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DEEP DIVE ARTICLE HOW TO GET MORE VIEWS ON YOUTUBE TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

How Much of a Song Can You Use on YouTube Without Copyright?

Music is a powerful tool in video editing. It can add emphasis, emotional impact, and generally change the whole tone of a scene or clip. There is a wealth of free music available, of course.

YouTube itself has a significant library of free-to-use music that you can choose from. But there are times when royalty-free music won’t do.

Whether you’re reviewing songs or you just need a particular song for your content, you’ll no doubt be aware of the minefield that is copyrighted music. You may even be aware of fair use, but don’t worry if you’re not; we’re going to get into all of that soon.

Most YouTubers are aware that you can’t just grab copyrighted music (or any content, for that matter) and put it in your video. At least, not without inevitable consequences. At best you will lose your ability to monetize that video, at worst you will get a copyright strike against your channel, and enough of those will lose your channel entirely!

So, how much of a song can you use on YouTube without copyright coming to bite you in the backside? – The short answer is none! You will need a buy a license to use popular tracks or will need to enter into revenue shares with some artists if they are part of the YouTube Audio Library. If you want music in your videos it is best to use royalty free services or make your own music.

The answer more honest answer is, it complicated – so if you’re with us, we’re about to dive a little deeper.

What is “Fair Use”?

As we’re about to get into a subject matter that strays a little close to legal advice, we must stress that is emphatically not legal advice.

Always seek the advice of a qualified law professional before doing anything that might potentially land you in legal trouble. Now, with that out of the way, let’s get into what fair use is.

Fair use is the name given to the use of copyrighted material in some instances where the use is limited or transformative. You may be wondering what “transformative” means, and you wouldn’t be alone. Inordinate amounts of money have been spent trying to find a clear definition of what constitutes transformative but to no avail.

Established examples of a transformative use of copyrighted material include commentary and criticism, such as news programs showing clips of something accompanied by commentary about that thing. Another example is parody videos.

There is a common myth or misunderstanding that you are allowed to use a certain amount of copyrighted content—a few seconds, say—and you will be protected by fair use. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Fair use covers how copyrighted content is used, not the amount of it.

While it is highly unlikely, it is theoretically possible that the use of copyrighted material in its entirety could be protected by fair use. It would be tough to justify, of course, and the less of a piece of copyrighted material you use, the easier it is to claim that you are using it for transformative means, rather than just stealing it.

It is here that the myth of using only a few seconds comes from; most successful examples of fair use on YouTube are short clips, but the shortness is not what makes them a successful example of fair use. We’ll get more into what these successful examples look like shortly.

To avoid falling into dangerous waters I always use licensing companies like LickD – I pay a small fee per track and know I am covered from all the legal potholes. Go check LickD out, they have a wide selection of popular song and chart music on their website and you can even get one track free!

Fair Use is Not Protection

The main trap people fall into when dealing with fair use is in thinking that it is some kind of protection against copyright claims or lawsuits, but this is not the case.

Fair use is a defense, not a protection. There is no one-size-fits-all application of fair use that a company like YouTube could apply to your usage of copyrighted material. As such, fair use is decided on a case-by-case basis…

…in court.

Yes, unfortunately, the only way to prove you are using copyrighted content within the remit of fair use is by going to court and having them agree with you. And, unless you have a lot of spare cash and time on your hands, the only way that is likely to happen is if you get sued by a copyright holder. Not ideal.

An unfortunate side effect of this is that large copyright holders tend to bludgeon smaller entities with copyright take-downs, knowing full well that the average YouTuber will not have the means to challenge the claim on a legal footing. Combine this with increasingly automated copyright infringement detection employed by YouTube, and you have a scenario in which it is very difficult to use copyrighted content in any capacity.

There are even instances of YouTubers creating cover versions of popular songs using household objects—such as couch cushions and doors—getting copyright claims against them by the owner of the song they are covering.

If you are struggling for places to find free to use and completely safe music – I made a deep dive video on all the places you can find music for free online.

How Much of a Song Can You Use on YouTube Without Copyright Issues?

Now that we’ve taken a deeper dive into how fair use works, we hope it makes more sense when we tell you that the answer to how much of a song you can use without copyright problems is, practically speaking, none.

The reason we say this is because the music industry is particularly aggressive when it comes to protecting its intellectual property. They are not interested in the fair use arguments and will go after any use of their music that they become aware of. Couple that with YouTube’s automated copyright infringement detection, and you have a situation where any attempt to use copyrighted music will likely get flagged.

If the infringement exists (that is, the copyright holder attributed does, in fact, own the copyright to the material in your video), then your only recourse would be to take that copyright holder to court.

It would be extremely unlikely to reach a point where the copyright holder would take you to court, however, as YouTube has plenty of mechanisms in place to protect their interests. From monetizing your video and sending them the proceeds, to removing your channel from the platform entirely.

YouTube will not allow you to infringe copyright continually, so it would take an extremely keen legal department at some music label to see you in taken to court before YouTube resolves the issue for them.

Can YouTubers Control Which Ads Are Shown? 1

Examples of Fair Use

Copying works across a variety of different mediums, including broadcast, is permitted when the use is for examination or instruction, in an academic or industry setting, as long as it meets certain guidelines. Obviously, this is unlikely to apply to your average YouTuber.

An example more relevant to YouTube, however, is using copyrighted content for quotation, critique, or review. Of course, if you post an entire album with little to no commentary, you will struggle to make an argument for fair use. The amount of copyrighted content should be quite limited, and only just enough to get whatever point you are trying to make across.

Other criteria for this kind of fair use include the copyrighted material being publicly available and the source of the content being acknowledged

You can also use copyrighted material of reporting current news, though the situations in which copyrighted music would fit into this category are rare.

Parody, as we mentioned earlier, is also a form of fair use, but this is another area where the boundaries for what constitutes parody are far from clear. Any borderline case may need to be tested in court to receive any kind of definitive decision on the matter.

The final example of fair use involves text and data mining, which clearly doesn’t have any bearing on a discussion about using music in YouTube videos.

Soundproofing Tips for YouTubers

Can You Use Music in YouTube Videos at All?

There are certainly situations where you could use music—even copyrighted music—in your YouTube videos. If you were to obtain the permission of the copyright holder, for instance, you would be legally allowed to use that music as long as you stuck to whatever terms you agreed, of course.

As we mentioned earlier, there is also non-copyrighted music or music with an open license such as Creative Commons. YouTube provides an impressive library of such music for the very reason of helping YouTubers make their content without falling afoul of copyright strikes. Remember, they want you to succeed.

Finally, you could, of course, use your own music. If you make music and you have not given the rights to that music to anyone else, you are free to do with it as you please.

How Much of a Song Can You Use on YouTube Without Copyright?

Should I Use Copyrighted Music in my YouTube Videos?

The only truly safe option when considering using music in your YouTube videos is to use royalty-free music that is licensed for commercial use.

The commercial aspect is important even if you do not monetize your videos, because you may decide to monetize them someday, and, in any case, some people may disagree with your idea of commercial. They may even be wrong, but you don’t want to have to go to court to prove that.

If you can get permission for the music you should be okay to use it in theory, however, it is worth noting that YouTube’s copyright infringement detection is something of a firehose when it comes to seeking out violations.

There are many examples in the past of YouTubers going to great lengths to obtain permission to use copyrighted material, only to have YouTube flag it as a violation.

In some case, copyright holders themselves have fallen afoul of this system. It has not been uncommon for YouTubers who are part of a content network upload a video of one of their own songs on a private channel and get flagged for copyright because their song was initially played on the content network’s channel.

It is far from a perfect system.

Can YouTubers Control Which Ads Are Shown? 5

What Happens if I Get Caught Using Copyrighted Music?

The consequences vary depending on things like if you are a repeat offender, or how the copyright holder wants to handle the situation. If you are caught infringing copyright, and it is your first time, you will likely just receive a strike against your account. Enough of these strikes, however, and your account could be removed entirely.

In some cases, the copyright holder will opt to leave your video alone, but monetize it and claim the earnings. In those cases, you will not be able to monetize your video yourself, even if the offending music only makes up a small portion of your video. Unfortunately, this is a risk you will have to accept if you want to use copyrighted music.

As mentioned above, it is unlikely you would ever see a courtroom from infringing copyright on YouTube. But, as mentioned even further above, nothing in this post should be considered legal advice. The fact that it is unlikely that you will end up in court should not be seen as a guarantee that you will not end up in court.

How Much of a Song Can You Use on YouTube Without Copyright? 1

Conclusions

The world of YouTube copyright is a bit of a minefield when it comes to knowing exactly what you can and can’t do.

The only way to be genuinely risk-free is only ever to use royalty-free music that is licensed for commercial use. Any time you use copyrighted material, even if it is as clear cut fair use as it gets, could see you receiving copyright strikes against your channel, or worse.

If you do have to use copyrighted music, however, remember the guidelines for what constitutes fair use. Only use the absolute minimum of copyrighted music required to get your point across. Make sure the focus of the video is not the content.

Even with some additional commentary, if the point of the video is very clearly just to listen to the music, it will not be considered fair use.

But, most importantly, remember that fair use is not a protection against legal action. If a copyright holder gets a bee in their bonnet about your use of their music and decides to get the lawyers out, you will not be able to hide behind fair use.

You will need to go to court and convince a judge that your use of the content was fair use. It may not be a likely scenario, but it is one you will have to consider if you insist on using copyrighted music in your videos.

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TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books?

“The video was taken down due to copyright infringement”. This is a phrase we have heard any number of times about a video that is no longer available on YouTube.

What does it usually mean? Why do videos get taken down? If I read a book on BookTube, will the video get taken down?

Wait, BookTube?

You read that right. BookTube is the unofficial name for YouTube channels that discuss everything bookish.

BookTubers upload videos about their favorite books, favorite authors, characters, reading habits, and anything related to books. Book clubs like Bookmarked have channels that discuss books monthly.

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books?

BookTube is now so popular that publishing houses have even taken notice of it and they use it when considering what marketing strategies they will use for their books.

Coming up with something creative takes up a lot of time, energy, and even money. Original work is often like a child to the creator and they naturally feel very protective of it as a lot of work has gone into producing it.

Often, creators don’t mind sharing their work for no pay, as long as they get credit for it. However, many people intend to make money or make a living out of their creations and therefore they protect it as one would protect a house or a car. It is their intellectual property.

This applies to films, songs, and written materials like books. This is where copyright comes in.

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books? 1

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a collection of rights automatically owned by a person who originally creates an original work, for instance, a song, movie, book, or even software.

The rights include the right to distribute the work, make copies, reproduce it, derive other works from it, and make money from it. Copyright law exists to encourage creators to produce work by ensuring that their work is protected from theft and that they can make money from it.

It encourages creativity and makes available these creative works to the general public. For a piece of work to be protected by copyright, it has to be:

Creative: It must be innovative.

Original: It must belong to the person. It cannot have been copied from somewhere else.

Fixed: It must be affixed to some medium of expression. It should be available for viewership and should have the ability to be reproduced.

If you came here finding an answer to whether you can make videos from published books, you have come to the right place.

So, Can I Make YouTube Videos from Books?

Published books are copyrighted material, and so you are bound by the very grey areas of law. By the strict black and white wording, blindly reading a book on camera – no. But if you get permission from the owner to make an audio/video version of the work, then – yes!

So really the question should be: to what extent can I use this book in my channel without breaking the YouTube copyright regulations?

Remember that original work is important to the creator and you have to respect their intellectual property rights.

Still it is sometimes possible to use copyrighted material without infringing on the owners’ rights. Before we get into this, we should understand a few concepts about copyright.

Fair Use

Simply put, fair use is a set of exceptions to copyright restrictions. It’s like an open backdoor into a locked room.

These exceptions allow people to use copyrighted material without attracting the ire of copyright police. The fair use lines are, however, blurred, and sometimes it takes a judge to define whether a particular case is a fair use or a violation of copyrights.

To be on the safe side, if possible, get a lawyer to look at your content if you can. Note that the information given here does not constitute legal advice.

Some common guidelines usually given when considering whether something is fair use are:

What You Are Doing With the Content

If you are going to change the content substantially, you may fall into the fair use category. For example, parodies can get away with using copyrighted material, because they change the original content by ridiculing it.

Sometimes parodies even generate more views for the original content. Mashups of songs involve combining different songs in a creative way to make up a relatively new song, so they can also fall under fair use as they significantly change the original versions.

Criticisms or reviews of books or movies can also be fair use provided the critic uses very short clips of what they are reviewing.

The same goes for giving a video or book tutorial with commentaries. However, it all still boils down to creators. They can still complain to YouTube if they feel that their rights have been infringed on. If you aren’t so sure, ask a lawyer.

The Nature of the Content

Non-fictional or factual material is more frequently allowable under fair use than fictional, original material.

How much of the Original Material you are Using

You should use just enough of the material to make your point. Too much would be a violation.

Still, according to YouTube, sometimes even a small amount of the original work can be considered a violation if it constitutes the very core of the work.

For example, if you wrote a work of fiction based on a powerful evil ring that must be destroyed, you would be using the central theme of JRR Tolkien’s entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, even if your story is completely different.

Will it Substitute the Original?

If your work will lead to reduced sales or views of the original material it will definitely be considered as an infringement and will not be protected under fair use.

As mentioned earlier, fair use is complicated. Videos that have complied with fair use can still get reported for infringement and the uploader usually has to defend their work. They have to be really sure of their case.

Some myths about fair use exist and it is important not to get taken in by them in order to avoid an infringement claim.

It’s not Infringement if I Give Credit

Crediting the original creator does not protect you from copyright violation. This cannot be your only claim to your video’s eligibility.

Still, even if your work falls under fair use and is not an infringement, it’s always good to credit the original creator.

It’s Alright if I Use Less Than 30 Seconds of Copyrighted Material

There is no specific amount of duration of content used given for something to fall under fair use. As mentioned earlier, it just has to be reasonable.

It’s Not Fair use if I’m making money out of it

As long as your content falls under fair use, you can still make money out of it.

It’s Fair Use If It’s Only For Entertainment or For Non-Profit

This does not automatically give you fair use status. A court will look at each situation before deciding, always with the interests of the content owner in mind.

If your content reduces the creator’s target audience it won’t matter whether or not you intend to profit from it. Out it will go.

Adding My Original Material to Someone Else’s Copyrighted Work Makes It Fair Use

Adding some original material of your own to someone else’s work does not automatically make it fair use. This is because it still may not substantially change the original, and may in fact make it look worse, hence affecting the creator’s target market or reputation.

I can Decide Fair Use for Myself

Fair use has many grey areas, so it would be risky to push your boundaries as this may get you into trouble with YouTube.

In certain cases, however, when copyright owners demand for videos to be taken down, YouTube protects the content creator under fair use guidelines, for the purposes of encouraging creativity and educating on fair use. This video is an example of such a case.

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books? 2

So, Can I Use Books on my YouTube Channel?

When YouTube was formed, it was originally meant to be a content sharing platform. For years, users uploaded videos containing both original content and content owned by third parties.

Although this attracted a lot of backlash from creators, it took quite some time for YouTube to develop its copyright policy. In the meantime, many people became famous for videos that contained third party content.

One example is Alex Day, who would post videos of himself reading large chunks of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books and making funny and sometimes derisive comments about them.

A blatant copyright violation.

His videos eventually got taken down once the platform’s copyright policies came into effect. These policies changed how people uploaded content about books as they could no longer read out texts without violating the policy. Even if they credited the authors.

However, some channels have managed to maintain their success. KidTimeStoryTime and Brightly Stories are two such examples.

Their success is due to the fact that they have collaborated with the copyright owners when producing their content. Both channels do read-along of books on their videos but with consent and in collaboration with publishers or authors of the books they feature.

It then becomes a win-win situation.

The channel can make money from the content they use, and the copyright owners benefit through the marketing of their books.

What Happens If I’m Accused of Copyright Infringement?

One of two things can happen if you violate someone’s copyright. These are discussed in the lines to follow.

Content ID Claim

Companies that own copyrights like music and film production companies issue Content ID for all the material they produce. This enables them to quickly identify their content on YouTube. YouTube has a system that scans every video uploaded against an existing database submitted by copyright owners.

If a match is found, YouTube will automatically file a copyright claim for the original content owner. If it was a mistake on your part, you can appeal on those grounds to YouTube. Still, the final verdict will lie with the copyright holder.

If they insist and can prove you have infringed their copyright, you will have to take down the video, or have it taken down by YouTube.

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books? 3

Some content ID claims will only prevent material from being available in some parts of the YouTube community, or may allow it to remain on the platform but insist on directing any revenue earned by the video to the copyright owner rather than the uploader.

Sometimes the phrase “included copyrighted content” will be displayed with the video to track the video but not actually block it. It also does not negatively affect your YouTube status.

You’ll know of a claim against you in the copyright notice section of your channel’s video manager. In some cases, you get notified via email.

Take-down Notice

This happens when a copyright owner notifies YouTube of a copyright violation with legal consequences. If the complaint satisfies all legal requirements, YouTube takes down the video.

The video will display the phrase “Video taken down: copyright strike”. If you get three copyright strikes, you get a lifetime ban from YouTube. Yikes. Worse, even after that, you would not be able to recover your videos.

Once you get a copyright strike, YouTube requires you to take a short course and do a quiz on copyright regulations to refresh your memory. Something else to note is that a strike doesn’t last forever.

It usually lapses after six months, and once that happens your slate is clean. Still, you don’t want to have a reputation as a copyright violator. Lastly, you can still negotiate with the copyright owner to keep your video up with certain conditions, such as limiting viewership in certain regions.

Conclusion

Always keep in mind that the YouTube algorithm is very good at finding copyright violations, including something as simple as background music.

Although you can licence music much easier with companies like LickD who have a wide library of tracks to use – check out their site.

So even if the original owner doesn’t notice it, YouTube definitely will.

To have good standing in the YouTube community, make sure you avoid getting caught on the wrong side of this law. It’s usually fairly easy to get permission from a content owner to use their content if you ask nicely and can prove that your use of their content will not in any way hinder the distribution of their work.

So go ahead and make those books, but be careful, and remember, when in doubt, ask a lawyer.

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TIPS & TRICKS VIDEO YOUTUBE

What Is Fair Use On YouTube? – Copyright Fair Use For Dummies

What Is Fair Use On YouTube? — Fair Use For Dummies // Fair Use on YouTube Explained. Fair Use is a US loophole that allows you to use clips of copyrighted material as long as you follow certain guidelines. Fair Use explained and simplified into 3 core points.

1–80/20 Rule — Use more of your OWN content than anybody else’s.

2 — USE MULTIPLE SOURCES — If you can reference more than just one person or clip to illustrate your point then that shows them you are being fair.

3 — CREDIT THE OWNER — Make sure you name drop or name the original content creator in the video or description.

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