Sites likecdcover_feature YouTube and Vimeo have given filmmakers the world over the chance to showcase their filmmaking abilities to the masses. But I gotta tell ya folks, there are plenty of you out there that illegally use music in the process. Here’s a few reasons why you should acquire music for your next project ‘legally’.

1. Legal use of music supports musicians. Musicians need to eat too; simple. When you use music legally, musicians get paid for their hard work, they get credited for the world to know about it, and we have an industry that thrives to work another day.

2. Original music makes for a better final product. Music that has been moulded to the needs of a project can far surpass a a track that ‘kinda works’ from your iTunes library. The world is full of excitable composers and musicians who are dying to help filmmakers with their projects. Many of these composers and musicians are quite experienced, and can contribute more to a project than you will ever know.

3. You can sell & distribute your project. If you are lucky enough to have a project that is commercially viable, legally acquired music will allow you to commercially release and distribute your project.

4. The industry will respect you for it. Doing the right thing is what the big boys and girls do.

5. Legal use of music supports musicians. Am I repeating myself?

What constitutes ‘illegal’ use? In most cases, it is the use of music in a distributed project without the consent of the original copyright owner. With music being swapped, downloaded and ripped more and more these days, the temptation to just drop in something into your from your iTunes library can be strong – but unless you have permission, it’s illegal.

Many people think that to use music ‘legally’ means forking out thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars for licensing fees. Sure, if you want to use Massive Attack or AC/DC in your documentary about crab fishing, expect to pay for it. But there are plenty of ways to get music cheaply or for free.

For instance, there are plenty of composers distributing their music on the net, who would be willing to let you use their music (or compose original music) for free or cheaply, if you credit them in your project. Support them and they will support you. Else, there is plenty of music libraries out there where you can license some music quite cheaply. There is even software floating around which automatically score your film for you. Ahh, technology.

Whatever your pleasure, just say ‘no’ to illegal music use! I’m having T-shirts made too.

-s