Finding free and safe to use copyrighted music that you can use legally in your content is essential for creators.
As a general rule, you can not use copyrighted music simply by giving credit. You must have permission from the music copyright owner before using music in your content and projects.
It is a nice courtesy to give music credit to the music composer or music artist, however, simply stating that you do not own the music does not make you exempt from copyright infringement.
At the end of the day, you must always have permission from the music owner before using their music in your projects.
These days, this is becoming easier and simpler to do, so using music in your projects can become a stress-free and less daunting task.
In this article I will cover:
- How can I legally use copyrighted music in videos?
- Can I use copyrighted music on YouTube if I give credit?
- Can I use 10 seconds of a copyrighted song?
How Can I Legally Use Copyrighted Music In Videos?
Here are the steps a music user will typically take to use copyrighted music legally in their videos:
- Pick your music.
- If the music is from a royalty-free music library, check their licence terms.
- Ensure that your music use intentions are allowed within the music licence terms.
- Ensure you receive a written music licence agreement.
- If the music is from an independent artist, contact the artist.
- With music direct from the artist, ensure that you have cleared the publishing and master rights.
Typically, there are two ways to source music that you can use legally in your videos:
- Use a royalty-free music library that specialises in music for videos. (This is the easiest option)
- Use the traditional method of licencing a song via a music publisher or record label.
Option 2 is traditionally used for famous songs, music from individual artists, or music that is not part of a music production library.
For example, if you wanted to use the latest Ed Sheeran hit in your video, you would need to contact the music publisher who manages Ed Sheeran’s music and perhaps even the record label.
Option 2 is a long and tricky process. This is because music copyright can belong to and be managed by multiple parties and often you must clear two sets of music rights (publishing and master rights) when going down this route.
Can I Use Copyrighted Music On YouTube If I Give Credit?
As a general rule, you can not use copyrighted music on YouTube by just giving credit. You must have permission from the music owner before using their music, or it must be pre-cleared for YouTube, otherwise, you could be in breach of copyright law.
Stating that you do not own the music does not allow you to use the music without permission.
With the free YouTube Audio Library and so many free royalty free music sites, there is little reason to use copyrighted music illegally.
Can I Use 10 Seconds Of A Copyrighted Song?
There is a common misconception that it is OK to use a shorter piece of copyright music, for example, 30 seconds or less. This is not true.
You must always have permission to use music in your projects regardless of the length of music used.
YouTube, Instagram and other media platforms use algorithms to scan hundreds of hours of audio. If they find a match on your content, and they believe you don’t have the correct music copyright permissions, you will receive a copyright strike.
Of course, the longer the piece of music, the easier it is for the scanning algorithms/bots to find a positive match. However, dodging the scanning bots by using shorter pieces of music is not a legal or safe approach.
You must always have permission from the music owner to use music in your projects, be it for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or any other media platform, regardless of the length of music used.
When sourcing music for your videos, it is important to be aware of the two traditional options available to you: using a royalty-free library or licencing a song from an artist.
If you decide to use a royalty-free library, make sure that you read and understand the licence terms before proceeding.
If you choose to licence a song from an artist, the process can be long and tricky, but it is worth taking the time to do it correctly as you will have permission to use the song in your video.
Always remember that regardless of which option you choose, you must have permission from the music owner before using their music in your project. Using copyrighted music without permission can lead to copyright strikes and other legal issues.
Content Disclaimer: This blog is intended as a guide only for educational and informational purposes. It is not legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters.