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I have recently created an animation/parody of famous song and have added about an 8 second clip of the song as the background audio for my animation. However, I would like to post the animation (with background audio) to Instagram and YouTube but have heard that because I am using some of the original song that this could infringe on the copyright and I could potentially be sued. Is this true? Is there any way I could post the animation (with the song clip) without infringing on the copyright laws?

Just to clarify, I will not be making any money from the animation/video as I will not be advertising on it, etc. Does that change this situation?

Thanks for any helpful advice.

  • Thanks for this. I'll read through it. Do you know if this applies to UK law too? – user7495 Jul 25 '16 at 16:33
  • @user7495 It doesn't. The test in the UK is similar, but with some important difference. – user3851 Jul 25 '16 at 16:38
  • @Dawn Thanks again for your detailed answer. I'll read up on the fair dealing policies to see if my content is acceptable in any of them. Thanks again. – user7495 Jul 25 '16 at 16:59
  • Just a factoid, making money or not doesn't factor into whether or not you're infringing. If you're sued then, and I might be wrong here, your profits could impact the judgement. Generally speaking though, copyright holders seek to recover the amount that they lost due to people getting access for free instead of buying. In other words, assuming you were infringing (an assumption that I wouldn't make for your case) a copyright holder would say that 300 people got access to a song that they charge $1 for so you owe them $300. If you made $500 in the process then you might owe that instead. – Dean MacGregor Jul 25 '16 at 18:52
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The situation you describe could be protected under law.

For details see In the US, when is fair use a defense to copyright infringement?

  • Thanks for your helpful answer. I'll have a look at the other question. Do you know if fair-use is applicable in the UK too? Thanks again. – user7495 Jul 25 '16 at 16:32
  • @user7495 The UK has fair dealing instead of fair use. (UK gov. description). It is also an affirmative defence. It is less permissive than the fair use standard in the US, requiring that the re-use be from one of four categories of use, and then that that use also be fair (this second step roughly follows the US test). – user3851 Jul 25 '16 at 16:33
  • @Dawn - You should post that info as its own answer! (Especially so we can link to it from the tag's "canonical answers.") – feetwet Jul 25 '16 at 16:49
  • @feetwet I probably will :) – user3851 Jul 25 '16 at 16:59

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