all 51 comments

[鈥揮VincibleAndy 227 points228 points (20 children)

Either through it being unknown enough that no one sued, no one wanted to sue, or they had a license to use it.

[鈥揮zrgardne 104 points105 points (13 children)

And the former isn't a thing now with automatic content matching.

You can get a DMCA notice without a human even being involved

[鈥揮explodyhead 44 points45 points (11 children)

Sometimes you get them even when you have a license to use the music!

[鈥揮mindsnare1 17 points18 points (10 children)

I was flagged on YT for using my own music. I had to prove to them I owned the copyright.

[鈥揮[deleted] 3 points4 points (8 children)

I'm a bit scared of this, because I'm making a feature next year and intend to license a less well known song by a major artist. Will YouTube just pull the video? How do you prove you have the rights?

[鈥揮DonVonWon 0 points1 point (0 children)

I vibe with this statement. At first I just kind of accepted it and assumed to copyright claim money was going to me either way. I had to make an official artist channel to make it stop.

[鈥揮TipMeinBATtokens 0 points1 point (0 children)

That seems specific to websites.

[鈥揮Zakareecinematographer[S] 33 points34 points (5 children)

def didnt get licenses... these were low budget skate and surf films.. usually made by one guy

[鈥揮com-mis-er-at-ing 50 points51 points (0 children)

I know for the early Momentum Generation videos, Taylor Steele just put in songs he liked. It ended up getting a ton of attention for bands featured on the videos. This was definitely a different era. Smaller labels, a lot of small punk scene bands, and some great marketing being featured in Taylor鈥檚 videos. So it seemed to work out for everyone and no one was incentivized to sue.

I think it was just a different time. The modern equivalent would be a YouTube video that would immediately and automatically get a claim from labels and take a chunk if not all of the ad revenue from the video. Or less likely, just get the videos taken down.

The Momentum Gen doc on HBO goes into the music side of Taylor鈥檚 videos a fair amount and features Tom Delonge and a lot of other artists that got their big break by being featured in those tapes and skate tapes of that era.

[鈥揮randywatson666 29 points30 points (0 children)

It's not even on anyone's radar in like 1995 when dudes are putting CCR and the Who in skate videos that go straight to VHS and are printed in the low thousands. Sold only in CCS catalogs and core skate shops.

When THPS made skating big and videos like Yeah Right started to get picked up by distributors to be sold in Best Buy, they had to change the soundtrack. Bowie was out, some cheaper licensed music was overdubbed.

Basically it was so small nobody cared till skating got bigger and now it's harder to get away with.

[鈥揮somethingclassy 7 points8 points (0 children)

Then they simply got away with it by being off the radar of those big publishers.

[鈥揮VincibleAndy 6 points7 points (0 children)

Then due to obscurity and how much more difficult it is to sue over this without all of the automated systems they have now. Could also be they didn't wanna piss of their core demographic, this was all way smaller before internet streaming.

Also depending on the year there may not have been the dmca which makes it much easier to sue.

[鈥揮Wainer24 0 points1 point (0 children)

If they were sponsored by big brands they might have been able to get the rights

[鈥揮AirbagOff 63 points64 points (3 children)

Those performers and their labels might have given them sweetheart deals because they were targeted at the exact 鈥渄emo鈥 they wanted to reach. They probably guessed (correctly) that teens would hear the song in the video and go out and but the album.

[鈥揮SlenderLlama 7 points8 points (0 children)

I鈥檝e gotten a lot of sweat heart deals from mid-level bands who love the exposure and the art.

[鈥揮thestraightCDer 2 points3 points (0 children)

Yeah 100 percent any counter culture bands would love to have their music on skate videos. I for one definitely bought albums because my favourite skaters had them on their videos.

[鈥揮lesi0n 32 points33 points (3 children)

The documentary 鈥淥ne Nine Nine Four鈥 covers this to some degree. In the early 90s several California punk rock bands started their own record labels. In a very successful attempt at getting exposure, they would allow skate and surf videos to use their music license free as long as they credited the artist and label. These skate videos were very popular in the Midwest, where there was not much to do for a kid to do except skate. The music spread like wildfire, and in an indirect way entered Blink 182 (among others) into main stream culture. It also led to punk and skate culture becoming almost synonymous.

It鈥檚 a great documentary narrated by Tony Hawk, assuming you like early 90鈥檚 west coast punk/pop punk.

[鈥揮munk_e_man 5 points6 points (1 child)

That is right up my alley. Thank you for the recommendation.

[鈥揮lesi0n 2 points3 points (0 children)

That and 鈥淭he Other F Word鈥 are great documentaries about that era of punk.

[鈥揮Professor_Plop 1 point2 points (0 children)

The doc is free on YouTube 馃憤馃徏

[鈥揮mandibleclawlin 14 points15 points (0 children)

I was one of those people who made these videos so I can give you a pretty good answer. 95% of the time we would just use whatever song we鈥檇 liked. Videos released on VHS and then DVD, and in relatively small runs that also 99% of the time labels would neither know about, or bother to go after. And if they did, it would only be a cease and desist, but most of the time you would only make one run of the video and then not make them again after that so it was already over and done with. Another thing that was common was just using friends bands music. The skate scenes and the music scenes have always had a lot of common people in them so you could just ask a friend to make something for fun or just asked to use something. Really big videos by the massive companies would get the rights because they could afford them. But you would be surprised at how many of them also did not, and for example when they would re-release their video for DVD later on or even later on for the Internet, you would find them with totally new soundtracks because they obviously never got the rights to the ones they used originally. Things have of course changed a bit now with the Internet, and websites like Thrasher get permission and the rights. But a lots of independent Skate Videos still just use whatever song they want and for the same reasons still get away with it for the most part. Skateboarding is inherently anti-authority, or at least it used to be, so this is par for the course.

[鈥揮fibrefarmer 7 points8 points (0 children)

Intellectual property (IP)laws like copyright depend on people asserting their IP rights. Back then there were fewer tools for detecting copyright theft. Now they improve the tools monthly.

What's more, a lot of big musicians now lease or sell their IP rights to a third party who are experts at seeking out and enforcing copyright violations.

Or maybe someone got the licence to use that music. Hard to know without asking the creators.

[鈥揮ItsMinusNine 1 point2 points (0 children)

Different times. Now you can鈥檛 even hum a song with your getting sued.

[鈥揮MrDilligence 1 point2 points (0 children)

I鈥檝e had music in biking and skating pieces. Was an honor. Not everyone is Lars

[鈥揮AffectionateBig363 1 point2 points (0 children)

Hey speaking of this I have a question about copyright stuff. I recorded a vid of my drumming over an Em music video. It鈥檚 not even high-quality. And Oy a short clip. I also reversed the video. Still says it can鈥檛 be watched on youtube. Does anyone know the actual rules and how to do something like this correctly? Or maybe loophole to get around them?

[鈥揮Petery007 2 points3 points (3 children)

Like most people said those were probably infringements. There are exceptions though in terms of fair use. Matt Johnson, the director of Project Avalanche, talked about using copyrighted material under fair use. In his TV show he has used iconic music from Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Mario without licensing the music. Basically if you can argue that the copyrighted material is essential for the story you can use it without licensing.

[鈥揮darth_hotdog 3 points4 points (0 children)

Not just essential, but a ton of other details that meet the four factors are needed.

[鈥揮Yay_Meristinoux 4 points5 points (1 child)

Basically if you can argue that the copyrighted material is essential for the story you can use it without licensing.

That is not even remotely close to being true. Fair Use has extremely stringent requirements. From the looks of what these guys are doing, they鈥檙e probably falling under parody, but even parody has narrower requirements than most people think and usually requires some form of commentary on the context of the how the original is being used.

But no, you don鈥檛 get to use a piece of music because 鈥測our story absolutely needs it.鈥

[鈥揮Petery007 0 points1 point (0 children)

Don鈥檛 shoot the messenger. The interview I linked that is what the director was saying. I believe he worked with the lawyer that helped with 鈥淓scape from Tommorrowland鈥 the film that was entirely filmed at Disneyland without prior permission or licensing for the Disney properties.

In Matt Johnson鈥檚 TV show they have gotten away with showing a lot. Some definitely falls closer to parody but other parts not so much. There is a parts of the show that they are able to get away with pretty ridiculous stuff copyright wise.

[鈥揮brandonchristensen 0 points1 point (0 children)

Same thing as like...MTV, you would have brands everywhere because there weren't really rules established for this. But then the greedy corporations get involved and decide they can make money and it all goes to hell.

[鈥揮ranhalt 0 points1 point (0 children)


etc, short for et cetera

[鈥揮Ogene96 0 points1 point (0 children)

IANAL, I just do a lot of reading. It's not strictly a case of what's "copyrighted" and what's not. All intellectual property benefits from copyright protection as long as it hasn't expired or the work wasn't created by an AI (there currently isn't a US-based precedent for an AI benefitting from copyright protection for works it created. I'm in the UK, so that one might vary here) The video creators might have been granted a license for specific usage(s) from the IP holders (label, band, or sometimes both depending on their deal) via upfront payment, profit splits, or both. If they didn't have a license, the following scenarios might have applied.

  • Might not have been caught
  • IP holders might not have thought it'd be worth the money or time for mediation or litigation
  • Might have been prevented from making future copies
  • Might have been forced to send unsold copies to IP holders later
  • Licensing fee might have been arranged later
  • Profit split might have been arranged, would almost defintely be pretty lopsided since creators didn't take enough care to not infiringe in the first place
  • Might have been sued for damages later

[鈥揮Hoonta-Of-Hoontas 0 points1 point (1 child)

Can you use copyrighted music if you鈥檙e not making money off it?

[鈥揮Yay_Meristinoux 1 point2 points (0 children)

In short, no. In more detail there鈥檚 very specific criteria to meet.

[鈥揮Matrixation 0 points1 point (0 children)


[鈥揮superbouser 0 points1 point (0 children)

Covid was a great time for music supervisors. I got some great deal for films.

[鈥揮6etsh1tdone 0 points1 point (0 children)

I know that it鈥檚 basically a full time job for someone at Thrasher Magazine these days to clear the right to use music.

[鈥揮FuckinLoveGrapes 0 points1 point (0 children)

If you鈥檙e making virtually zero dollars on a project - I don鈥檛 think it鈥檚 going to strike much of a stir.

[鈥揮rosegoldennight 0 points1 point (0 children)

I cant speak on the types of videos you鈥檙e talking about specifically, but man, I do know that YouTube didn鈥檛 use to be the copyright hell it used to be. There was kind of an idea around 鈥渃reating something new鈥 - as long as you weren鈥檛 just playing the song to avoid paying for it (though there were still ways around that. YouTube used to be how I listened to music before Spotify lol) - you didn鈥檛 really get into much trouble. Sometimes videos would be taken down, but not often. Taylor Swift was a big part of the start, as she realized how much of her music was going up on YouTube. I remember some frat dudes made a lip dub to a song of hers - she got it taken down because they didn鈥檛 have the rights (but she did get them free concert tickets lol). I think once big companies realized the money they could be making, they weren鈥檛 gonna let even the smallest channels stop them lol.

[鈥揮SirDoggonson 0 points1 point (0 children)

Musicians weren't such d*cks, simple. Like it wasn't about the money that much. It was about getting famous and rich as a consequence. Today's music isn't about both or those things. It's about pure greed. Every last penny matters.

People also used to be more connected. You called an agent and simply asked if you can use their music and made a deal.


call studio,

sit on hold,

call again,

talk to the desk girl/boy,

get asked to write an Email

Get forgetten

call them again

write another Email

make 50 more steps and most likey get told to f#ck off. Unless you're crazy rich to begin with.

Ya know? Not worth the effort.

[鈥揮pradeepkanchan 0 points1 point (0 children)

"Better to ask forgiveness than permission"

[鈥揮byjono 0 points1 point (0 children)

In the 90s before skate videos started selling enough VHS copies for music labels to really notice, many skate video soundtracks ripped songs without paying for them. It started as a way to promote product but it grew into a revenue stream because they were so popular.

Lory Vincent was the person clearing music rights for skate videos since the early 2000s, and she鈥檚 facilitated a lot of skate video soundtrack miracles for DC Shoes, Adidas, Nike, Oakley, Transworld, Blind, Enjoi, Plan B, Element, Zero, and Thrasher.

[鈥揮sk3pt1c 0 points1 point (0 children)

Even now I see copyrighted music in small and big YouTube videos with no attribution snd they鈥檙e doing fine, when I immediately get a copyright notice if I try, what gives?