MUSIC ALLOWED TO USE ON YOUTUBE

What parts of the song are copyrighted? Which country’s copyright laws would you be following? If you want to use copyrighted music legally, what kind of license would you need? What is copyright-free music? What is public domain? What is royalty? Creative Commons licenses. What is fair use? What is YouTube Content ID? How to apply YouTube Partner Program?

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If you are a YouTube creator, you deal with copyright automatically. This article is aimed to help you to better understand the principles of copyright, such as public domain, fair use and creative commons licensing, that you need to understand before you include music to your YouTube videos. There are also advices on where to find music that can be legally used in your videos.

What parts of the song are copyrighted?

All parts of the song (music, lyrics as well as recording) are protected by copyright law. Copyright is aimed to guarantee that music creators could earn money from their work. It is very important to know that the recording and composition are protected by separate copyrights. So the music (basic arrangement, harmony and melody) is still protected by copyright even if you record all the instruments by yourself and change the words of the song.

You might break the copyright laws if you do one of the following things:
- Add the song of your favorite band to any part of your video
- Upload your own cover version of the copyrighted song
- Upload an instrumental version of the copyrighted song
- Post on your video the entire lyrics
- Upload a video that contains a copyrighted song that is played in the background on TV or radio

Of course, you can see this kind of stuff all over YouTube and you can do exactly the same thing as thousands of other YouTubers, but one day you will find that your videos have been deleted and your channel was banned. With YouTube’s current Content ID system, every time you upload copyrighted content, there is a risk that your channel will get a copyright strike or monetization on your channel will be suspended, depending on the type of your partnership. Your account is terminated after you accumulate three or more strikes.

YouTubers are really surprised when their channel gets a copyright strike because they uploaded a video containing a popular song playing in the background on TV or radio. The quality of audio is often very low, so nobody would download it. Besides, in most cases the song was recorded by accident. Earnings of the artist are not affected in any way by your use of the song, but still you do not have any right to have the song playing in the background of your video.

Which country’s copyright laws would you be following?

There is an agreement between countries to respect each other’s copyright laws, but there are no international Copyright laws. If the court has to choose the jurisdiction for international copyright case, it will usually choose the country with a direct connection to the case. For instance, it could be the country where the material was uploaded or the country with the greatest damage to the target market.

If your uploaded to YouTube video is accessed from around the world, it is better to make sure that your video is at least in line with copyright laws of America. If you want to be completely safe, you better make sure that your video is in line with the laws of the country where you live.

If you want to use copyrighted music legally, what kind of license would you need?

Generally, there are three types of music licenses:

- Mechanical license. It gives you the right to distribute, publish and/or sell your own audio recording of a song that is copyrighted - an audio-only cover version.

- Synchronization license. It gives you the right to put your cover version to video and publish your video. So you will have the right to use the musical composition in your video but not the recording.

- Master Use license and Synchronization license. It gives you the right to use in your video an existing copyrighted recording. If both composition and recording copyright is held by the same person, these licenses can be combined into a single one "Synchronization and Master Use license". If you plan to use in your video the recording of a music or song that is not protected by copyright anymore (e.g. Paganini piano concert), you will just need the Master Use license.

It is not difficult to get a Mechanical license, but Master Use licenses and Synchronization licenses are not that easy to obtain. If the song was written by a few different writers, you would need to negotiate a fee with each one. Besides, typically Master Use licenses are very expensive.

If you want to use the song of an up-and-coming composer or performer, you can always ask him or her to just give you the written permission to use the song.

What is copyright-free music?

Copyright-free music is a music that is published under a Creative Commons license or in the "public domain".

What is public domain?

Public domain gives everyone the opportunity to legally use tons of music commercially. What is public domain?

What is royalty?

When you legally use copyrighted music, you pay royalty to the copyright holder. What is royalty?

What is Creative Commons?

Another way to legally use copyrighted music is to use the music that is published under Creative Commons licenses. What is Creative Commons?

What is fair use?

There are some exceptions to American copyright law that allow creators to use some limited amount of copyrighted content in their works. What is fair use?

YouTube Content ID

YouTube uses a special system to search the content that violates copyright. What is YouTube Content ID?

YouTube audio library

If you are looking for copyright free music you should look at YouTube audio library.

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