I would like to create a video on my website. My video would contain a six second video clip from a Hank Williams Jr. music video. Do I need permission from the artist for just 6 seconds?
It depends on how long the original video is, but generally a short clip by itself that is around 6 seconds, should be fine under fair use.
Short phrases are usually not protected by Copyright. However, the particular phrase or short segment of a song may have particular recognition making its use, without permission, infringement. See Copyright counsel.
My comments have been made without discussion. An attorney client relationship has not been established. There may be conflicts which prohibit my providing you with specific legal guidance. Any contact with you beyond these few general words will start with a disclosure of opposing parties so that a conflict check can be made. You should discuss with an attorney.
You can't get a "clearance" just because it is only six seconds. There have been cases of music "sampling" that found infringement from only a few notes, although, "sampling" appears factually different from what you propose. There's a pretty good Wikipedia article on "sampling." For you to make "fair use" you need to evaluate (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. 6 seconds might not be a problem for some uses and might be a problem for others.
Lawsuits have involved copying as few as four notes in sequence from “I Love New York” and three consecutive words from “I Got Rhythm.” Even more restrictive fair use standards apply to sound recordings.
In 2005, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that, as to sound recordings, the owner of the sound recording copyright had an exclusive right to grant licenses to sample the recording, and any unauthorized use, no matter how small, constitutes an infringement, and sampling even a fraction of a second of a sound recording is copying of pure, copyrightable expression, constituting copyright infringement. Between 2005 and 2016 the rule as to sound recordings was “get a license or do not sample,” creating a bright line, zero-tolerance “no sampling” standard for sound recordings. But in 2016, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the opposite, finding a 0.23 second sample to be de minimis, meaning insubstantial and unrecognizable to the average juror, and thus “fair use” and non-infringing.
Consult an experienced music copyright attorney with entetainment law background to advise you in how to proceed.
The foregoing is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice in a particular matter or the existence of an attorney-client relationship. All answers ©2017 Greg Victoroff, Inc. No further reproduction or use for any purpose.
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