Can I Post Music on Vine or Instagram Videos?

Dear Rich: I am the administrator for my church's social media accounts. I would like to post short six-second Vine and fifteen-second Instagram videos of our musicians performing hymns and other copyrighted music. Should I look into buying a copyright license for these videos, or would it be considered fair use because of the short length of the videos? As for buying a license, forget about it (and see our previous entry to understand the futility of that effort). The music companies have made the task of obtaining a sync license impossible for mere mortals.
The good news: As far as we can tell neither Vine or Instagram has a copyright filter similar to the one at YouTube (though that may evolve one of these days). So, it doesn't appear that Vine or Instagram will flag your use of unlicensed material. Chances are also good that a six to fifteen second music clip will be excused as a fair use particularly if you're not infringing the sound recording copyright --  that is, you're not using a pre-recorded song as a soundtrack for your video. Finally, music publishers and/or record companies may not want to pursue this rabbit hole of potential infringement. So, although it may possibly be an infringement, we don't think you'll run into legal problems in the near future.


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