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Using copyrighted material on YouTube

3 Mins read
  • Iit is important to respect the copyrights of others and obtain permission before using copyrighted material on YouTube.
  • This can help to avoid these risks and ensure that you are in compliance with the law.

Using copyrighted music on YouTube can be a contentious issue, as it is generally not allowed unless you have permission from the copyright holder or you are using the music in a way that falls under the fair use doctrine. Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows limited use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. It is intended to allow for the use of copyrighted material for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

Factors that determine fair use of a copyright material

Fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis and there are no hard and fast rules, but there are a few factors that are taken into consideration when determining whether a particular use of copyrighted material is fair:

  1. The purpose and character of the use: This includes whether the use is for commercial or non-commercial purposes, and whether it is transformative (meaning it adds something new to the original work) or merely derivative (meaning it simply copies the original work).
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work: This includes the type of work (e.g. a novel versus a technical manual), whether it is published or unpublished, and whether it is factual or creative.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used: This includes how much of the work is used and whether the use affects the market value of the work.
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work: This includes whether the use is likely to compete with the original work or deprive the copyright holder of income.

How to use copyrighted music on YouTube

If you want to use copyrighted music on YouTube, you have a few options:

  1. Purchase a license to use the music: This is the most straightforward option, but it may not be practical for all users. You can contact the copyright holder or a music licensing company to obtain a license to use the music. This may involve paying a fee or entering into a licensing agreement.
  2. Use music that is available under a Creative Commons license: Creative Commons is a licensing system that allows creators to share their work with others, as long as they follow the terms of the license. Some Creative Commons licenses allow users to use the music for commercial purposes, as long as they give credit to the creator. You can find music that is available under a Creative Commons license by searching for “Creative Commons music” or “CC music” online.
  3. Use music that is in the public domain: This means that the music is no longer protected by copyright and can be used freely by anyone. Music enters the public domain when the copyright term expires or when the copyright holder waives their rights. Public domain music can be found online by searching for “public domain music” or by checking resources such as Project Gutenberg or the Public Domain Review.
  4. Use music that you have created yourself: This is the safest option, as you are the copyright holder and can use the music as you please. You can create your own music using software such as a digital audio workstation (DAW) or by hiring a musician to create original music for you.

Risks of using copyrighted material on YouTube without the permission of the copyright holder

Using copyrighted material on YouTube without the permission of the copyright holder can lead to a number of risks, including:

  1. Legal action: The copyright holder may choose to take legal action against you for copyright infringement. This can result in costly legal fees and potential fines or damages.
  2. Removal of your content: YouTube has a policy of removing content that infringes on copyright. If your content is found to be in violation of copyright, it may be removed from the platform.
  3. Loss of income: If your content is removed from YouTube or blocked in certain countries due to copyright infringement, you may lose income from advertising or other sources.
  4. Damage to reputation: Copyright infringement can damage your reputation and may lead to a loss of credibility and trust with your audience.

If you decide to use copyrighted music on YouTube without permission, you risk having your video removed or your channel terminated. YouTube has a system in place called Content ID that automatically detects the use of copyrighted material and allows copyright holders to take action. This includes blocking or muting the video, monetizing the video (allowing the copyright holder to earn money from the video), or issuing a copyright strike against the user’s account. If a user receives three copyright strikes, their account will be terminated.

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