Stock Photos and Royalty Free music

Royalty Free Stock Photos at Good photos, low prices.

Other good sources include the Zemanta plugin in WordPress that tries to fetch public domain photos for use on your blog. I only use them for non-commercial purposes as many of them go back to Flickr or Wikipedia and other public sources.

For music, check out Incompetech.  Free for personal, non-commercial use – although I have donated to him as donations are certainly encouraged.

Separately, I posted a civil war battle re-enactment video on Youtube last night and shortly thereafter received a Youtube email saying that my video may violate a Sony music copyright.  All videos on Youtube are automatically scanned by a pattern matcher that looks to see if copyrighted music is in your video.

A problem I have noted in the past is that this cannot distinguish between legitimate, even licensed use of music. In my case, they objected to the use of Taps, music written by a bugler and a General during the U.S. Civil War in about 1862, to honor the death of soldiers. By about 1871, Taps had become standard at military funerals and was formerly established as a standard in 1891. My recording came from the United States Army. I am having a hard time seeing how Sony has a copyright on a US Army performance of a Civil War era piece of music and have submitted this to Youtube’s dispute resolution.

Here is the video – a 2005 re-enactment of a Civil War battle:

That video was shot originally in SD and even a little bit in digital 8 or Hi8 analog formats – I no longer remember. I remastered the video yesterday to take advantage of technology improvements available since 2005. This included color adjustments, slight sharpening, new titles, and eventually output of the 720×480 original video in 1440×960 size before uploading to Youtube. The result, surprisingly, is a video that looks much better than SD – its not HD, of course but it really does look a lot better. Watch it full screen!

Meanwhile, I am just starting to edit the 2011 battle re-enactment. I will be using almost exclusively, video shot on a GH-2, a bit on a Canon SX-1, and only a little on the XH A1 video camera. That latter is because I made a stupid boo boo and did not get the quality I wanted on the video images. Unlike past years, which are all edited on Final Cut Pro, this year’s is being edited using Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 11. Vegas does native AVCHD video editing, as well as Canon’s H.264 native format, and handles HDV – all without doing format conversions. I do not know when I will finish this as other things are a higher priority on my time.

2 thoughts on “Stock Photos and Royalty Free music”

  1. I think YouTube has to have that copyrighted music scanner because of litigation issues. Did you file the “fair use” claim? I’ve had to do that with videos which only include a very small portion of a copyrighted song. It’s a good exercise in thinking about and practicing the fair use defense for copyright infringement. I’ve tried to make copyright guidelines for students as simple and clear as possible in an eBook I’m just finishing, and have shared the copyright chapter online:

    I think it’s valuable for people to experience this “defend your use of copyrighted media” process with YouTube since it highlights the fair use defense so well and makes us think carefully about how we’re incorporating others’ media in our own work.

    1. Hi Wesley,
      Yes, I did file a dispute and Youtube did agree with me and removed their copyright claim against the video.

      Amusingly, Taps was created by a buglar and a general in about 1862, became the standard Army funeral music in about 1871, and by about 1891, was adopted as the standard by all US military branches. The version I used was performed by a US Army buglar (in the credits). I thought it was amusing for a Sony Music copyright claim!

      As we both realize, the automated system at Youtube cannot distinguish between fair use, licensed use, or even use of music for which there are versions free of copyright claims.


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