how to resolve youtube copyright claims

What to do when YouTube Content ID matching system blocks or mutes your video for using background music.

If you are a video creator and use background music in your YouTube videos, you may have heard about YouTube’s Content ID matching system.

MikS Music
In this post I will explain how the Content ID matching system works, what may happen if YouTube flags your video with the third-party content match, and how to resolve this issue.

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What is YouTube Content ID matching system?

YouTube Content ID matching system was created to prevent the unauthorized use of copyrighted material in YouTube videos. The system allows copyright owners to track and to manage how their content is being used on YouTube.

How YouTube Content ID matching system works?

When you upload a new video to YouTube, the matching system scans your video against a huge database of copyrighted music and video that belongs to the eligible content owners. If something in your video (for instance, the background music) matches a file in that database, YouTube flags your video and applies the policy chosen by the content owner.

Every time you upload a video to YouTube, it gets scanned for copyrighted content

What happens if Content ID system flags your video for using copyrighted background music?

Our good friends at SafeMusicList made this nice and quick explainer video:

If your video gets flagged by the Content ID system, one of the three things may happen:

  • Block / Mute. Your video is blocked / sound is muted completely or in certain countries. This is the worst possible outcome, since your video is essentially gone from public view or turned into ‘silent film’. What’s worse, if your video is blocked worldwide this may negatively affect your YouTube account standing and you may lose access to some YouTube features.
  • Monetize. YouTube runs ads in your video and sends the advertisement revenue to the content owner. For non-commercial and family videos that may not be a big deal. However, if you are a YouTube partner that means you won’t see any ad money for this video, even if it goes viral. If you are a small business and promoting your products and services on YouTube, your viewers may end up seeing your competitors ads in your own video.
  • Track. YouTube grants the content owner access to this video’s viewing statistics. The video remains unaffected.

Which one will happen is hard to tell upfront and depends on the policy (that is, Block, Monetize, or Track) chosen by the copyright owner for his content that’s monitored by YouTube’s Content ID system.

If YouTube finds copyrighted content in your video it will Block, Monetize, or Track it

How to check if your video was flagged?

In the old YouTube video manager you can see if any of your videos have been flagged by the Content ID system by looking under “Copyright Notices” section. In this section you will see all your videos with matched content.

In the new creator studio, you’ll have to scroll through the videos and look for Copyright Claim note under video’s status.

video with copyright claim

Is it possible to remove all and every claim?

No, there is no guarantee and it’s up to the copyright owner to decide.

Your best insurance against YouTube copyright claims is a formal license that grants you explicit rights to use given music on YouTube

This does not mean you always have to buy the license. Even if someone offers you the music for free – ask for a formal written permission, something that you could forward to YouTube in case you get the claim on your video.

I have the license to use background music in my videos. Why am I still getting the claims?

You may be getting copyright claims on your videos, even if you purchased the license (or otherwise secured the permission) to use copyrighted music on YouTube.

The Content ID system does not know whether you have the license or how much you have paid for it. It merely informs you that it detected some copyrighted content in your video.

Now, if you do have the license and the license explicitly grants you the right to use the music on YouTube, you should be able to easily dispute the copyright claim by either contacting the copyright owner (supposedly the one who provided you with the license) or by following the steps below.

Related: How to Quickly Resolve AdRev For The Third Party Copyright Claims on YouTube (with Infographic)

Many YouTubers wrongly assume that royalty free music is copyright free.

Royalty free literally means no royalties for recurring use and, in fact, a great deal of royalty free music is copyrighted and not free. Since it’s copyrighted, you will be getting copyright claims if the owner relies on the Content ID system (or any other digital fingerprinting service) to monitor music usage.

Related: Top 5 Music Usage Mistakes that Can Make Video Disappear from YouTube

Royalty free music isn’t copyright free and you still may be getting YouTube copyright claims

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How to resolve YouTube Content ID third-party match

Did you receive a copyright claim for using my music? Follow these simple instructions

If you did use copyrighted background music without proper permission and your video isn’t blocked, you may simply acknowledge it and move on.

If your video gets blocked because of unlicensed background music, you can erase the song in the video manager.

how to erase song youtube copyright

Alternatively, you can dispute with YouTube that the music in your video qualifies as ‘fair use’. I helped many YouTube partners to make music parodies of popular commercial songs and this approach often works. I wouldn’t recommend it as a sure-fire way of defending against copyright claims, however.

Submitting Content ID dispute, step-by-step

Even if you are using the perfectly legal background music your video still may get flagged by the Content ID system, since many musicians and composers rely on this system to track how their music gets used across YouTube.

Fortunately, as long as you can prove that you have the copyright owner’s permission to legally use the music (like the invoice you received if you ever purchased royalty free music at MikS Music), you can resolve third-party copyright claims fairly easily.

Even if you use 100% legal background music, your video still may get flagged by YouTube

In order to reverse the effect of the third party content match, you need to dispute it. Follow the steps below to submit the dispute to YouTube.

Step 1

Go to the Videos section and select the video where you want to dispute the claim.

video with copyright claim

Step 2

You have a choice – to acknowledge or to dispute the claim. To dispute – click on the Dispute button. If you want to acknowledge the claim, simply do nothing.

Step 3

Assuming that you legally purchased the license, specify that you have the written permission from the copyright owner to use the music.

dispute youtube copyright

Step 4

Acknowledge that you do have the proper license and want to dispute the claim.

dispute copyright

Step 5

“Licensing” is the most important field and YouTube will base their decision based on the information you provide there. If you purchased the license at a royalty free marketplace, mention the URL of the marketplace and the license / order number if the store provided one.

If you are using the music purchased from MikS Music, you copy and paste the licensing certificate here.

licensing certificate

Type your full name to serve as the electronic signature and submit the dispute. Keep in mind that disputes may take few days to get resolved. Hope this helps!

Related:
How to Quickly Resolve AdRev For The Third Party Copyright Claims on YouTube (with Infographic)
Do You Think AdRev Is Stealing Your YouTube Monetization Money?
10 Tips For Choosing The Right Background Music For Your Marketing Video

Looking for affordable and YouTube friendly background music for your videos?

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Positive and confident royalty free background instrumental music with uplifting and motivational feel for corporate videos and marketing projects.

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  • To use in personal or small business (up to 5 employees) promotional video, social media, podcast, presentation, free / student film, free app / game, and any media / online content not intended for sale.
  • To use in corporate promotional video, social media, podcast, presentation, tradeshow, point of sale, on hold, event, online / regional TV advertisement incl. political, and all revenue generating media, games and online content up to 1,000 sales.
  • To use in all revenue generating content with unlimited sales, feature film with unlimited distribution, TV/Radio show with nation-wide audience, and commercial TV/Radio advertisement.
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Positive corporate royalty-free music with assertive and grand feel for an uplifting and motivational corporate video or commercial.

Average rating:

Buy Once, Use Forever

  • To use in personal or small business (up to 5 employees) promotional video, social media, podcast, presentation, free / student film, free app / game, and any media / online content not intended for sale.
  • To use in corporate promotional video, social media, podcast, presentation, tradeshow, point of sale, on hold, event, online / regional TV advertisement incl. political, and all revenue generating media, games and online content up to 1,000 sales.
  • To use in all revenue generating content with unlimited sales, feature film with unlimited distribution, TV/Radio show with nation-wide audience, and commercial TV/Radio advertisement.
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Positive, motivational, and uplifting royalty free background music for corporate and small business videos with inspirational and confident feel featuring the mix of acoustic and electronic sounds.

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Got a copyright claim for using my music?

If you receive a copyright claim on a video that uses my music, do not dispute if with youTube! It will take a considerable time, while I can remove the claim much quicker. Send me a link to the YouTube video that received the claim along with the order number and I will white-list you video and remove the claim. You can find the order number in the confirmation email you received when you purchased the license.

Need more music?

Check out Safe Music List – a bigger and more diverse royalty free music library for marketing and promotional videos. Many of their music tracks are not registered with AdRev.

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Mik
About the author: Hi, I’m Mik. I make royalty free music for promotional videos, YouTube business vlogs, marketing campaigns, film, and more. All my music is available for licensing online with a simple royalty free commercial license. Buy once, download instantly, use forever!

10 comments

  1. Hi!
    Talented friends of mine made a video of me singing a song of mine and they have it in their channel. I just want to know if there is an easy and friendly way to share income from the video, cause it has become some how successful.

    I don’t want a dispute or any legal fight, as I said, they are my friends and I like the video to keep getting views and likes.

    Thanks very much.

    1. Hi Ana,

      I think the friendliest way would be to speak with your friends and ask them to share the revenues. Alternatively, if you control the rights to the song you performed, you can monetize on that video by joining a service like AdRev. This will put the ads in the video and you will get a share of the advertisement revenue. Note, however, that it will essentially stop your friends from being able to monetize on the video. Hope that helps.

      Mik

  2. Hi Mik,

    I recently posted a video on YouTube that was filmed a public place (a restaurant), and they had music from the radio playing in the background. I’m speaking over the music almost the entire time, but the songs were captured in the background of my video and was caught by YouTube’s Content ID. Can I dispute this copyright claim?

  3. Hi Nicole,

    You can try disputing it with YouTube and explaining the situation, however the chances are you won’t get the claim retracted. On the positive side, unless you’re monetizing, there is almost no impact on your video. It’s still available, though may have ads now.

    M

  4. I recorded a cover of a song, it is widely available as other cover versions on YouTube. I used a backing track and it has been muted due to copyright. Can I dispute this? It clearly states it is me singing and a legal backing track, they claim it is owned by them?

    Any help would be great.

  5. I had two claims on my videos this month only. I had permission for both songs. The first one they ignored so I just changed the song. The second one I am waiting.
    The are even claiming songs that are not in my video at all. It is getting very frustrating.

  6. We have recorded in public a UK military band playing the ‘Last Post’ in Southport, UK, yet a Canadian company is claiming that the music is there copyright. Yet on our footage, you can see the band playing the last post in the video footage we took and uploaded, but we have not been able to get Youtube to drop the claim. This keeps happening on all the Remembrance videos we upload ever since, and each 1 has footage of the player, or players doing the piece and it is getting very silly now. We are looking at doing a report on this, as we run a newspaper and also an international PR agency about this, but personally, I think we are just wasting our breath, as Google seems just to reply using a bot. Do you have any ideas or views on how we can fix this and have you had a situation when the music being performed is well out of copyright, being played by a band who has given permission and can be seen within the footage, yet a firm that not even related to the subject claims the music is their copyright? For us, this is not the first time this has happened. I have had 3 other bogus claims, all dropped, with Google saying it had an error, except this claim. Plus this has even more evidence that this is a bogus claim than the others, that Google had dropped when we questioned them. Just to add, the band in question is a MOD band (UK Military) who are playing the last post and was written as the Trumpet & Bugle Calls for the British Army in 1966… How long is copyright owned?

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