Offering free music, of course, is a generous gesture by MacLeod and others, but also a brilliant marketing strategy. As I’ve written before, I’ve commissioned custom music from MacLeod to thank him… and he was fair on price, excellent in quality, and extremely fast in turnaround. It put MacLeod on the map, and is a smart strategy for any talented musician looking for fast and free exposure.

Kevin’s friend Frank Nora is offering HOURS of his music without any cost and for royalty free use. He doesn’t ask for credit, which makes me want to credit him even more! Kevin has a few other friends who have taken his approach to marketing their talent. I hope to include their websites to this post.

Are you aware of other musicians who offer their music for free? Let’s create a one-stop showcase for them, and see if we can push it up on Google for searches for “royalty-free free music” or “free royalty-free music.” If it already exists, please let me know!

Currently Google searches like those yield a lot of websites that promise it, but are actually selling really cheesy, outdated collections of canned gunk. The kind of thing that is almost bad enough for a parody of a corporate video, but not quite bad enough.

Thanks musicians! Thanks video creators that help publicize these talented musicians and make videos that are more fun to watch. And thanks to you WillVideoForFood peeps that can help make it easier to find ’em.

You Tube – Clean Up or Censorship?

hot off the press…

A YouTube for All of Us
As a community, we have come to count on each other to be entertained, challenged, and moved by what we watch and share on YouTube. We’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make the collective YouTube experience even better, particularly on our most visited pages. Our goal is to help ensure that you’re viewing content that’s relevant to you, and not inadvertently coming across content that isn’t. Here are a few things we came up with:

* Stricter standard for mature content – While videos featuring pornographic images or sex acts are always removed from the site when they’re flagged, we’re tightening the standard for what is considered “sexually suggestive.” Videos with sexually suggestive (but not prohibited) content will be age-restricted, which means they’ll be available only to viewers who are 18 or older. To learn more about what constitutes “sexually suggestive” content, click here.

* Demotion of sexually suggestive content and profanity – Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our ‘Most Viewed,’ ‘Top Favorited,’ and other browse pages. The classification of these types of videos is based on a number of factors, including video content and descriptions. In testing, we’ve found that out of the thousands of videos on these pages, only several each day are automatically demoted for being too graphic or explicit. However, those videos are often the ones which end up being repeatedly flagged by the community as being inappropriate.

* Improved thumbnails – To make sure your thumbnail represents your video, your choices will now be selected algorithmically. You’ll still have three thumbnails to choose from, but they will no longer be auto-generated from the 25/50/75 points in the video index.

* More accurate video information – Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited folks from attempting to game view counts by entering misleading information in video descriptions, tags, titles, and other metadata. We remain serious about enforcing these rules. Remember, violations of these guidelines could result in removal of your video and repeated violations will lead to termination of your account.

The preservation and improvement of the YouTube experience is a responsibility we share. Let’s work together to ensure that the YouTube community continues to thrive as a positive place for all of us.

The YouTube Team

Brief Editorial:
by Zack Scott

1. Why should videos be demoted on profanity alone? Why not just hide them for people not logged in and are 18 or older?

2. Some of YouTube‘s most popular stars…Bo Burnham, Charles Trippy, sXePhil, Chris Crocker, Mark Day, etc…(name as many as you want) all have used profanity.

3. The new thumbnail idea sucks. Now what if none of the thumbnails are good?

4. YouTube sometimes features videos with profanity.


OK, now I finally understand YouTube’s “Stricter standard for mature content”

“Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our ‘Most Viewed,’ ‘Top Favorited,’ and other browse pages.”

They must not like sXePhil.

What’s Better than Free AND Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects?

What’s better than my previous list of free and royalty-free music and sound effects? A longer list, which includes video effects too! Thanks to you, we’ve got a few new ones to share. Let me remind you that I’m tagging this entry “hellen keller” so we can all find it easily later using the Orb of Knowledge we call Google. I’ll use fuzzy pickle too, since that’s even more memorable. So search willvideoforfood, hellen, keller, fuzzy, pickle. Or come to willvideoforfood and search those terms.

not obsessiveOr bookmark these links if you’re one of those hyper organized, early potty trained middle children… who pretends to exert futile control over the universe by keeping everything in its perfect place… And can’t relax when there’s a tissue on the floor. My wife, Jo, and babysitterofnalts fall into this category, and I’m deeply grateful for their OCD. When I need to find a triple A battery, I check one of the ziplock bags and save myself 20 minutes of whining, only to end up at Radio Shack buying another pack. What? This is a friggin’ blog. I can meander. It’s not like you have anything else to do right now.

Let’s clarify the difference between free and royalty-free:

  1. Free means you can download the music without paying the artist.
  2. Royalty-free means you can have perpetual commercial use without having an issue down the road. This is far more important, because if you use copyrighted music and don’t have a Creative Commons (see “more” below for a quick explanation of this) or royalty-free agreement than you’re breaking the law. That can get you booted from websites, restrict the use of your contents upstream (like television), and get you sued.
  3. Free AND royalty-free is rare, but some amateurs aren’t interested in commercializing their work or simply want to market it. Let me know if you’ve found definitive sites for these people. There’s a desperate need for a nice exchange between well-known video creators and hungry musicians looking for exposure.

mullet bandNote that $10-$30 per song is a fair price for good music that brings a video to life and isn’t used on 100s of other videos. I’ve spent more than $500 buying every GarageBand loop CD (try Mixcraft and Beatcraft if you’re not an “out of the closet” Mac user yet). So I can compose my own music fairly easily (to time with my edited video, retain control of how it sounds, and live in the bliss of of being above copyright infringement.

I’ve yet to buy a canned collection of music because many are too expensive (hundreds of dollars) or simply too cheesy. And most of our videos won’t earn even the $20 price on YouTube. It’s like buying $20 lemons to make $10 at a lemonaid stand. Not good bid-ness unless you have a big hit, monetize it in other ways or have a rich aunt.

Now onto your contributions (and I’ll add to these if you send more). I’m especially interested in finding more individuals like Kevin MacLeod that offer some of their music for easy and free download, and without royalties. If you’re a musician and you’re not signed, I’d strongly suggest you do this to select pieces. Once you do this, you can’t exactly revoke that permission (I don’t know if this would effect a record label’s interest in picking you up). But it’s excellent marketing.

FindSounds: This is a delightful search engine that serves up a simple interface for finding, sampling and downloading sound effects. And it’s free to use. BUT if you want to be safe, you need to find the original source and read the terms of use.

SmartAssMusic: Not free, but royalty free. Limited selection and confusing navigation bar, but a few really professional pieces for a decent price (around $20). There are a few free ones, but you need to register and credit the site. More importantly, these free ones are not for commercial use (so buy if you’re a YouTube partner).

Detonation Films: Ever wonder where Davideo gets his explosions when he doesn’t feel like making them himself? Here’s the site. But you’ll need to know how to overlay these on your footage, which is too much for my caveman brain.

Continue reading “What’s Better than Free AND Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects?”

What’s “Fair Use” in Online Video?

Copyright Law is probably the most misunderstood of all law pertaining to copyrights. I wrote that myself.

So it helps to get some guidance from Mark Levy, who specializes in intellectual property law, and wrote a piece on “What’s Legal: Producer’s Rights” in a recent issue of VideoMaker.

The least you need to know:

  • Copyright law protects you as a video creator, and gives you the right to authorize (or not) your stuff for reproduction, derivative works and distribution for sale or rental.
  • Fair use allows users to copy portions off a work for purposes of illustration or commentary. Journalist can quote speeches, but courts consider four factors to determine the fine line between fair use and copyright infringement:
  1. The nature of the work: If it’s factural not creative, it’s more likely to pass.
  2. Purpose: commercial or non-profit has obvious implications.
  3. Amount and substantiality of excerpted work. The more you use, the greater the risk. TheStranger can probably use my image in this “Undies” award promotion. But the jackass that keeps ripping popular YouTube videos, posting it on their own channel, and linking to their stupid website? YouTube seems to be policing that well.
  4. Potential effect on the value or potential market of the original work.

Be careful out there, kiddo.

Entries to the “Piss Off Lane Hartwell” Video Contest

Below are some video montages that will soon get removed by YouTube, resulting from the inevitable DMCA notices that Wired freelance photographer Lane Hartwell will send (when she’s finished wrapping presents and invoicing strangers).

Per my earlier post, Hartmwell took action against The Ricter Scales for using a second of her photo in their “Here Comes Another Bubble.”

Copyright protection for artists? I’m all about that. But this isn’t a big corporation monetizing a starving artist without permission. This is accomplished photographer kicking the crotch of struggling amateur a Capella group that finally got some attention and made virtually nothing from it.

Hartman has the audacity to:

  • demand YouTube remove the video
  • hire an attorney
  • and invoice the struggling musicians because her lousy, stinking photo appears for a second in a video that made the group no money.

So here are some links to Lane Hartwell music videos (none of which are mine, so send your invoices somewhere else, honey) using her photos without copyright permission.

And yes I encouraged it in my video, now titled “Wired Freelancer Picks on Struggling A Capella Singers.” Check out the more than 200 comments for an interesting debate (it’s one of the top-10 “most discussed” YouTube videos in news and politics).

So sue me, Hartwell. Well, actually don’t.

P.S. Doesn’t Wired have a PR person that can reign this gal in?

Here Comes Another DMCA Whiner

Lane Wants Her MoneyI try to be fairly objective on this blog, but I really have no sympathy for whining photographers that hire attorneys because their photos appear for a second in a popular YouTube video. The photographers, like the writers striking, are under the delusion that they’re being deprived of their rightful income. The reality is that there is no damned income.

It’s like a feuding family competing for the box of molded National Geographic magazines their dead father left behind.

Background: “Here Comes Another Bubble,” by “The Richter Scales,” is a case study in copyright lunacy. The penniless a Capella singers stitched their song to random photos they found on the web… because a YouTube music video with a black screen (or worse yet, facially-challenged a Capella singers) just wouldn’t have been as viral. They received no advertising revenue because they weren’t yet in YouTube’s partner’s program (if they were, they would have known the risk, because YouTube puts us through a daunting meeting with an attorney before we get into the program).

Along comes photographer Lane Hartwell (whose image above is used without her permission) and sends YouTube a DMCA notice because she finds one of her photos in the montage.

  • Explains Richter Scales: “when Lane emailed us shortly after the video was released, we immediately gave her a credit, with a link, in the “About This Video” section on YouTube, but weren’t able to assess whether that was sufficient because Lane wouldn’t talk to us via phone and didn’t respond to our emails with any requests or proposals before she issued the DMCA take-down request.”
  • Fartwell’s attorney claims The Richter Scales were cavalier, and Hartwell herself said: “the band opted not to work with me toward a fair resolution of the issue. I have to say that I’m very disappointed with the members of the band I negotiated with in good faith.”
  • This appears to be a divided issue, but isn’t it amazing how radically different these accounts are of what happened before the DMCA notice was filed by Hartwell?

Lane’s attorney friend is sympathetic but acknowledges she has little legal recourse. So what it this about? Standing for principals or fame whoring? I’ve got my theory. (Parenthetically, here’s an article on this subject from Wired, but don’t expect objectivity since Fartwell contributes to the publication).

Now this stupid thing is a debate of magnitude proportions:

How about you photographers save your energy for when someone is actually making money on your images instead of doing it on principle? Or find a way to put your talents to making your own profit, instead of whining when someone else uses your photos to not make money. There’s no mistaking that the a Capella group violated Hartwell’s copyright, but it’s not like they were out selling her framed photos to line their limos with puppy fur… they didn’t make any money directly from the viral video, and to date have sold a few of their legacy music CDs that don’t even contain the “Here Comes Another Bubble” song.

Here’s the essence of the problem. It’s a good motive gone perverse. Photographers, video creators and a Capella singers are all in the same boat. We’re artists who are not generally making significant dollars via our passion, and so we want to preserve our rights. But do we chase each other down for our fair share of dink, or find ways to collaborate and monetize?

My videos are constantly ripped and posted. Sometimes I’ll alert YouTube, but I usually consider it free advertising. The only time I ever took objection is when someone posted my “Bored at the Mall” on Break.com and made profit from it as it hit ~1.5 million views. But I didn’t go on a witch hunt and didn’t expect to get a dime.

If creators instead invest the time they spend whining about copyrights in promoting their work and monetizing it, things will change. And the only ones who will suffer in that scenario are ambulance-chasing copyright attorneys.

Thanks to NewTeeVee for getting me all riled up before my second cup of coffee. By way of disclaimer, I have no relationship with The Richter Scales and I’m a strong believer in artist rights — hence my passion for models like Revver. But I have zero tolerance for unreasonable behavior like this.

Hey, Lane. If you’ll drop this, I will personally send you a check for their entire proceeds of 8 CDs. But if not, please have fun filing DMCA notices against those strangers that participate in my “Lane Hartwell Video Collage contestusing your Flickr photos (See my video rant).

TechCrunch Steals from My Little Blog

Here at WillVideoforFood, there is nothing we love more than when one of our posts gets linked to and talked about. And like the majority of other blogs out there, we try to be good citizens by linking back to any source from which we excerpt. But there is a growing minority of spam blogs, or splogs, that indiscriminately take entire posts from other blogs and present them as their own.

For example, here is a screen shot from one random splog that just reposts WillVideoForFood’s entire feed with no links back to WillVideoforfood or even acknowledgement of the source.

techcrunch stole my baby

Just for the record, taking any blog’s entire feed and republishing it as your own content is not okay. Notice that the only difference between this splog (I think it’s called TechCrunch) and WillVideoForFood is all the Google ads splattered everywhere.

We are not alone in this. Any blog that produces fresh content on a daily basis is an easy target. Google makes it economical to create such splogs through AdSense and then rewards them with traffic through its search engine. Google (and the other search engines) need to stop rewarding such behavior. Oh, by the way.

I have to tell you this is a joke or else someone will take this seriously, right? I’ve just ripped all this copy from TechCrunch and pretended it was my own. Just lil’ old David blog tossing a few McNuggets at the Golliath blog. Maybe the folks at TC (think “The online Oprahs of technology”) will find me and write about my exclusive footage of the Google Dream Phone. I think it’s worthy of a TechCrunch post. Don’t you? Heck- they can even steal my post about it.

Amateur’s Counter-Notification on Viacom Results in Clip Returning

Remember that YouTube yanked Christopher Knight’s clip because Viacom complained? Well it’s back. Here’s the note he got from YouTube.

Dear Kwerky,

In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we’ve completed
processing your counter-notification dated x/xx/xx regarding your video


This content has been restored and your account will not be penalized.


The YouTube Team

Clearly it was a result of my “Viacom is a Bully” video. 🙂

Viacom is a Big, Mean Bully

(This is my video rant on this subject)

Note to public relations professions everywhere. Don’t let your company turn into the poster child for copyright insanity. In one of the more tasteless moves yet, the company used an independent film maker’s video on its hopelessly unfunny Web Junk 2.0 show without permission. Then when the creator posted the evidence, Viacom had it removed. Read about it directly from the creator by visiting The Knight Shift by Christopher Knight. Thanks to Mike Abundo from InsideVideo for bringing this to my radar.

Says Knight: “So Viacom took a video that I had made for non-profit purposes and without trying to acquire my permission, used it in a for-profit broadcast. And then when I made a YouTube clip of what they did with my material, they charged me with copyright infringement and had YouTube pull the clip.”

Lately it seems television has been asking my permission more frequently than not. I used to get messages from people saying they’d seen my videos on television, and that’d be news to me. Video fans are amazing infringement police!

I really wanted to give Viacom the benefit of the doubt here, but now believe this stunt was premeditated. Knight wrote about being on VH1 back in early July (see post). Any half brained intern hired by Viacom would have found this post using Google alerts. So Knight made it quite easy for Viacom to find out he posted an excerpt of the show. I am guessing he even tagged the video on YouTube with words like VH1, Web, junk, Viacom. Then again, I made it kinda easy for ’em to find this parody I did on the circular garbage a while back. Be sure to rollover that link and read the tag.

So what should have Viacom done?

  • First, it certainly has rights to object if Knight, you or I grab a piece of its lousy television and post it illegally on YouTube.
  • However Knight too has cause to object to having been used on his show (which he didn’t when he first announced his discovery of Viacom’s theft).
  • Proper etiquette would be for Viacom to permit Knight’s posting of its show given that it would appear hypocritical to pull the video… having been guilty of the same offense.