< Go back to blogUnderstanding Music Copyright on YouTube: What You Need to Know

Understanding Music Copyright on YouTube: What You Need to Know

Published: December 2, 2020

Have you ever been hit with a copyright strike on YouTube for simply singing or playing an instrument? If so, this blog post aims to unravel the complexities of music copyright on the platform and shed light on the essentials you need to grasp.

The Dual Layers of Music Copyright

In the realm of music, copyright is two-pronged. While many are familiar with the rights held by the artist or the band of the recorded song, there’s another layer of rights related to the song’s lyrics and melody. These are known as composition or publishing rights.

Even when you perform a song uniquely, without lifting from the original recording, you’re still accessing and potentially infringing upon the copyrighted melody or lyrics. Therefore, even minor usage of a song’s elements might prompt a copyright strike or a Content ID claim on your video.

Understanding Content ID Claims and Revenue Sharing

For creators who are part of the YouTube Partner Program, it’s significant to recognize that most composition claims can be managed with revenue sharing. If eligible, creators can acknowledge their video as a cover and share the revenue generated by it.

The Content ID System: Challenges and Solutions

Despite its sophistication, the Content ID system is not immune to inaccuracies, such as erroneous claims on videos that only contain microphone testing or white noise, or inadvertently flagging original songs that may have similarities in beat tracks. The engineers at YouTube continuously strive to rectify these issues, though they concede that perfection in an automated system remains elusive.

The Dispute Process: Empowering Creators
Creators are not without recourse, as YouTube has established a dispute process that enables them to confront issues with claimants. This process can escalate to court-level interventions if necessary. While disputes regarding monetization rights continue, your video remains monetized, and any earnings are held until a resolution is reached, at which point they are distributed accordingly.

Securing Rights through Official Music Licensing

Securing the proper usage rights for songs in your videos usually entails obtaining official music licenses. These licenses come with varying terms, including exclusivity, duration, and geographical limitations. It’s wise to consult with a legal advisor on these agreements. Although YouTube does not assist in acquiring these licenses, its audio library supplies a selection of free-to-use background music and sound effects. Third-party services are another option for sourcing licensed music without triggering claims.

Furthermore, it’s worthwhile to acknowledge the importance of upholding publishing rights not only on YouTube but also across different mediums, such as radio, live performances, and cover versions. Ultimately, by understanding the dual nature of copyrights, learning how to navigate Content ID disputes, and acquiring the appropriate licenses, you can stay compliant while producing captivating musical content online.

For additional information, please visit our help center, and don’t forget to check out our educational series for more insights. Farewell, and let the music play!

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