Like music is inevitable in all our lives, it is omnipresent in every art that has ever been created.
If you would have noticed, every youtube video has background music. A filler in the spaces, that joins the entire video together.
But, does the creator create their own music? Or, do they buy it from somewhere? If they are, then who is selling this music? Who owns it? Do you have to pay YouTube for the music? Is there a license you can acquire?
Well, if you have come here for answers to such questions, read on!
Ownership of music on YouTube and elsewhere could be classified into two categories:
1. Music that is written, engineered and broadcasted by labels, or producers, and more. Here, the music is mostly owned by the label or the producers.
2. When original audio is engineered or created by the performer himself. Here, the entire rights are reserved by the performer until and unless it is a cover or rendition of already popular music.
Copyright issues are a threat to growing creators. A copyright strike often leads to demonetization of the video. Moreover, it is also illegal to use music that is copyrighted by someone else. YouTube has serious copyright policies and it is eligible to take down or drop the ad revenue of videos that have copyrighted music.
You must have all heard the idea of ‘copyright strikes’ in youtube videos. But what does a copyright strike mean?
Copyright strikes are when Youtube flags you for using music/parts of video without the appropriate license.
1. where Youtube flags the content itself.
2. where a creator is allowed to raise the issue of concern, and if it is legitimate a claim is sent to you.
YouTube assigns a content ID to every content that exists on the platform. It is an automated system that keeps a repository of data by scanning the music, lyrics, and other contents of the video. However, these might not usually lead to taking down the video. Or, scrapping the entire portion of the video. But the original creator has the ability to demonetize your video.
This does not mean that you have no say in this entire process if you believe that the claim is wrong. You can always raise an issue with the options available and get your video back as it was. It is also to be duly noted that Youtube has extensive servers and mechanisms. Thus finding copyright infringements is too easy. Thus it is not difficult for the platform to find unauthorized use of others’ intellectual property.
Repeating this would lead to YouTube taking down your channel and imposing a lifetime ban. A deliberate use or a genuine mistake all fall into the same category! Thus, be careful and alert to what goes on in the video.
The second method, where the creator themself can raise a copyright claim, is another rabbit hole of laws. We will look into them some other day!
Getting permission from the owner of the music is the only right way to use their property without infringing on the copyright laws. But before we get into understanding, music licenses, let us talk about attribution. Attribution or mere crediting the artist does not mean that you are legally correct. To put it into simple words, it just means you are using their skill and creative product promising exposure through credits.
Crediting will just mean that you have acknowledged that this music does not belong to you. But this does not mean that you have permission to use the music. Because, the royalty rights are owned by the artist, label, or producer. Thus, earning by using their creative property is an infringement of copyright laws.
Under these laws, even purchasing the music does not allow you to reproduce them in your work. When you purchase a product, it comes under personal use, and using it commercially is not viable. This becomes illegal by all standards. Thus, while you purchase or pay for music, it is necessary that you acquire the right kind of license that allows you to use it in your videos.
A music license is a legal permission. It allows one to use a certain music creation for their own commercial use. These help you retain the revenue achieved by using it in your creative piece. Music License is of multiple variants – sync license, public performance license, mechanical license, master license, and more.
As per their name, these licenses allow the use of the music in certain criteria and also has set restrictions.
Also, licensing does not mean that you are free to use the music the way you want. A license also states the restrictions of using the music.
They clearly tell you what and what not you can do with the music. In terms of Youtube, we usually deal with the Sync license, which allows the use of the track in an audio-visual project. However, acquiring a master’s license makes you the owner and you retrieve all control over the music.
With all that has been said above, it is understood that one requires license or permission to use someone else’s music on your creation. But how does that work? Here are a few ways by which you can acquire music licenses.
For the creators to use better music without any copyright issues, YouTube has a sound library. This has thousands of background music and melody pieces. These are free to use and licensed on YouTube. Using music from here is one of the safest ways.
This music library is open for all creators irrespective of their subscription base.
Under this, if you are an artist working towards doing music covers, you can find a list of available music creators. Creators who have kept their music open for remixing and creative manipulation. Thus, cover artists need not worry if the music falls in this category.
Creative Commons is music that is available for the public to use as per their wish. There are multiple sites online that help you with finding music that is up for creative common use.
However, navigating through them properly is important. Be alert and verify your sources before using one.
Creative Commons also comes with a set of restrictions and you should use the music as per the instructions.
This is a tedious and expensive way to go about finding licensed music. You will need a lawyer’s help to sign the deal and get the right kind of permission. However, this could be the most expensive way of acquiring the rights!
At times, it is not just the artist you need to consult, but the music labels and producers might also come into play.
Stock sites and organizations help you use any music that is available on the internet legally. However, you are supposed to sign up to these websites and pay a monthly or annual subscription.They own music libraries and cut short your struggle of finding creative commons.
Acquiring permissions is their job and not yours anymore.
You can access thousands of songs and music tracks by paying a certain fee for a period. These sites help in streamlining the task of acquiring rights, ensuring proper use, and safeguarding your video.
With these, your journey of creating aesthetic videos with high production quality is easier.
Copyright is a real thing and they protect the creative product of individuals properly. However, they do not take away your creative freedom but just regularise the ways it could be used.
YouTube lets you learn about music copyright laws and policies in its creator academy! Thus, make sure that you do not misuse your rights as a creator. Creating is too much fun even when the rules are followed.