YouTube Copyright Claims Aren’t a Video Death Sentence

Note: While this blog comments of fair use policy, it should not be considered legal advice.

After hours of painstaking edits, you can finally see the finish line of your big video project. Immaculate cuts and color correction create stunning visuals. You managed to find just the right balance between informational and humorous tones. All that’s left is to choose a background music track.

Your heart sinks when you realize that Macy Gray is never going to give you the copyright authorization for I Try. You don’t even know how to ask for such a thing. Browsing through license-free music sites yields some deflating results. Hope evaporates.

We’ve been there. We’ve all been there.

Video is the world’s most popular medium. So of course at Stand And Stretch we use this powerful tool. As a visual artform, video creates a connection with the audience that’s valuable to a digital marketer. All good video has accompanying audio, and songs add emotion to a piece.

Things get sticky when your ideal audio track isn’t in the Public Domain (you can’t use Happy Birthday for every video). You don’t want to infringe upon an artist’s copyright, and fair use doctrine isn’t as pliable as some YouTuber’s would have you believe. Seeing “I do not own anything” in a video description is not a stalwart legal defense.

As a content creator, Stand And Stretch deals with copyright claims

Just this week, we got a notice from YouTube that an artist had made a copyright claim against a track we used in a video for a client. That’s when something interesting happened.

YouTube did not blacklist our video, or take it down, or even mute the audio. Rather, it informed us that the copyright owner would receive ad revenue from the video or collect information about views.

Thumbs up from boy shooting video with retro cameraThat’s right, instead of finding ourselves entrenched in a legal battle, YouTube has allowed the artist to monetize his or her work. Now the artist’s song will reach more people and potentially bring in revenue that he or she had never considered. Instead of grinding the train’s wheels to a halt, YouTube has decided to switch tracks.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can freely upload any music you want to YouTube. Copyrights still matter, but they are at the artists’ discretion. If you post something lude and use a popular hit from a Disney Channel star as the soundtrack, the video’s coming down. However, if the video is clean, the artist is actually incentivized to allow you to use his or her work.

Using copyrighted music on YouTube isn’t the high wire act that many perceive it to be. The video site will tell you how uploading a licensed track will affect your project before you even post it. YouTube has created a system that offers artists the option to benefit from wider exposure and ad revenue, rather than stymieing all unauthorized uses of their work.

While time-consuming, videos are fun to make! They connect you with your audience on a level that you simply can’t duplicate, even with the most engaging of blog posts. Don’t let the hunt for music deter you from creating. The worst-case scenario involves taking down your video, and YouTube’s enticing alternatives try to curb those instances.

We love video at Stand And Stretch. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for a host of helpful webinars and tips.

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