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Can I Use Copyrighted Music In YouTube Videos?

Learn how YouTube’s copyright system works, how to legally use copyrighted music in YouTube videos and how to resolve third-party copyright claims.

Many YouTubers are convinces that using copyrighted music in YouTube videos is a surefire way for getting your account penalized and your video muted or removed altogether. The reality isn’t that grim but you do need to understand how to legally use copyrighted music on YouTube to avoid copyright strikes on your channel.

First of all, let us put your mind at ease. Yes, you CAN legally use copyrighted music in YouTube videos BUT you need to understand how YouTube’s copyright system works.

What happens if I use copyrighted music on YouTube?

YouTube employs a robust system called Content ID that allows copyright owners to identify and to manage how their content is used on YouTube. Every video uploaded to YouTube is scanned against the Content ID database to detect if it contains any copyrighted music or video.

Copyright owners, not YouTube, get to decide what to do with videos that contain their work.

If you use copyrighted music registered in the Contend ID system, the copyright owner may decide to:

  • Mute your video (video is still available but no audio)
  • Block your video (worst case – this most likely will penalize your channel)
  • Monetize on your video by running ads (you won’t be able to monetize)
  • Track the viewership statistics of your video

In most cases, Content ID is only available to established music publishers, however, a number of YouTube certified companies, like Auriga Accounting Private Limited and few more, offer technical solutions for smaller independent music producers, so they can also protect their works with YouTube’s Content ID system.

For example, if you use a music track registered in the AdRev system, you will receive a copyright claim (also known as third party content match) that looks like this:

How can I legally use copyrighted music on YouTube?

Using copyrighted music on YouTube without proper authorization can lead to copyright infringement issues, potentially resulting in your videos being taken down or even legal action being taken against you. However, there are legal ways to use copyrighted music on YouTube:

  1. License the Music: You can obtain a license from the copyright owner to use their music in your videos. There are various licensing agencies and websites where you can purchase licenses for specific tracks. These licenses often come with terms specifying how you can use the music and for what duration.

  2. Use Royalty-Free Music: There are websites that offer royalty-free music, which means you can use the music without paying royalties or license fees. However, even royalty-free music may have certain limitations, so it’s essential to read and understand the terms of use.

  3. YouTube Audio Library: YouTube provides an Audio Library where you can find music and sound effects that are free to use in your videos. These tracks can be used without worrying about copyright issues, and they can be monetized.

  4. Creative Commons Licenses: Some artists release their work under Creative Commons licenses, which allow others to use their work under certain conditions. There are different types of Creative Commons licenses, so be sure to check the specific license associated with the music you want to use. Some licenses might require you to provide attribution to the artist.

  5. Public Domain Music: Music that is in the public domain is not protected by copyright and can be freely used by anyone for any purpose. Be cautious and ensure that the music is genuinely in the public domain before using it.

  6. Create Your Own Music: If you have the skills, you can create your own original music to use in your videos. This guarantees that you won’t run into copyright issues.

  7. YouTube Content ID: If you are a part of YouTube’s Partner Program, you can use YouTube’s Content ID system to see if the music you want to use is claimed by any copyright owners. This system allows you to use copyrighted music in your videos, but the revenue generated from ads might go to the copyright owner.

Always read and understand the terms and conditions associated with the music you want to use. If you’re unsure about whether you can use a specific piece of music, it’s a good idea to consult with a legal professional who specializes in copyright law. Remember, YouTube’s policies and copyright laws can change, so it’s essential to stay updated with the latest information.

How long does the protection hold?

Copyright songs can be of two types:

  • The copyright can be valid for 60 years after the song’s first release.
  • The copyright can be valid for 60 years after the death of the author(s). This is especially counted for original songs and dramatics.

Other copyrights that remain are as follows:

  • The singer or performer copyright is valid for 25 years from the date of release.
  • The producer or broadcaster’s copyright is valid for 25 years from the date of release.
Copyright Of Music In India-Things You Need To Know?

What constitutes a song?

The Indian Copyright Act does not have a strict definition of the term “song”. A song differs from a “musical work”. A musical work is defined as a song (or a collection of songs) with no words spoken. However, the act does provide different copyrights for each element of the song.

For example, as mentioned above, the lyricist and composer can receive author rights. As a result, more than one person can hold the copyright of one song, depending upon how many people have contributed to making the song copyrighted.

What is the process of Use A Copyright Song On YouTube ?

The process of copyright registration in India is simple. However, the process can be time-consuming. The steps for copyright registration are as follows:

  1. You can apply for copyright online by visiting the Official Copyright Office website and creating a new application or offline by visiting the Copyright Office at Boudhik Sampada Bhawan, Dwarka, New Delhi. You are required to provide a copy of the work and present your credentials (such as a PAN card).
  2. Once the application is submitted, the office will first conduct a formality check. Under the formality check, the office will determine if all requirements for performance rights in copyright law are met (in terms of documentation). If they are not met, you will be requested to provide all details.
  3. Once the formality check is complete, it takes approximately 30 days to decide. Once the office has decided, you will be informed of the same via email. The copyright is granted on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  4. If you have been denied copyright of the work, you can request a review of the application. After which, you will be invited to a hearing on the application.

If you do not wish to complete the online process for registration, you can use the portal.

  • Visit the official copyright portal
  • Select “Registration of copyright” from the left-hand menu. You will be redirected to an instruction page where you will find all details of the process.
  • On the left-hand side, you will see a login menu. Select “new registration”. Fill in all the details required and create a new username and password.
  • Select submit at the end of the page and your account will be created.

How Auriga Accounting Help's you to claiming copyright song for YoutTube?

To claim copyright for a song used in your YouTube video, you would typically follow these steps with Auriga Accounting Private Limited:

  1. Ensure You Have the Rights: Before claiming copyright on a song, you must have the necessary rights to the song. This can include being the original creator of the music, obtaining a license, or having permission from the copyright owner to use the song in your video.

  2. Upload Your Video to YouTube: After creating your video, upload it to your YouTube channel.

  3. Identify the Song: When you upload your video, YouTube’s Content ID system will automatically scan it to identify any copyrighted music. If your video contains copyrighted music, YouTube will typically notify you.

  4. Review Copyright Notices: If you receive a copyright notice or claim on your video, you can review the details and information about the copyright claim. This will include information about the copyright owner and how they want to handle the use of their music in your video.

  5. Choose How to Handle the Claim: Depending on the copyright owner’s preferences, you can choose how to handle the claim. Options typically include:

    • Monetization Share: You can allow the copyright owner to monetize your video, meaning they can run ads on it and receive a share of the revenue generated from those ads.

    • Mute or Remove the Song: You can mute or remove the copyrighted music from your video to resolve the claim.

    • Dispute the Claim: If you believe you have the rights to use the music (e.g., through a valid license or permission), you can dispute the claim by providing documentation to support your case. The copyright owner will then have the opportunity to respond.