COPYRIGHTED MATERIALS GUIDELINES
Including music, images and other audiovisual content can add a spark to your video...but you must follow the rules!
Math Video Challenge teams can add music, videos, sound effects, images and any other audiovisual materials to their video, but that content must:
- be entirely original, created and performed by the members of the team, or
- be an original performance of works that are in the public domain, or
- allow royalty-free use of the material with no restrictions.
- Think about the original source of the material you want to use. If it came from a TV show, movie, or musical album is it probably NOT eligible for use in the Math Video Challenge.
- Anyone can upload music and video YouTube, and this can make it very hard to determine if the content was uploaded from the original author or someone else. We strongly recommend avoiding content from YouTube because the license information provided by the uploader may not be correct.
When in doubt, ask!
Yes, this matters a lot! Just because a song is in the public domain does not mean that every performance of that song is. For example, you and your teammates are allowed to perform “Jingle Bells” yourselves and include that recording in your video. But you cannot play a version of “Jingle Bells” by Frank Sinatra or the cast of Glee because both of those versions have their own copyright protections. If you want to use a song in the public domain, but not perform it yourselves, you’ll need to find a version that is either royalty-free or released under a Creative Commons Attribution license (see below).
Sometimes an original author will decide not to copyright his/her work or will allow other people to use it on a “royalty-free” basis. In these cases, anyone can use their content without any restrictions. An example of royalty-free music would be some of the content included in iMovie software.
No. The Fair Use Copyright Doctrine allows people legally to use copyrighted material without getting permission from the person who owns the copyright. Fair use is often cited to allow material to be used for educational purposes. The rules of the Math Video Challenge do not allow participants to use content under fair use.
Creative Commons licenses were created as a way to allow original authors of content to keep their copyright but still share their work with other people in some ways. The Creative Commons Attribution license allows you to use a particular work as long as you credit the original author. You can use these types of images, songs and videos in your video, but you must credit the original author correctly; (the site where you got your music should indicate what to write for the credit). Learn more about these licenses here.
No. Only some songs are released under the Creative Commons Attribution license. Crediting the original author is not enough for many songs. For example, no matter how you credit her, you are not allowed to use “...Ready For It?” by Taylor Swift in your Math Video Challenge video because that song is not released under a Creative Commons Attribution license.
Buying a song legally does not mean you own the song or its copyright. When you purchase a song, essentially you’re buying the license to listen to that song at any time. Even though you are allowed to listen to a song that you’ve purchased as often as you want, you cannot use it in your video.
Unless the song you are planning to use is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license without restrictions, simply crediting the original author is not enough. Stick to music that is completely royalty-free or music that is released under the Creative Commons Attribution license with no other restrictions.
The Math Video Challenge is an educational program. Why can't I use this song that is royalty-free for educational purposes?
Even though the Math Video Challenge is an educational program, the videos created are not solely for educational purposes because participants can win prizes (gift cards, scholarships, etc.) that have monetary value.
Although the version I chose was performed by someone else, the song itself is in the public domain. Why I can't I use it?
Even though a song is in the public domain, a particular performance of that song can still have its own copyright. So it would be fine if you and your team members wanted to perform a song in the public domain yourselves, but if you want to use someone else’s recording of that public domain song, then that version must follow the same contest rules for audiovisual content just like any other song.
I saw another team's video on the Math Video Challenge archive that uses a copyrighted song. Why can't my team use a copyrighted song, too?
A video can be included in the video archive even if the team that created it was disqualified. This is one of the reasons each team must have an adult team advisor who reviews the video before it is posted. Breaking the contest rules will result in disqualification, meaning your team cannot advance or win any prizes.