Royalty Free Music vs. Copyright Music

Recently I was collaborating with someone who sent me a collection of royalty free music for us to choose from for a project. I listened to all the music, but then at end was this text:

“Some songs are copyrighted, but you should be fine as long as you use 30 seconds.”

Maybe I am not aware of some change in copyright law, but as far as I know, if you use even half a second of someone else’s copyrighted music in a video you intend to monetize, you can’t monetize that video. That music is owned by the person who wrote it/made it/recorded it. Whoever actually owns it can monetize your video, not you.

I do believe this is still true. If I’m wrong someone can tell me, but I’d never risk someone maybe owning the music when there is so much royalty free music out there. And the only reason I can figure someone would misguide is either because they don’t know and are perpetuating misinformation, or they want you to think it’s free so they can monetize it once your video is published.

Why not just use music you know for certain does not have copyright issues? Especially when you know someone is going to try and claim copyright rights on it, anyway.

I’ve gotten into the habit of just not including music in my videos. I have been disputing copyright claims on my YouTube videos for almost as long as I’ve had YouTube accounts. And I use Apple Loops because I know they’re free. There’s a link to that detailed information on the internet – it is indisputable. But without fail, someone claims copyright rights, anyway. And YouTube’s message about it is somewhat misleading. I think it’s meant to inspire calm to what might be an immediate panicked reaction to a notice that someone claims you are using their copyright material, but it’s so calm-inducing, one might think they need take no action at all. But you have to if you know they don’t own rights to the music. In fact, if you do nothing at all, you lose the ability to monetize the video. You have to dispute it if you know you have used royalty free music.

I’ve used the same music for years and I’ve had to dispute claims – sometimes on the same video – multiple times. I keep that information at the ready, and when the claim comes in, I copy and paste because I’ve had to this so many times. In fact, some will dispute my dispute and force me to take extra steps to prove they don’t own the rights. It’s worth it. You know you’ve chosen royalty free music, defend that and don’t let people try to take what money you might make. YouTube makes it hard to monetize videos these days,  but we hold out hope because why not? Making money while doing something you enjoy is everyone’s dream!

My advice? Even if you think you “might” or “should be” okay using someone else’s work, don’t risk it. Or make your own music! If I could, I would. In the end, I’ve just left it out because it’s really about the content. If music doesn’t enhance that, it really doesn’t matter.

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