When using music, a photograph or video created by someone else, understand all permissions that are required and make sure to obtain them all. Copyright law requires the permission of the owner for anyone to use, copy, perform, display or modify any work of art. For music, any use requires permission of the creator of the music and the lyricist, but also, permission to use the specific performance. The same person or entity might hold all of those rights and be authorized to grant all permissions, but that is not always the case. For a photograph or video, the photographer or his or her assignee owns the copyright and must give consent. Recognizable people in the picture also have a right of publicity and must consent to their use; however, permission of the people in the photo may not be necessary if they are in a crowd or their consent could be implied. If a photograph includes background art or other creative designs, that too might require permission to use. Think broadly when determining what permissions are needed to use a song, photograph or video.
Ned T. Himmelrich
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