How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask montysimmons Your Own Question
montysimmons, Patent Prosecutor
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 315
Experience:  Electrical Engineer, South Carolina Attorney, Member of US Patent Bar
Type Your Intellectual Property Law Question Here...
montysimmons is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am making a Kickstarter video with clips of my former students

This answer was rated:

I am making a Kickstarter video with clips of my former students in it. I hope to use clips of them singing phrases, and favorite quotes from the shows that they performed in. None of this would have a full-length song, just a few seconds worth. I need to know if I need to get permission in order to be able to use the music and/or lines from these shows. Most of them are Disney ones. I personally do not hold license on the material, nor does the theater company which I am in the process of setting up. It will be a 501c3 non-profit, though I don't know if that will have any merit. This theater company will be to educate students through theatrical productions.

The Facts


• You are making a Kickstarter video to raise funds for a Non-Profit 501c3 endeavor.


• The endeavor is a theatrical company to educate kids


• You want to use clips of former students singing phrases and favorite quotes from shows where they have performed copyrighted material.


• No full-length songs, just a few seconds.


The question is . . . Would the above Kickstarter using the song clips violate another’s copyright rights requiring permission from such copyright owner?


Answer: the risk of having issues is low, but not zero, in not obtaining permissions for the reasons stated below.


To answer the question one starts with the issue of what is copyright infringement


Copyright Infringement Maxims


"In a copyright infringement case, the plaintiff must show:


(i) ownership of a valid copyright and

(ii) unauthorized copying of the copyrighted work." Jorgensen v. Epic/Sony Records, 351 F.3d 46, 51 (2d Cir. 2003).


First, in your case, you know you are using material for a work covered by a valid copyright; thus, (i) ownership is not an issue here.


Second, in your case, you are using/copying material from a copyrighted work. Thus, unless you have a defense, your desired act, if performed, would constitute actionable infringement. So you need a defense.




(1) Copyright invalidity is a common defense and can include that the work was not original, lacked copyrightable subject matter or that the P is not the owner of the copyright.


(2) Independent creation is a complete defense to copyright infringement although it is sometimes difficult for a D to prove independent creation.


(3) Admission of copying but…..

1. “De minimis” use is a defense that admits copying but claims that the amount taken is so small that it makes no difference. It is often coupled with a fair use defense.

2. Similar to de minimis is a defense that what was copied was not protectable, such as copying just the facts from a work and not protected expression.


(4) Fair use is one of the most commonly raised defenses.


(5) The other statutory limitations on the rights of the copyright holder also serve as defenses, §§ 108-122. These range from the library exception to limitations on performance and display to the satellite television limitations.




For your case, defense (3) and (4) are relevant. I will not go into the boring details unless you want me too, but using short clips of performances of your former students singing copyrighted songs is likely a De Minimis use AND a Fair Use.


Thus, the risk of being sued for not obtaining permission is very low, but not zero (people can sue for anything, including for dumb reasons).


If you wish, when you get your video completed, send me your kickstarter link before you publish and I will review it and give you more information.



montysimmons, Patent Prosecutor
Satisfied Customers: 315
Experience: Electrical Engineer, South Carolina Attorney, Member of US Patent Bar
montysimmons and 2 other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Previous | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

Meet The Experts:

  • Alex Reese

    Alex Reese


    Satisfied Customers:

    Experienced in intellectual property law
< Last | Next >
  • Alex Reese's Avatar

    Alex Reese


    Satisfied Customers:

    Experienced in intellectual property law
  • Robert McEwen, Esq.'s Avatar

    Robert McEwen, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
  • Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
  • Thomas Swartz's Avatar

    Thomas Swartz


    Satisfied Customers:

    Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed attorney in private practice.
  • Wilton A. Person's Avatar

    Wilton A. Person


    Satisfied Customers:

    MBA, Experienced and Knowledgeable in Intellectual Property Law
  • BartEsq's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Juris Doctor

Related Intellectual Property Law Questions