The short answer is, "Yes." Copyright laws exist to protect the rights of the artist by ensuring that nobody can profit from, distribute, or otherwise use someone else's music, without first receiving proper permission. Crediting the artist is simply not enough. Rather, before using such content to advance your own agenda, permission must be granted from copyright holders (note: these are not always the actual artists). Multiple people or entities-songwriters, producers, record labels, or private estates-may hold the rights to any given recording.
So, proceed with caution. Penalties for copyright infringement can be severe. At a minimum, those who are guilty of violating copyright law will see their content blocked from view until it is altogether removed from the public eye. Transgressors can also be issued fines totaling as much as $250,000. Further, violators can even be sued by the copyright owners. If any money was made from illegal use of copyrighted material, owners may be entitled to damages. People can even spend five years in jail for violating the laws, depending on the severity of the infringement!
That said, there are still legal options available when it comes to using music in videos published on the web. The newest option is a free service provided by YouTube, called AudioSwap. YouTube users can employ the new feature to integrate audio into their videos by selecting from a catalog of popular songs that are licensed for use. If a user wishes to venture outside of the pre-approved list, stock and royalty-free audio may also be purchased from a variety of online sources, usually as part of a subscription or for a nominal fee.
If you have further questions about how to produce legal, compelling videos for the web, contact Gearshift at 877-477-STUDIO. We are a DC video production company with years of experience in producing original, creative videos, which aid businesses with their online marketing ventures.