Music in online challenges

I intend to take part in Online Challenges next year with my VEX Robotics Competition team, but I have a few questions about the music used in videos.

I have read the description of the challenges and saw this rule on music used in the videos:

What music is counted as being “in the public domain”?, and how would I find this music?

Also, if a song isn’t in the public domain, but there is a cover done by team members, or other students at the school, can it still be used?

Hi Riley, we’re happy to hear you will be participating in the Online Challenges next season, as they are an excellent way to engage your creative side beyond the playing field.

The rule for using public domain music is to prevent legal issues with copyright infringement. I see you are in the UK, and your music laws are a bit different than here in the States, so let me explain for both countries. In the US, any musical works published before 1922, in addition to those voluntarily placed in public domain, exist in the public domain. In most other countries, music generally enters the public domain in a period of fifty to seventy-five years after the artists’ death. Public domain music is also referred to as “Royalty free.”

The website http://www.pdinfo.com/ contains information about International copyright law, as well as a list of available songs and where to find them. You can also do a google search for “how do I find music in the public domain?” and get extensive results to help you.

If the students are creating an original piece of music (not covering an existing tune or including samples from existing pieces, but have composed an entirely custom piece of music), they do not have to publish it under a public use license, and it is legal to use in your Online Challenge entries. Be sure to acknowledge who created it and that you have permission to use it.

If the students are covering an existing song, as you asked in your question, you can use the cover song only if you include proper copyright information in the credits for your Online Challenge entry. Place the following in the song credits if you rerecorded or performed a cover version, also known as a remake, of a copyrighted song:
[SONG TITLE]
Written by [songwriters/composers]
Published by [publishing company/musical work copyright claimant]

Great question, and good luck next year!