Want to add background music to your videos but confused about YouTube copyright rules? Answering some of the hottest music licensing and copyright questions from Twitter users
When you start using somebody else’s music in YouTube videos you may run into all kinds of situations with copyright. These days, many YouTubers take to Twitter to find answers to their questions. In this post I will be answering some of the most common questions concerning royalty free music and YouTube copyright claims. Follow me on Twitter for the real-time answers.
Royalty Free music is copyright free, right?
Royalty free music are music that are not copy righted, right? So can we download hippie music from YouTube?
Answer: No. Royalty free refers to the absence of performance royalties, which means that you (or the broadcaster) are not required to pay the copyright owner (or his publisher) any royalties every time your video gets played.
From the legal perspective, all creative works are copyrighted by default until the copyright expires. The authors may choose to offer their work for free under various conditions (under the creative commons license, for instance) but it still doesn’t make their work “copyright free”.
Takeaway: Royalty free has nothing to do with copyright or the absence of such.
Why do I get claims on videos with royalty free music?
It’s royalty free music, wtf does that even mean if they are claiming my frakking video to monetize?!?
Answer: I understand your confusion, however, “royalty free” refers exclusively to the performance royalties. That does not mean however, that the copyright owner is willing to give up the advertisement revenue as well. Many musicians offer their music for free, yet they do expect to collect the adrev money in return.
Takeaway: Read the fine print and clarify the terms prior to using any music in your video, royalty free or not.
Where can I find free music for my YouTube videos?
YouTube people: where do you find free royalty free music to use with your videos?
Answer: Some of the common sources of free background music for YouTube videos include: YouTube’s own free music library, music in public domain / expired copyright, music available under the creative commons license, music created by independent musicians looking for the exposure, and more. See the infographic for more examples.
There is nothing wrong with using free music in your videos but you need to understand that even if you can download something for free it often comes with limitations (like non-commercial use only, for instance) that may not work for your intended use.
Takeaway: Free music may only be free for certain use and not for what you had in mind.
I also have some free music that you can use in your videos:
How to use background music in YouTube videos?
How can I put music on the background of a YouTube video? Help pleaseeee
Answer: To avoid copyright strikes and getting your YouTube channel blocked, use the music cleared for YouTube use. If you’re monetizing your videos, make sure the music license covers YouTube commercial use.
Takeaway: Do you have a solid proof for YouTube that you can legally use a particular music track in you video? If not – don’t use it.
How do prominent channels get away with using copyrighted music on YouTube?
How the f**k do makeup gurus get away with using copyrighted music in EVERY video?
Answer: It is absolutely possible to use copyrighted music on YouTube, you just need to secure the license / permission of the copyright owner. If you’re monetizing, make sure the license includes YouTube commercial use.
Takeaway: Only use copyrighted background music if it was specifically cleared for YouTube use.
Is it safe to use royalty free sound-alikes on YouTube?
If I bought royalty free music that sounds similar to strong & popular brands am I liable 4 lawsuits?
Answer: First of all, here’s a disclaimer – I’m not a lawyer, so you please do not take this as a legal advice. To answer the question, I believe it’s unlikely. However, if the royalty free music track is very similar to a popular commercial music track, YouTube’s Content ID system may still give you a copyright strike thinking that you’re using the original.
Takeaway: Unless your project clearly calls for something that is nearly identical to a popular commercial track (if you’re making a parody video, for example), you’d be better off with using original royalty free music with similar feel.
How to dispute copyright claims for legally licensed royalty free music
I just purchased my songs for a video on your site. however YouTube is giving me a copyright block. How do I solve this?
Unfortunately, as of now, the system can’t tell the difference between the authorized and unauthorized use and flags every video that matches the music in the database. However, the legit copyright owners can easily retract the claims provided you have the license to use their music.
The fastest way to resolve a copyright claim is to contact the music author / the copyright owner. For instance, I retract copyright claims on the same day for people who licensed my music.
Takeaway: Instead of using YouTube’s dispute option, contact the music owner directly to quickly resolve copyright claims.
How to resolve bogus copyright claims from AdRev
Adrev please stop claiming copyright over music from Audio Swap Youtube itself. If I can’t use audio from Youtube itself, what else?
Answer: Despite often being referred to as a copyright troll, AdRev is a legit California based company that enables music copyright owners to get a share of advertisement revenue by displaying ads in YouTube videos.
Now, when you receive a claim from AdRev on your video, it may be coming from a legitimate owner or from a unscrupulous individual trying to make a quick buck by claiming the freely downloadable music as their own. If you suspect the claim is bogus – get in touch with AdRev support and explain the situation. For instance, that you are using the music from YouTubes free library or that you purchased the license from the legitimate copyright owner.
Takeaway: To quickly resolve bogus AdRev copyright claims contact AdRev support.
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