Thursday, August 26, 2010

What you need to know about copying or editing someone else’s music

You might find yourself editing music and wondering, am I allowed to do this? Whether you’re making your own music mashup with the MixPad multi-track mixer, adding a soundtrack to your home videos with VideoPad video editor, or making a new ringtone for your phone with WavePad audio editor, there are some rules you need to know about your music, and how you’re allowed to use it.

What’s mine isn’t yours and what’s yours isn’t mine
What you need to know about copying or editing someone else’s musicThat is the legal stance as far as copying or editing someone else’s music is concerned. With the increased popularity of the MP3 music format in the late 1990s, the sharing of copy written music without authorization became much more prevalent, causing an increase in concerns about copyright infringement. Today, copyright infringement isn’t something to take lightly. If you’re caught copying or editing someone else’s work you may be forced to pay heavy fines. Just ask former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum - he had to pay $675,000 in fines for illegally downloading music.

Copying Music
According to The Copyright Act of 1976, you are allowed to copy someone else’s work if it falls under fair use. Fair use is described as using limited portions of a work, including quotes, comments, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports.

Editing Music
Since it is legal to create software to edit music, shouldn’t editing music be legal? There is a lot of talk about reselling and downloading copyrighted music, but not too much about edited music. The most important thing to know is you can edit music as long as you do not intend to use it for commercial use. Also, once you purchase music you inherit the rights to share that music with your friends, and you are also allowed to edit that music as long as you keep a copy of the original.

For more information see the following articles:
Using Edited Music on YouTube
For quite some time now, posting copyrighted or edited music to original videos on YouTube has been a problem. However, as of June anyone who wishes to put music behind their videos can, you just have to follow these simple rules. First, it is important to know that YouTube has signed a deal with Rumblefish, allowing users access to a library of music. Therefore, if you use music from this library you can edit it any way you like without worrying about YouTube removing your video. All you have to do is purchase the song for $1.99 and you will have a lifetime license to use and edit that song on YouTube.

Basic things to remember
  1. Always purchase music legally either at a music store or online
  2. If it’s not your original music, using it may be violating someone’s copyright
  3. If you aren't sure something is copy written, check with the US Copyright Office
  4. Selling or redistributing music without the copyright owners permission is a violation of the owner's rights
  5. If you edit or mix song you’ve purchased, you have to keep a copy of the original song
  6. Only the owner of copy written work has the right to prepare or authorize someone else to create a new version of that work
  7. When using someone else’s work, even just a portion of it for a video or any other project, it is always a good idea to credit the original artist(s)


  1. These all basic things for editing the music is really great to share in all these there are so many things which is really great. Some of them which i like the most such as Selling or redistributing music without the copyright owners permission is a violation of the owner's rights.

  2. It always bugs me when I read, "Just follow the common sense rules of the road and you will be fine," as if we are born with common sense.

    Uh, common sense is learned! Post the darn rules!
    This is great thanks. Think I'll use some of it. With quotes and who wrote it and a link back of course. :p

  3. But does customizing someone else's song illegal, even if in particularly, the editor plans to use the customized music, ONLY TO SELF? Since after all, while the editor is not publicizing it, or sharing with others and thus, don't even receive credit for it... The editor STILL ADMITS TO SELF- the joy they created. So does the joy the editor gets from it alone, make it illegal copyright? Since after all, it was with the help of an entirely different music designer who would never know the very music they designed was redesigned by another individual without notice and the editor now enjoys a song they redesigned that was originally designed by an entirely different individual who would never receive notice that the very song they designed was edited by another individual? I repeated it so then both ends of the list of details for sure meet into a clear fact in the question.


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