Content Creation Music Industry / For Artists Music Licensing & Copyright

Copyright can sometimes be a huge hindrance when using music in videos or creative projects. You might find yourself wishing that copyright didn’t exist at all! Well, there is something called Public Domain, which has tracks that have no copyright. So, what is Public Domain music for videos and how does it work? Stick with us to find out!

public domain music for videos what is it how do i find public domain music

What Is Public Domain Music?

There are tracks that are available to use within the public domain. So, what exactly does this mean?

Public domain tracks are pieces that were copyrighted but have since lost their protection. This could be for a range of reasons, such as the age of the track. This means that they are available for anybody to use. However, it’s important to do your research and be 100% sure that they are in the public domain. Finding these tracks won’t be easy, and you need to be completely sure that there will be no copyright infringement on your end.

Can I Use Public Domain Music For Videos?

You can use Public Dmain music for pretty much anything you want! Musical works in the public domain can be copied, distributed, adapted, performed and displayed in public free of charge. Basically, they belong to everybody and can be used in your videos!

Normally, the authors or creators of the songs have exclusive rights to their compositions, also known as ‘intellectual property’. These rights are what we mean when we refer to ‘copyright’.

What If The Author Renounces Copyrights?

This is where it can get a little tricky, but don’t worry, we’ll make sure that it all makes sense.

Let’s take an example in which the author of a registered song voluntarily renounces all copyrights to the song. This should mean that you can use the track in the same way as those in the public domain, right? Sadly not.

This song is actually licensed under the Creative Commons licenses. So, what’s the difference?

Public Domain Vs Creative Commons

public domain vs creative commons music whats the difference

The first difference is that public domain music doesn’t set any limitations on the use of a track. Music protected by a Creative Commons free license, however, has certain limitations. These are around reproduction, distribution and copying of a musical work.

The limitations depend on which of the 7 Creative Commons licenses is in effect. It is the Zero license (CC0) that is often confused with the Public Domain.

Public Domain Vs Creative Commons Zero License

Think of this type of license as a sister to Public Domain music. This license involves the author renouncing his or her rights to make the track available to the public without requiring credit. This is rare, as nowadays, musical works are usually monetized or at least credited. However, this type of Creative Commons license proposes a total renunciation of all that. Sounds the same as Public Domain music, right? Total freedom?

However, the differences are:

  • In the Public Domain, a work becomes available for public use at least 70 years after the death of its author
  • In the Creative Commons Zero license, the author is the one to decide to release his work from the moment of its creation

Where To Find Public Domain Music For Videos

where to find public domain music for videos music licensing creative commons

Firstly, do your research and ensure that you find your Public Domain music from somewhere legitimate. There are several platforms online that you can use, such as Musopen (use this link to find all songs in the Public Domain) or Free PD. You can also use PublicDomain4u which facilitates access to music for educational purposes.

Finally – Audiosocket has a wide selection of Public Domain songs for you to use. Check them out in our playlist!

Final Tips For Using Public Domain Music For Videos

To round off this article, we want to ensure that you feel comfortable using Public Domain music, and give some final tips.

Firstly, make sure your music definitely is in the Public Domain. You can submit your track to Easy Song Licensing to check. They will research the copyright holder for you. Alternatively, you can research yourself. To do this, look up the year the song was published. If it was published before 1925, the song is in the Public Domain. If it isn’t, you can find out who owns the rights with some research, and submit the track to an online resource to double check.

Sounds Like Too Much Effort? Try Audiosocket!

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audiosocket music licensing music library placements HBO amazon hulu

If this all sounds like too much of a headache, you can license tracks quickly and easily with Audiosocket. Starting from just $15 a month, you can have unlimited access to over 85,000 tracks! We will take care of copyright and all the technical stresses. This means you can focus on your project without worrying about whether you have obtained your tracks in the correct way!


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