For our Resurrection Day service, I did a hoopdance to "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me, and other than one slight mishap, all went well.  I got one of the pastor's daughters to record it for me, and here's the video:


The trouble is, because of copyright regs, the video is blocked in some places (in fact, you may be experiencing that now).


Here's my question: What recommendations do you have for music that's good for a contemporary worship dance and won't get blocked by YT because of copyright issues?

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Oh phooey!  I so wanted to see this!  I had wondered several times how it went, but forgot to inquire.  Regarding music, it's a mystery to me.  Sometimes I get notices that I've violated copyright but "no action is required" and I notice they just put a box under and to the right of the video allowing viewers to purchase the music used.  I like that.  It's fair.  But it does totally bum me out to have purchased music which I cannot use.  Yeah, yeah, it's "public performance" and all that, but come on.  I'll be interested in responses from others, too.  It won't be the same, of course, but you can take out the audio portion, substitute some other music, and re-upload. 

Thanks for replying, Vicky.  I know you know my pain... ;)


They did the "buy this song" thing on my video, but it's still being blocked in some places.  It's aggravating, because I bought the CD and used it to do this special; it's not like I downloaded a bootleg copy from Napster or wherever people do that these days. 


I wasn't paid for the "performance," I'm not making a dime off this video, and it's actually giving the CD some publicity, so I don't understand the reasoning behind the whole blocking issue.  Still, my venting about it won't change the situation, so I'm hoping to find some quality music that glorifies God, is hoopable/danceable, and won't incur the wrath of YouTube's copyright bots. 

I DO know that pain, my friend ::rueful smile:: It seems that there needs to be separate categories of public performances.  I know this has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere, but still...

I agree - some copyright holders do distinguish between public performances for profit and those that aren't, but others don't want you doing anything with their music other than listening to it.  And wouldn't you know, most of the music I like to use for church specials falls under that second category.  They're not about to ban me from dancing to it in church, but copyright regs forbid I should broadcast a video of that dance.


Oh, well, fussing about it won't change the record label execs' minds, so I just need to find music I can use without running afoul of regs.

On occasion, I've found that using the karaoke track to a song that would otherwise be blocked is acceptable.  Go figure.  The packaging on vocal tracks says loud and clear that you're not buying public performance rights to the song, but it looks like youtube, et al, may have a sliding scale on that kind of music.

That's an interesting idea.  I'll have to keep it in mind.  Our music minister also does karaoke gigs, weddings, birthday parties, etc., so I might be able to borrow tracks from him.

From what I read yesterday, YouTube is only enforcing the copyrights held by the original owners of the material, not creating their own policies, and my guess is that YT is stringent about enforcing the regs only on behalf those companies who've made a fuss about it (i.e., threatened to sue YouTube and the video poster).  I could be wrong about that, but it seems to be the case from what I've seen and heard.

Ugh that's so annoying.  I wish I knew what their system was, but it seems like the songs that they allow or reject are totally random!  My best advice is to keep trying different songs.  :P

Thanks, Beth.  I ran a search on copyright free Christian music yesterday and came across a couple of sites I'm going to check out. 


For practice, it's no problem - I can use Richie's music or Beats Antique, Rivertribe or FaithMassive.  They're all good hoop music, and I don't run into the copyright issues with them.  But for a special at church, I want to use YouTube-friendly music the congregation will be blessed by, even if they aren't familiar with it.  That means no unusual instrumentals, no electronica, and lyrics that praise God.  Using a hoop in church is odd enough - I don't want the pastor having to field complaints about the music choices I make too. 


Not that I've heard of any complaints from last Sunday's special, but if there have been, it wouldn't be the first time someone's objected to my enthusiastic forms of worship.  That seems to be one of my "callings" - lightning rod. My pastor says God sometimes has to offend our minds to reveal our hearts, and apparently my worship dance gets to be that tool in the Lord's hands.  How blessed I am... ;) 

Sony and Warner Music Group are the ones that usually go after people for posting. Mostly the fight is between the record companies and Youtube. They know the video poster is not making money off of the video, but Youtube has ads on their website, so Youtube is being paid for people to watch your video. Youtube has made a deal with some of the major labels. That's why sometimes you see now the message about a copyright claim, but all they do is put up a link to itunes for purchase. Youtube makes money when someone clicks the link, which they turn around and pay the record company for playing their song. WMG does seem to go after the little guy too, not just Youtube.


The best way to avoid copyright problems are to use music from independent artists. I did my first video to Plumb. I made sure she was independent, but I found out that her music is published by WMG, so they filed a copyright claim. Since they didn't own the music, the audio didn't get stripped though.


The other thing you can try, though it is no guarantee, is to see if there are a lot of videos posted up by individual users (not the record company) with the song that you want to use. Chances are, if the company wanted to block the song, they would have done it on the other videos.


The reason that audio sometimes is blocked in some areas and not others is because copyright law varies from country to country. In the US we supposedly have an exclusion through "fair use," but other countries don't. That's why the US can hear your song, but Brazil can't.


Here's the fair use law:


Sec. 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.


We are actually on the line with our use of songs for hoopdance videos. They are not technically for research, criticism or teaching and we use the whole song. What we do have on our side is that we are not making a profit, although if you have a hoop business and that website is listed on your Youtube account and someone finds you through your video, goes to your website and buys something, technically you are making a profit. I would say that we fall under the transformative work clause (this came from a court ruling and falls under the purpose and character of the work): we take the song and add our own meaning with our hoop dance. I actually was in the clear with the Plumb song I used because I made a remix of a remix. That legally qualifies as a transformative work apparently.


I'm sure all this is clear as mud. I had a great website that explained it all in terms I can understand. If I can find the link again, I'll post it.


I think that the reason that karaoke songs get through okay is because the Youtube program that analyzes your video for copyrighted material does not recognize the song because of the different voicing and instrumentation. I don't know that for sure, it's just a theory.

Great information, CP!  It's in line with what I suspected was the situation.


Interestingly, before I changed the audio track on my ICOI Easter video, I could see and hear the track anywhere (home or work), but my brother, who was in the same house on a different computer, couldn't get the sound.  People in other parts of the US either got video and no audio or were blocked completely.  It's strange; I'd think the same restrictions would apply across the 50 states, not just in some of them.  Since it's my video and I was signed in to my account while watching it, that probably explains why I was never blocked, but it doesn't explain the inconsistent enforcement for other viewers.


Oh well, whatever the situation, I guess we have to do our homework and pick songs that won't get blocked, or substantially alter them in some way (remixes, mashups, stripping out the vocals, etc.).  Of course, those of us who don't do audio are at a disadvantage there, lacking the know-how and equipment/software to make the alterations.  Are there any user-friendly programs (preferably freeware) that let you do that kind of stuff?  If so, what are they and where do I find them?

I used audacity to make my remix. It is a free program. It doesn't have a lot of instruction available because it is free. You can strip vocals using it, but I haven't tried it and don't know how well it works. The youtube identifier program was able still able to identify my remix, but if WMG had stripped my audio, I could have filed a dispute. I think Sound Forge is a program that you can get cheaply. I tried the demo and didn't like it, but I'd already learned Audacity. Since it's paid, it has better help available.
Thanks for the info.  I'll give audacity a try.  If I can figure it out, it will be fun to do my own mashups. :)


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