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If you’re a budding content creator, you’re probably excited to dive headfirst into making your videos.
You’ve got your script, you have your camera and your microphone, maybe you even have a few costumes picked out. You also have a killer soundtrack.
But is your music free of copyright?
Copyright-free music is essential for any new Youtuber that wants to consistently create work that they love (and maybe make a little money on the side).
But why does it matter? If the music is already on the platform, what happens if you use it?
Let’s talk about it.
Keep reading to learn the things that you need to know about creating Youtube videos with copyright-free music.
What Is Copyright?
When a piece of intellectual property is born into the world, the creator is able to copyright it. Copyright covers most areas of creation, including but not limited to: physical art, music, poetry, animation, and more.
All published or unpublished creative work is automatically copyrighted from the time that it is created, though not everyone registers it officially.
A copyright allows the creator to have some protection against theft of their property, even if they’re not officially registered.
Unregistered work is protected by copyright but it may not have as much legal standing. The creator may have a harder time proving that the work was originally theirs.
Registered work can allow the creator to sue for damages. If the creator wants to pursue legal action, they generally need to be registered with the government.
Not pursuing legal damages isn’t the same as allowing anyone to use their content, however. There are other methods of retaliating against someone who is using their work without payment or permission.
What Happens If I Use Copyrighted Music?
Using copyrighted music might seem harmless. Sometimes it is. Youtube isn’t perfect and it won’t always catch when you’re doing something that you’re not supposed to do.
While it is legal to use copyrighted music on Youtube with attribution, you will likely lose any ability to monetize your video. The money will go to the copyright holder and you’ll have ads on your video that aren’t benefiting you at all. This is all if your video doesn’t get muted or taken down.
If your video uses music that’s in Youtube’s Content ID system, Youtube will flag it for a copyright check. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be taken down, but it means that the copyright holder has been notified of the misuse of property.
They may do nothing. If you’ve gotten permission from the owner, it’s likely that they’ll let it rest. If you haven’t gotten permission, one of several things can happen.
The video might be muted completely, meaning that all sound (including the music) is gone. The video might also be removed from Youtube altogether. You might also just have to give your revenue up as we mentioned before.
Overall, it can be a massive headache. That’s why copyright-free music can be so helpful.
What Is Copyright-Free Music?
When people say copyright-free, they often mean royalty-free.
Copyright-free music is going to be music that’s in the public domain. That means that the copyright has expired, been waived, or been forfeited. Some creators put their music into the public domain for visibility or just for the sake of allowing Youtubers and other artists to create more work.
What most people think is copyright-free is actually royalty-free. As we mentioned, a copyright is created immediately upon creation of the intellectual property. True copyright-free music is rare and intentional.
Royalty-free music, however, is different. Royalty-free music is generally still copyrighted, but you’re able to use it anyway. You can purchase a license (which is generally a one-time fee) and use the work freely afterward. The creator isn’t being paid royalties from your work.
The creators are still paid for their work and you have the freedom and flexibility to use their music in your own monetized videos or creative projects without the fear of being muted.
Because this music isn’t actually copyright-free, you will get flagged if you use it without permission. You still need to pay the creators and get the go-ahead to use the work.
Where Can I Find Royalty-Free Music?
Plenty of creators make royalty-free music. Royalty-free music allows them to get their name into the industry while still earning them a bit of money.
Youtube has a small catalog of copyright-free music and any public domain music is going to be copyright-free and safe to use. You may recognize some of the tracks from your favorite Youtube videos. Some of them are used frequently, which can make some videos seem very similar.
If you want royalty-free music that isn’t the same as everyone else’s, you may need to go out of your way. It may seem wasteful to pay for your tracks when there are free options, but that’s how you can stand out from the crowd and make a unique and professional project.
With the wealth of royalty-free music online, you can find almost anything to match your general “vibe”.
Finding Music for Youtube Is Complicated!
Trying to navigate royalty-free and copyright-free music is harder than simply slapping your favorite track onto your video and calling it a day. Finding the right music is crucial though. You don’t want to make an awesome video just to have it slapped with a copyright strike.
If you get enough strikes, you might even lose your account. Use music that you can legally put onto your videos instead! It’s worth the extra effort.
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