How to Credit Copyrighted Music to YouTube Video

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Bernard Perron
@bernardperron
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If you love creating videos for YouTube, you know that incorporating the right music can be a game-changer. Maybe a low-key background tune is all you need sometimes. But for a certain video, you might have a specific song in mind.

This is where many YouTube creators run into the hurdle known as copyrighted music. As a platform, YouTube takes the issue of copyright very seriously and has specific guidelines for its creators.



Navigating this system may seem a little overwhelming at first, but once you understand how to avoid music copyright strikes, the process will become automatic. Here's everything you need to know about how to credit copyrighted music to your YouTube videos.

How to recognize copyrighted music on YouTube?

If you want to add a copyrighted song to your YouTube video, there are several ways to do it. Before acknowledging copyright in any way, you must first obtain explicit permission from the copyright owner.

This process should not be too complicated. If you already know the artist in question, just send them an e-mail to ask for their permission.

Naturally, this becomes tricky and often impossible when adding a song from a major recording artist. You would have to talk to the record companies in question, negotiate the license and pay a lot of money.

The final option is to work with a royalty-free music company that offers quality music for commercial use. Once you have permission, you must always acknowledge the copyright for each video used.


To do this, add a description below the video noting that the music is copyrighted and that you have formal permission to use it.


Understanding YouTube Music Copyright Guidelines

Original musical compositions and sound recordings are copyrighted, and YouTube is vigilant in tracking any infringement. The last thing anyone wants to do is post a video on their channel and get in trouble.

It's important to bust some pervasive myths about music copyrights and YouTube to make sure this doesn't happen. A common mistake is to believe that crediting artists is enough to circumvent copyright laws.

The same rule applies even if the video is demonetized and used for non-profit purposes. Also, many inexperienced creators use copyrighted songs because they've seen other creators do the same.

YouTube has different approaches to penalizing channels, and sometimes the author of the music has given permission after it has already been used.

Also, trying to "beat the system" using music you've recorded from TV or a movie doesn't work. It is still considered copyrighted content and violates YouTube's rules.

Finally, adding a disclaimer stating that the copyright infringement was unintentional may seem like a solution to the problem, but will still trigger YouTube.

How to Check if a YouTube Video Has Copyrighted Music

To keep track of copyrighted music, YouTube uses a robust system called Content ID. Every video uploaded to the platform is digitized and checked against Content ID's database.


Each recording artist can contribute to Content ID and decide what action YouTube will take when a video matches their work.

They can either block the entire video from being viewed by anyone or monetize it by running ads and even sharing the revenue with the video's downloader. The third option is to track the video's audience and take no further action.


But let's see how the Contend ID system works in action. First, you need to create the video you want to post to YouTube.

  1. Go to your YouTube page, click on the profile picture and select "YouTube Studio".
  2. Click "Create" in the top right corner and select "Upload Videos" from the drop-down menu.
  3. When tracking the video download, pay attention to the "Verifications" tab.
  4. If there is a copyright issue with the video, the "Verifications" tab will display an exclamation button to report an issue.
  5. You can click "See Details" next to the "Copyright Claim Found" message and see what that means for your video.

Depending on the action chosen by the author of the music, you may not be able to monetize and all funds from advertisements will go to the artists. You may also need to completely delete the video.

However, this message may appear even if you have a license to use specific music. All you need to do is contact the copyright owner listed in the "Copyright Summary and Status" section and ask them to contact YouTube and remove the claim.


What is a YouTube copyright takedown?

As we've established, a claim of copyright infringement does not mean your video will be removed or your YouTube channel will be penalized. If the music you used is part of the Content ID system, in most cases your video will remain on the platform but could be demonetized.


On the other hand, you can get a copyright takedown or strike from YouTube if the owner of the music sends a formal notification to YouTube asking for the video to be taken down.

So, if you upload a video with copyrighted music without explicit permission, it may stay online for a while. Eventually, it will be deleted, and when you click on the link to the video, you might see the message "Video Deleted - Copyright Warning" instead.

However, uploaders who receive this kind of treatment unfairly can request a takedown by submitting a counter-notification within three months of the takedown.

Make the Most of the YouTube Audio Library

Creating a YouTube channel can be stressful enough without worrying about copyright claims and takedowns. If you are worried about using music in your videos, there is a solution to consider to avoid the problems.

You don't have to compose a melody or sing your own song. Instead, you can rely on the extensive YouTube library. These entries are royalty-free productions that every YouTube creator can use without worrying about copyright laws.

There are over 1 free music entries, categorized by genre and mood. Artists are also listed next to each song. YouTube also offers hundreds of sound effects that can improve the quality of your videos.

Many creators rely solely on this copyrighted music, and that's why it can sometimes seem like every video on YouTube sounds similar. But it's a hassle-free approach. Here's where to find free music on YouTube:

  1. Log into your YouTube account.
  2. Click on your profile and select "YouTube Studio" from the drop-down menu.
  3. On the left side of the screen, click "Audio Library".
  4. Browse music and sound effects.

Successfully Navigating YouTube's Copyright Rules

In the United States, every original work, whether in physical or audio form, receives automatic copyrights. It can be incredibly difficult to track who is using other people's work without permission on social media and YouTube.

Unfortunately, many consider it sufficient to recognize artists, but that is not how it works. If the music you used in the video is part of the Content ID database, you can still keep the video online, but you may have to opt out of monetization.

However, if the music is not part of the Content ID system and the user who uploaded it is not authorized to use it, the video will be removed from the platform immediately. When in doubt, the YouTube audio library is often the safest option.

Do you upload to YouTube? How do you choose the music to include? Let us know in the comments section below.

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