6 Legal Issues of Using Music in Your Online Videos – 2024 Guide

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Since we’re becoming a technologically dependent society, the demand for new online content is constantly growing every day. Many people see this as an opportunity to become influencers and develop a business that would be both fun and, with a little luck, a great source of income. All internet content creators use background tunes, whose role is more than significant as it affects the better experience of the published content when visiting the website. The music completes the overall impression that the posted video should leave on the viewer.

However, you probably aren’t fully aware of how long it takes from choosing a song to its implementation and reproduction through the chosen video. This process must be carried out in accordance with copyright law, which becomes more complex over time.

Don’t live in delusion and think that no one will notice if you use a song from YouTube which is intended only for a group of fans and try to take advantage of the whole situation by trying to monetize your content. You need to have permission from the owner of the tune for each and every background song you implement that exists somewhere on the internet already. Otherwise, you’ll be in trouble with copyright.

This article will give you basic information on how to be legally clean in a situation like this, so make sure you check out the following lines.

  1. Is music protected by intellectual property law?

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The American copyright law came into force in 1923. All musical works published after that are protected by this law. So, when you decide which song you would like to use in the background of your content, first check when it was published.

Of course, there are always exceptions, so it can happen that the work isn’t protected for two reasons. The first reason may be the mistake of the owner who didn’t renew his copyright for some reason, and the second reason is the failure to meet prescribed standards for legal protection. Those that aren’t protected by intellectual property laws can be used without the risk of consequences. Otherwise, the owner’s permission is required.

  1. What are the consequences when you risk by not asking the owner for permission?

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Whether you take the risk or not is up to you. We advise that, if you aren’t sure that the use of the particular tune is legally justified, you should take some time and deal with legalization. Only in this way will you be able to publish your videos in a relaxed manner and wait for the reactions of the viewers, without the risk and inconvenience of bearing the consequences if you get busted

At times even the best lawyer cannot guarantee that you’ll avoid punishment. At best, if you don’t get permission or don’t bother to get it, you may be asked to remove the content. But it often happens that instead of a warning for copyright infringement, you get a lawsuit from the owner. Therefore, it’s quite simple – if you don’t want to pay dearly for your mistake, obtain the permission of the copyright holder.

  1. How can you get permission?

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Once you realize that you need the author’s approval, you must start looking for the person who made the tune you chose. It’s necessary to determine who’s the copyright holder of intellectual property and contact him. Although this step seems complicated and chaotic to you at the moment, know that there are ways to find them with no hassle.

What complicates the whole thing is the fact that more than one person always participates in making a single music track. Lyricists, composers and publishers are generally the holders of the rights to the written song. The recording rightsholder also forms part of this crew. Among all of them, you’ll have to find the person you need to contact.

  1. How to identify the copyright owner?

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Identifying the owner is a key step to reaching the desired goal. Sometimes it doesn’t have to give you too many headaches as you can find it by simply looking at the copyright notice. Here you can find a company from which you can continue your search and your way to getting the authorization you need.

A record label or publisher is generally a good place to start your research. You can certainly find information about them through the rights protection association since they all belong to one of the three main organizations – SESAC, BMI, or ASCAP. Their databases can be a good source of information for you. If that doesn’t work, try music licensing companies.

  1. How to contact the owner for a potential contract signing?

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Once you have reached this step, now is the time to find a way to get in touch with the owner. Contact shouldn’t be a problem. You can easily find their email address on the Internet and send a message or a letter. This way, you should explain your intentions, what kind of content you’re publishing, as well as what music you specifically want to use, how, and where. Do your best to convince them of the value of your project in order to secure their consent.

Finally, ask them to return the signed letter to your address, or simply contact you by phone – you’ll be able to continue negotiations in that way later. In case you get permission to use it, expect that you will have to pay a fee for that from the money you’ll earn from the views.

  1. Is there a place where you can find music for legal use?

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If this whole process seems too complicated, there are ways to make it simpler. Some commercial organizations and companies such as www.joystock.org have created audio collections and contacted independent musicians, renting their music at low prices. This makes the cost of licensing significantly cheaper.

In this case, the client buys the right to use that music legally for their own needs. The best thing is that with the increase in views on YouTube, the amount of the fee doesn’t increase, but the right is bought only once and continues to be used, without the need to pay the fee with an increase in followers.

Posting your video content on YouTube recklessly can give you big headaches. Therefore, it would be good to get well informed beforehand and find out if you meet all the legal norms that regulate your area. It’s the only way to share videos with your followers carefreely and continue to do what you love and make money without fear of consequences.