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How to legally use copyrighted music on YouTube

How to legally use copyrighted music on youtube

This is going to be a long-read. So take a cup of coffee and enjoy reading. I hope it will help you.

Difference Between Royalty Free and Copyright Free

Any music video creator knows the importance of finding the right music (or music video editor) to use in their videos,

the right kind of music can bring out the intended mood of the video and have audiences relating to it.

Most video creator spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect song because they know what is at stake when they choose the wrong one. The pace of the music needs to go with the feel of the video, a fast pace beat for an excited video and a slow, soothing melody for a sad video.

This seems pretty easy because there is music for literally every emotion in the world you may say. True, you may find the perfect song for your video and when you post it on say You Tube, it is removed and all your hard work goes down the drain. This is because the music is copyrighted.

Royalty Free and Copyright Free are used interchangeably. The average person does not realize these concepts have different terms. Only when utilizing music for personal or commercial use will a person encounter the difference.

Protect yourself from any consequences linked to royalty free and copyright free, by learning the difference.

What is a Copyright?

The general definition covering copyright laws is that an artist has intellectual property rights over written or recorded art he or she created. Copyright does not apply only to music, but all products, and artistic works.

Artists have exclusive timeframes in utilizing artworks and music for monetary gain. The original work cannot be copied or altered. Anyone will face legal consequences when copying, adjusting or editing original music. That`s why some I created awesome music for major brands.

In other words – such music license can’t be used by anyone who is not the copyright owner unless with permission from the copyright owner or their authorized agents. Anybody who copies this work can face legal action.

Consequences of using copyrighted work

  • 0n YouTube you may receive a strike, 3 times and you are blocked.
  • The audio may be muted taking away all the effects intended by the song and even what you are saying.
  • You may get ads on your video without monetizing, all proceedings going to the original song creator.
  • The copyright owner may sue you. There are several types of music that one can safely use for their project they include; Music under public domain

What is a Royalty?

Royalties are the money paid to an artist when his or her copyrighted works are used. The copyright holder who is the artist that produced the work, licenses the recorded work, thus when anyone uses it, royalties are paid to the artist.

A copyright holder (artist), negotiate royalties, however when coming to an agreement with a secondary user, that person or entity does not have any rights regarding the original copyright. The secondary user cannot claim ownership or modify music he paid royalties for, but may use it when coming into agreement with the copyright holder.

What is Copyright Free (non copyright music)?

Anything that was under copyright once and not holding that label any longer is copyright free. A copyright has a predestined timespan after which it expires. It would depend on what kind of work it was, as it affects expiration and exclusivity period.

In addition, copyright holders can negotiate with businesses or individuals to give them partial or full copyright for work. These businesses or individuals can utilize the music or works without being prosecuted.

In other words – it is non copyrighted music that can be described as music that was once copyrighted but the years of copyright have expired as it`s not a lifetime thing. A copyright owner can also provide an individual or corporate with the copyright for their work.

Royalty Free Explained

Royalty free gives the recording artist holding the copyright, the right to license the music to a business or individual that want to use that work. These two entities negotiate terms or a single payment.

The business or individual who paid the artist or license holder of the work, now has the work royalty free. A business or individual is now the licensee of the work even though it is someone else’s work. No future payments are required, and the licensee can use the work for own purpose.

The work in question cannot be used by anyone that does not own a license for the work. Licensees must follow the license stipulations which were agreed upon with the license holder.

In most cases will the person who holds the license not be allowed to do modification or editing of the intellectual property. Licensees breaching contract will find his license revoked with the royalty free agreement not binding.

Such in-depth knowledge let us work with clients in different areas. Knowing our advantages you fully understand why you should buy with AcousticBro.

Know the Composers Rights, And Yours – Copyright Free License

copyright-free

Nothing lasts forever, and copyright is one of them too. Any music becomes public domain after an extended period. Any creative work that has copyright attached to it, comes with different governing rules before it loses its copyright. Music has a 100-year copyright period from the day it was created.

A different rule also applies to music though. Should an artist no longer live, there will be only a 75-year copyrighted period. When knowing an artist has passed away and it was first released 75-years ago, the automatic assumption is that is copyright free. US music copyright laws made songs non-copyrighted that dates prior to 1923.

A lot of individuals make money by taking songs prior to 1923, and re-arrange them, add editing touches and make it their own. Then they place it under new copyright under their own names. Even though it is not their own creativity, the changes made ensure that they are within their legal rights.

The pitfall individuals can fall into is assuming an old 1920s song has no copyright and claiming it or using it as their own. The assumption could cause being sued for infringement of copyright or order to pay royalty fees. A cost-effective way to know whether a song is indeed free of copyright and open as public domain is contacting Rights Clearance Agencies.

Creative Commons is another source to use for free music. It was created as an open and free category for musicians. The artists use this avenue to produce music, giving the public an opportunity to re-use without legal repercussion.

Visiting http://creativecommons.org/legalmusicforvideosindividuals can add music if they do not know about copyright laws. However, the links above should be more than adequate in making your presentations, videos, etc. come to live without infringement.

If you really want to use such music license for a video project you can follow the following procedure

Once you have established that the music you want to use is copyrighted, find out who the copyright owner is and the rights they have over the music. Contact the owner either by mail or call and negotiate on the terms of using the song.

Once you get the permission in writing, you can go ahead and use the song. Getting in touch with the copyright owner can be very difficult and their charges may be extremely high for an ordinary video creator hence the use of royalty free music is the better option.

The fair use concept

free royalty free music

This is a legal concept that most video content creator use. This concept can be interpreted in various ways however, the following 5 factors determine if it was a genuine fair use.

1. The purpose. If the use is for education, research, news, criticism (includes parodies), commentary (reviews) or nonprofit it can be considered fair use.

2. The amount, if you use say 30s of a song you are likely to pass for fair use, however if those 30s have a great impact on the video as a whole, this may not be fair use.

3. The value, if your content takes away value from the original music, in that the music is portrayed in a negative way that a viewer may not want to listen to it then this can’t be fair use.

4. Transformative, if you use the music in a different way from the original, this can be considered fair use. This includes parodies and covers.

5. The nature, if the content copyrighted has already been previously used, for example using a cover of the song as your music this can pass for fair use.

I strongly recommend you to check out our great mixing and mastering service. To level up your production even higher.

Misconceptions that people have about Copyrighting

Since no one has asked you about it is not a crime, this is completely wrong. If you know you have violated copyright they will definitely catch up with you and the more benefits you have made from it, the harsher the punishment.

Since you dint enable ads to monetize the video you are not violating any laws. This can only secure you from being sued for any money but the original owner can still have the video removed.

If you find the song in the internet it must be in the public domain. This is not true as not all internet postings are in the public domain, the music may still be copy righted.

If you leave a disclaimer in the description acknowledging the owner then you are safe. This is not true, if you are violating copyright rules mentioning the consequences.

These are an online video creator should know about copyright and the music they use. Finding the perfect site for royalty free music will help you a great deal in creating videos that will be captivating but will not have your video muted, removed or worse you being taken to court and sued for all your hard earned money.


It is important to know that for royalty free subscription sites, once you terminate your subscription the music owner does not have any right over existing content with their music in it, you can no longer get music from them but the previously done work remain intact.

Despite on great choice of platmorms, I advice you to check out our great Cinematic Music and Rock Music collections.

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2018-05-18T21:45:38+00:00 Categories: License Copyright, Video Marketing, YouTube|

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