I would like to start a small, side job creating DVD movies from people’s digital photos for different occasions such as anniversaries, weddings, funerals, ect. I would also put music to them from their own CD’s that they have. Now here is the question. Is it legal for me to take songs off their CD’s and put it on a DVD video and make money off of the work that I have done? Thanks!
I disagree. They own the CD the music is on, not the rights to the music itself. The CD sleeve will have a paragraph prohibiting unathorised "distribution, reproduction" yadda, yadda.
By ripping the music files and inserting them onto the DVD, the OP would be reproducing the music.
The fact that he's also intending to do this for profit makes it 100 times worse.
An analogy would be a movie you see at the cinema. If the Director uses a piece of music, he must pay royalties to the artist. Usually the artist will also insist on a listing in the credits too. The OP's intention is essentially the same - whilst the audience is of course much, much smaller.
As Pat says, you need to find some royalty-free music. Either that or find some local musicians / bands who will let you use their music cheap/for free. You'll be supporting local talent and they'd probably appreciate the publicity.
The other alternative is to look into how much it would cost to pay royalties for music. I don't know how much this would cost, or how easy it is. I know that pubs, etc, can buy CDs of music with the royalties pre-paid, but I don't know if they are allowed to be used in recorded media or only to be broadcast directly.
He would be violating copyright law by reproducing the recording without permission - which is expressly forbidden on the CD cover! How could this be any clearer?
Why do you think film and TV producers pay artists royalties for using their music? By your argument they wouldn't need to do so, since the "service" they provide is making a TV show, not copying music. and how is it a "favour" to the artist to not pay them royalties?
I mean no offence, but your logic is flawed.
The OP should get some professional legal advice, rather than relying on the opinion and hunches of people with no legal training.
But he's not "backing it up". He's using it as backing music to a slideshow / movie that he's processed. There is a subtle, but important, difference.
1. He is conducting a service
2. The service is not simply to copy the CD to a different media
3. He is getting paid for it.
Essentially, he is conducting a trade - whereby he gains an economic benefit from copying the music, without the rights holders' permission. He is making a product, using someone else's intellectual property to enhance his product, but refusing to pay the IP owner a share of the enhanced profit. Does that sound fair to you?
Looking at it a different way;
Owners of a CD (*) are usually allowed to make a back-up copy of their music under fair usage rules.
It gets a bit dodgy if you ask a mate to do it for you.
It gets even dodgier if it's a stranger who does it for you.
It gets dodgier still if you're PAYING the stranger to do it.
It is dodgy beyond belief if the stranger is not only copying the music, but PROCESSING IT AS WELL.
The fair usage rules are intended to allow people to make copies from CD to tape, etc to allow them to play their music in their cars, etc. They were not intended to allow small businesses to bypass paying royalties. I'd have thought that was abundantly clear.
(*) note the point: owners of a CD. They are NOT the owners of the rights to the music. In much the same way as when you purchase software, you do not inherit ownership of the intellectual property.