I've been reading through a lot of copyright related posts, but have yet to see the exact answer I'm looking for:

I'm shooting and cutting an aerial videography reel for a local contracting company. It will be posted on their website as used to display what sorts of projects they've recently finished. I have done plenty of work for others but it's generally very platonic, and the media that I've done only really ends up on YouTube. This will be my first gig where I'm officially "employed" by a company, and I want to use music that won't get either of us sued.

As far as I can tell, Creative Commons allows commercial use as long as commercial use isn't explicitly prohibited. For example: I usually browse the CC tracks from smaller, upcoming artists on SoundCloud to find something that I can use without worry. Is my assumption correct? This sample reel won't be "sold" like a film or aired on television, etc. It will only remain on their site.

3 Answers 3


There are 6 types of Creative Commons licenses listed on this Web page:


The most liberal license would be the one that only requires attribution:


If a person only specifies that they're releasing their work under "Creative Commons", to me that is ambiguous to the point of being useless information, considering that there are 6 types of licenses, and some of them forbid commercial use.


Just be sure to conform to what is specified by the licence, and you will be fine.

So obviously any Non Commercial license (NC) will not work for you. The "Share-Alike" one may be one to avoid--I don't know how 'viral' it is. If you put a (CC) (SA) song in a video, does that mean the video also has to be (CC) (SA)? At the very least, talk to a lawyer about it. So that leaves the By Attribution (BY). That's easy, you jsut need to specify "Music by Foo Such and Such" and you're fine.

Also, ping the artist who's work you are using, and let them know! They will quite likely be excited.


I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that with CC licenses, as long as the licence doesn't specify share-alike or non-commercial, you would even be fine to use it in a screening that you charged for.

Non-commercial prohibits ALL commercial use, so if it has an NC tag on it, you can't use it.

If it has an SA (Share alike) tag on it, they you must license your derivative work under the same CC license type.

In all cases, attribution is required, so you must mention who the music is by in some way (such as credits at the end).

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