WHAT IS PUBLIC DOMAIN?

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? How to apply YouTube partner program?

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Public domain YouTube
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What is public domain?

Once a song or music is old enough, it enters the public domain and you can record, perform or distribute it freely. Consequently, you will not obtain any license or pay royalties.

Many people mistakenly think that if some content is uploaded to YouTube, it automatically gets a public domain status. It is an absolutely wrong idea.

Musician or composer may release his/her musical work into the public domain. However, it happens extremely rarely.

You should also remember that performance of the composition that is in the public domain can also have copyright protection. Therefore, while a Mozart composition is in the public domain, a recorded performance of his work is most likely not in the public domain.

How old is old enough?

The laws that control how old a musical work should be before it goes to the public domain vary in different countries. Over time new laws become more restrictive, thus copyright terms become longer and longer.

You should remember, that in one country some musical works are in the public domain, while in another country the same works are under copyright protection. For instance, in America musical works that were published before 1923 refer to the public domain. Musical works that were issued in 1923-1977 go to the public domain 95 years after they were initially published. And musical works that were published starting from 1978 are protected during 70 years after composer's death. If there are two or more composers, the count is started after the death of the last one.

In different countries the copyright term may vary. In Hong Kong and Canada, for instance, musical works go to the public domain fifty years after composer's death, while in Russia and European Union this figure is seventy years. It may happen that your video might have the song that is in the public domain in Hong Kong, but not in Russia or Spain, so YouTube would have the right to block your video in these countries.

Music allowed to use on YouTube

If you are a YouTube creator, you deal with copyright automatically. Thus, you need to know about Music allowed to use on YouTube.

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