Music and the Internet

After Pornography and this year’s election cycle, I can’t think of a topic that generates more controversy than music on the Internet. While I am not a composer, my older brother is so I learned the in’s and out’s of Copyright a long time ago. When I started writing, I found out generally the same rules applied to my writing creations. Barring fair use provisions, with proper citation, you should ask me permission before copying any of my writing for use somewhere else.

Let’s get back to music. Tradition held for a while that some of the major music download sites existed under the vague gray area veil of “Fair Use”. While that lasted for a while, the major organizations that protect artists finally got irritated enough to let lawsuits fly. They managed to take down a couple of large file sharing sites, but at the same time they managed to tick off a lot of music fans.

I’m old enough to remember when Radio Stations and record shops were the only two real sources of music unless you went to a concert. So, if you wanted a free copy of anything, you had to copy someone else’s record or tape or try to make a recording off the radio. Luckily, I had a radio with a built in cassette recorder, so a simple push of the record button and I was in business. I not only recorded music, I recorded some of the old radio shows being broadcasted and many of the “Larry King” interviews when he had his late night show on the “Mutual Broadcasting System.”

Fast forward to the Internet. When designing web sites, I often get requests to add music to sites. I have to explain, to legally do this requires more hoops than it is worth to jump through, unless they have produced their own original music production and not just done a “cover” of someone else’s copyrighted work. While this breaks some of the enthusiasm, it saves both the client and I a truck load of hassle.

Now all this being said, if you really want to include music in your site, you can do it illegally, or you can check YOUTUBE and see if something is there in Video/Music and either link to it or EMBED it in your site. Understand! This is illegal too, but if you want to take the risk, then you can give it a shot. One technical problem you will encounter with this is of YOUTUBE Zaps that particular video; you end up with a dead link or a lousy looking dead embed box on your site.

Keep something else in mind, if you place music directly on your site in a sound file, that adds a huge load to the file size. Video is even worse. So, if you do want to add these things to your site, host them somewhere else and link to them or embed them. That way the bandwidth load goes against the other site and not yours. If you read my article about YouTube you will see where I linked to several files. I could have also embedded any of them in the blog.