Music 🎵 copyright claims have frustrated YouTubers for years, but within the past several months, they’ve become a much larger problem.
Lately, record labels like Sony and Warner Brothers have systematically issued copyright claims against big channels like MrBeast and James Charles, as well as smaller channels that want to use music for educational reasons – or even just to do remixes!
If you’re one of the YouTubers who has been affected by music copyright claims, there are five things you can do to stop 🛑 them.
However, first it’s important that you understand what copyrighted music is in the first place!
What constitutes copyrighted music? 🤔
Believe it or not, copyrighted music is virtually any music you can get your hands on.
Music, because it is an art form, becomes automatically copyrighted the minute it’s fixed in a tangible form, whether it’s digitally recorded 🎙️ or written ✍️ down on paper.
However, if all music is copyrighted, how can we know what kind of music we can use online?
Well, the answer is simple! We can use any music that has been copyrighted to us. In other words, we can use royalty-free music.
1. Find royalty free music
However, for some creators, this royalty-free music isn’t enough. 🙅
2. Use YouTube’s audio library
Some YouTubers require the use of copyrighted music for topics such as teaching viewers 👥 how to remix popular songs.
If you’re looking to use a specific song in your video, look at YouTube’s audio library to try and find it.
You can access this library by visiting the YouTube Creator studio, scrolling down to “Other Features” on the left hand side, and then selecting “Audio Library”. Once you’re there, you can preview and download 📥 content to find what you’re looking for.
YouTube’s audio library contains both music and sound effects 🔉 that are licensed to you for use in your videos.
3. Use Creative Commons songs
Another effective way to get music into your YouTube videos without copyright claims is to use Creative Commons licensed songs.
Creative Commons music is copyrighted, but in a different way than most other copyrighted songs.
With Creative Commons music, the original artist grants you certain rights 📜 to their songs, the specific of which can be found on the Creative Commons website.
In most Creative Commons licensed music, the artists grant you license to use either an entire song or specific parts of a song. The only requirement is that you attribute the original artist in the description section of your video.
Plus, you can find Creative Commons licensed music by searching 🔎 for an artist or song on YouTube and filtering that search with “Creative Commons”. This will give you a listing of all Creative Commons licensed music by that artist or with that song name.
Always remember to use caution ⚠️ when searching for Creative Commons licensed songs. Some creators out there will falsely claim to own the Creative Commons rights to a song; in this case, using that song in your video could lead to a music copyright claim.
Therefore, be sure to do your research by Googling the creator’s name and the song name, and try to discover if they’re being honest about the license.
4. Get #permission from the original artist
Of course, most of us can’t just give Drake a ring 📱 and ask for permission to use “God’s Plan” in our video.
That being said, if you know members of local bands 🎸 in your area, you can contact them and request permission to use their music.
Try approaching them by asking to use a song of theirs in your YouTube video and explaining how they will get free publicity as a result.
Remember to always receive written permission and to attribute artists in your description section.
5. Take advantage of fair use
The last trick you can use to avoid music copyright claims on your YouTube channel is utilizing the legal doctrine of fair use.
Put simply, in accordance with Title 17 U.S. Code § 107, fair use allows us to use copyrighted music in our YouTube videos without permission from the original artists. That being said, fair use depends on the transformation 🌀 of the music and making it a new work of art.
Unfortunately, determining fair use is highly subjective. While a music clip may seem like fair use to one person, it could be copyright infringement to another.
Therefore, it’s important to be sure to take the transformation of the content seriously.
You can transform music by adding commentary 💬 or critiquing a particular clip in your video. Be sure to speak to musical components such as the lyrics 📝, beat 🥁, or instrumentation 🎺.
Another way to transform the content is to teach people about the music clip you’re using in your YouTube video, such as by commenting on the notes 🎼 or how the beat is structured.
One final transformation method that YouTube sometimes allows is remixes. That being said, my clients often report that the only remixes that make it past content ID are those that make a new, totally made unrecognizable song from the original.
All of this in mind, fair use should be used as a last resort for your YouTube videos, since content ID often mistakes fair use content for copyright infringement. This misidentification will require you to #dispute that claim to clear it from your channel – and no one wants to deal with that.
For copyright permission templates, visit the Templates section of my site!