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Controlling out of control copyrights

Any video editor knows how difficult it can be to find images or music that you actually have the rights to use when budgets are low. If you’re not careful of what you source, you’ll get stuck with an annoying and expensive lawsuit. While there are protective provisions for good honest fair use, they are hindered when individuals and video hosting sites get skiddish about avoiding the possibility of time in court. It’s hard to blame them.

We currently live in a society where copyrights often wear out their welcome; inhibiting rather than encouraging creativity. For example, you might find it hard to believe that in America’s infancy, there was a time where copyrights would last a maximum of 28 years. Today mostly due to lobbying by media giants, that number can be as high as an entire 70 years after the original creator passes away.

Enter the Creative Commons

For this reason, I really admire those that make it a point to contribute to the Creative Commons, and restore some balance to the collective knowledge that is available to build upon. For those that don’t already know, the organization offers a handy search tool that makes it much easier to find media that can be used in either commercial or noncommercial projects.

My personal favorite in this search is Pixabay, because everything they feature is no-strings-attached public domain. While it is important to give credit where it is due, we all know there are a bunch of situations where the format doesn’t make it practical. I also like their very active screening process to maintain quality and filter out the noise in searches.

I’d also like to mention a few other creative commons resources that aren’t featured there but have proven invaluable to me when having to edit videos on the cheap:

Incompetec.com – music
Freesoud,org
– sound effects

**I’d like to grow this list, so if anyone knows any free resources that are unquestionably awesome, let me know in the comments.**

Contributing is easier than you think

I’m no photographer and am always busy aspiring in my video endeavors, but I have started uploading to Pixabay because there are a lot of glaring gaps in public domain images can be filled with relatively little effort. It won’t compete with the mastery of high end photography, but will be very useful to anyone in a pinch. Here is an example of some useful photos I submitted taking just 5 minutes away from an unexpected accident while preparing dinner.

[ To enable the Pixabay Images Gallery, you must obtain an API key from Pixabay and enter it in the plugin's settings. ]

I know, instead of reaching for a band-aid I decide to grab my camera. I’m weird like that ­čśë

Final thoughts on copyright

We all tend to ignore copyright law as it currently stands as a necessary inconvenience, but I’d like to challenge this idea. As an artist, I understand the need to provide incentives for creativity, but when movies from the silent film era haven’t even reached public domain, you know something is wrong.