Can I use a copyrighted song if I don’t monetize?
You cannot use a copyrighted song without permission, whether you monetize or not. Adding credit to the composer or declaring that you do not own the music is not gaining permission and will not exclude you from copyright infringement.
It does not matter if you have no views on YouTube, no subscribers or just making videos for fun, you must always ensure you have permission to use a piece of music before uploading to YouTube.
Many content creators make the mistake of believing they can avoid copyright issues on YouTube because they have a small audience. YouTube has an automated system called Content ID, which scans millions of videos looking at the music signature of the video.
As a result, if the music in your video is not cleared for copyright use, there is a very high probability you will be issued with a copyright strike.
Can I use copyrighted music if I give credit?
Giving credit to the music artist does not exclude you from copyright infringement. You must have permission to use the music in your video or otherwise, you are in violation of copyright law.
Adding a statement to your video declaring that you do not own the music or adding a music credit will not protect your video from a copyright strike on YouTube. You must always have permission or clearance to use any music in your video from the copyright holder.
How many seconds of a song can I use without copyright?
There is no minimum amount of time that is acceptable when using copyright music. All the song is covered by copyright so using as little as 5 seconds, 10 seconds or 20 seconds is still in breach of copyright law and would count as copyright infringement.
As the full song is covered by copyright, using just a few seconds as intro music is still considered copyright infringement.
Can I use copyright music under the “fair use” terms?
If your video is related to the fields of research, teaching, private study, reports, or education, it may be possible to use copyright under the terms of “fair use”
Depending on fair use as a means to justify the use of copyright music is generally not recommended, as what is considered “fair use” is subjective and the scope of the copyright exception is generally very limited.
If you do decide that you qualify to use copyright music under the terms of “fair use”, be prepared to justify and prove this.
If a musical artist or record label feels that they are entitled to a claim or are “out of pocket” they could claim copyright infringement.
In a nutshell, “fair use” is a grey and subjective area and best avoided if you plan to release your content on YouTube.
To read more about “fair use”, check out this article
How can I use copyright music safely?
The best approach to using music in videos on YouTube, particularly videos that you plan to monetise, is to use royalty-free music that is pre-cleared for YouTube.
You can find royalty-free music from a number of sources, from independent producers such as myself, or even the YouTube Audio Library.
Below is a link to a royalty-free music library that is:
- Free to use – no hidden fees
- Safe to use on YouTube
- Provided with a full music license
- You can monetise your videos on YouTube safely
Here is a link to the free royalty-free music library:go to > free music for youtube
Here is a link to the license page to check that this music is suitable.read free music licence terms
How to get in touch with questions?
Here is the best email to contact me directly: email@example.com