In this article, we are going to know about that How To Legally Use Copyrighted Music on YouTube. Stay tuned!!!
I’m often asked how I use copyrighted music on my YouTube videos.
People are always very surprised when I tell them that I purchase the rights for ALL of the music used in every video!
When you stop and think about it, legally using copyrighted music on YouTube is a no-brainer.
Well, let’s say you want to upload a video about your World of Warcraft character dancing in his underwear like the geek that he is (or for the ladies, perhaps she is in her Wonder Woman costume).
You’ve got this great idea for your video and it would be so cute if you used Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” as the background music.
So, you upload your video to YouTube and of course, it goes viral because who doesn’t want to see a World of Warcraft nerd dancing in his underwear?
People are loving your little video about how geektastic your character is so, at this point, hundreds of thousands of people are watching your video on YouTube.
Here’s the thing, Carly Rae Jepsen has no idea that you used her song in your video, but she’ll find out soon enough when all of a sudden she starts getting royalty checks from YouTube for “Call Me Maybe” being played over 500 thousand times!
She’ll also find out that she is making money off of YOUR video.
So what does this mean? It means you better be paying Carly Rae Jepsen for the right to use her music in your video or YouTube will take it down.
I know what you’re thinking now, “But I’m just a little nobody on YouTube who doesn’t have any money to pay Carly Rae Jepsen!”
Well, don’t worry.
Luckily for you and all the other little nobodies out there on YouTube who want to legally use copyrighted music on their videos, there are companies that will purchase the rights for you allowing you to legally upload your video with copyrighted music!
The obvious choices for these companies are:
How To Legally Use Copyrighted Music on YouTube: Common Objectives
The good news is that you can avoid all of this by following a few simple guidelines.
If you follow these steps, your video is more likely to remain online and will most likely be protected from a copyright infringement claim.
1. Prove the Music is Yours or Public Domain:
Before you release any video on YouTube it’s important that you clear the music with its owner(s) and/or PRO (Performance Rights Organization)
You have to contact everybody who created any part of that music!
The lyricist, the composer, and the performer.
This is very important! You can’t just use any old version or recording of a song on YouTube – you need all rights for each version!
If you are using a cover version of the song, the rights owner may not have all rights for recording so you will have to contact them also!
The lyrics are usually unchanged unless there is commercial value in it being changed.
But you will still need to contact the lyricist.
You may also not be able to monetize that particular video on YouTube depending on how much of the song you use and your audience, as this could be considered advertising for a commercial product (the artist).
2. Use Only Free Music :
There is more and more free music appearing on the web every day.
It’s a great opportunity to get hold of music cheaply or even for free!
You won’t have to worry about any legal issues with this type of music.
There is plenty of free music available from some very reputable sources (* see below), and once you know where to look it can be found easily.
Almost all of these websites are full of copyright-free music, but it’s always advisable to read the terms and conditions just to be sure that you are getting what you want.
Don’t use any site that charges a membership fee!
Some sites will offer free registration for various periods which is fine if this is all you need but avoid any site that demands money to access its music, no matter how much it is.
Also, stay away from AudioJungle and other sites like this because you will find they have lots of expensive music tracks in their libraries and even though it’s sometimes free on promotional periods the copyright owners can withdraw them at any time so check out what you’re paying for before you buy.
3. Use Only Free Images :
You should also avoid using any pictures or images that are not royalty-free unless they are watermarked with the initials of the copyright owner!
Not only does this protect your video from being taken down by the rights owner because you haven’t cleared their music, but it can also protect you from any legal action that they might take against you!
You can find lots of royalty-free (meaning it is free to use for anything) images on the web, but doing your own photo searches often turns up some great results too.
The more specific you are with search terms, the better. If searching on Google be sure to use the advanced search options.
The more specific you are, the better the chances of finding what you’re looking for.
4. Be Aware Of Redirectors:
These websites will not give you any problems if your video is only using Creative Commons or public domain music and images, but they can present issues with copyrighted material so you will need to use them at your own risk.
These sites are quite easy to find when you search the web, just keep in mind that not all of these redirects work exactly the same way, so read about them before using them.
There are ones for images and others for audio.
It’s always better to play it safe than have to take your video down or worse.
5. Advertising :
If you are putting ads on your YouTube videos, this will mean that certain parts of your video can be used commercially.
When using music in a monetized YouTube video it is always good practice to check what you can use and what you can’t just in case so it’s easier to avoid costly mistakes.
There is a great chart here that gives you all the lowdown on what you can and can’t use in your monetized videos.
It covers artists that require tracking and allows or restricts specific advertisers etc.
The information given in this article is based on the law in the US and other countries may have different rules, so please do not act on this information alone.
6. Just Remember – Always Check :
This may seem like a lot of hassle, but it will save you time and money in the long run!
It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your videos (and yourself).
Sadly some users upload videos to YouTube that contain copyrighted music without realizing it, so it’s always good practice to check what you’ve used before uploading your videos.
This will save you hours of wasted uploading time, and time is money after all!
Also, be sure to check which category your video falls under.
If you use copyrighted material and don’t fall into any of the categories allowed by copyright law, it will violate YouTube’s terms of service.
Add your own suggestions in the comments below and we’ll put them up here. We all want you to succeed, so share what you know.
You can also get in touch with the rights holders of any material that you’ve used and ask for permission to use their music or images, but never simply assume that it is ok to do this without asking first!
7. New Music Sources :
The following sites are new sources of copyright-free music that you can use in your videos:
This site has a wide variety of tracks, and they all seem to be pretty decent quality.
The music is for “non-commercial” use only, which means you can’t make any money from it (like selling it to someone else etc.), but you are allowed to monetize your YouTube videos, etc.
On each track’s page, you will see a note telling you what kind of license the music falls under Creative Commons, Attribution, or Public Domain.
It is important that you stick to this for your own protection.
This site has free indie music that is good quality and free to use if it falls under the “Creative Commons” license.
The tracks are not particularly current, but the music is pretty good.
All the artists seem to be independent which may be why they decided to offer their music for free (they were probably sick of signing away rights that they never get back).
Quick Links :
Conclusion: How To Legally Use Copyrighted Music on YouTube 2023
YouTube is a wonderful source of entertainment, education, and just pure joy.
Unfortunately, YouTube is also a huge breeding ground for piracy through the unlicensed use of copyrighted music in videos.
With pirated music flooding almost every video on YouTube, it’s hard to find legal music that you can incorporate into your own productions.
Thank you !