Facebook and Universal Music Group announced last week a major global licensing agreement. The first of its kind multi-year agreement licneses UMG's copyrighted music across Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus. What this means is that users and content developers working on any of these platforms can use copyrighted material without fear of infringement or any lawsuit.
This is big news for video producers.
Video producers around the world are very familiar with the limitations on using copyrighted material, particularly music. Using a popular or even familiar song is very enticing for video producers. Music in general is very powerful when it comes to video. A song can grab the viewer's attention, enhance the story, or help move the action in a montage. However, if you are planning on publishing your video for people around the world to watch on the internet, you either had to use a rights-free song, or pay to license the song. If you used something rights-free it may not be recognizable, and it may be hard to find just what you are looking for, and licensing music can be very costly and for many video producers is not an option. This left many video producers with something less than ideal. They couldn't use the song they wanted for fear of the audio being stripped away on the video or even worse facing a lawsuit, all while major media companies can afford to shell out for recognizable music and rake in the viewers because of it.
Those days seem like they may be over.
With this deal, if you are producing a video for Facebook, you can now put in a song owned by Universal into your video without fear of retribution and get the benefits of having recognizable music on your video.
This deal is a win-win for Facebook and UMG as it will make the quality of content on the platform better, and will give UMG's music more publicity and use in this space. We'll have to keep an eye on this to see if this becomes a trend (we're hoping it does) and other music companies and social platforms enter deals to free video producers to use copyright protected material.