Can I use 10 Seconds of a Copyrighted Song? | YouTube Music Facts

10 Seconds of a Copyrighted Song

Can I use 10 Seconds of a Copyrighted Song? | YouTube Music Facts

Using copyrighted music on your own content is not allowed. You can’t use 10 seconds of copyrighted music even if it is 1 second of a song that is copyrighted. Doing so can lead to legal issues and if they hold the license you won’t have much of a defense. Best to use royalty-free music like Stream Lofi.

Youtube is an excellent way to discover music. But, fair use is a concern for creators who want to share their music on Youtube. Here is a quick taste of what we have with no copyright attached at all:

Some believe fair use only applies to certain types of videos and not others. This article will explore fair use and provide some tips on how fair use applies to Youtube.

Music plays a major role in our lives today, but many creatives struggle with fair use in the digital age.

The internet has made accessing music easier, but it has also made fair use more difficult than ever before. In this article, we’ll look at fair use and give some simple tips that will help you navigate the world of fair use today.

How many Seconds of a Song Can you Use?

The answer is 0 seconds of a song if it is copyrighted. You will hear people say you can use a 10-second clip or even 30 seconds but you can not.

No matter what if it is copyrighted you can’t use it unless you have a license or permission and even with permission it can be tough.

Music rights are usually controlled by a third party, such as a record label or media company (Warner Bros Records for example). They will want the majority of revenue from your video if not all and not just fair credit.

You can find creative copyright-free music that will allow you to play it in the background and use it on a video, podcast, and anything else you can think of. We recommend using Stream Lofi as it is 100% copyright-free and has 4 albums as of the creation of this article.

Since we are the owner of the audio we can legally say no copyright claims will happen to your channel. We also have a YouTube channel where you can subscribe so you can get an idea of the songs that are right for you.

What About Fair Use?

When referring to music or video in general, you generally cannot use copyrighted material without permission from the owner of the content (the record label). The concept of fair use will not apply to music videos uploaded on Youtube unless they are copyright-free or under the public domain.

The music that is playing in the background of a video is copyrighted music. Unless the music playing in the background is under a creative commons license (which you have) or under the public domain, it’s not permitted to play copyrighted music in the background.

Whether fair use applies depends on the context and purpose of the video. The fair use doctrine is not a catch-all provision.

When videos are monetized, fair use becomes even more contentious. There are some easy ways to handle fair use in music and these tips can be used when deciding whether or not fair use applies to your circumstances.

In our own words, and this is not legal advice anything considered fair use is more of using someone else’s video or clips to provide more creativity or criticism on the video topic you are making. It’s used as a resource for your existing video and not taken away from the creator themselves.

You create a video and just need extra information for your video to support your commentary but keep in mind no music can be playing in the recording. You don’t have to obtain permission for this though it is nice to reach out and ask first.

Since it is so hard to get an ok to use the new song by Ed Sheeran the chances of getting permission are rarely going to happen if it is a popular artist unless you pay a lot of money for a license. If you do that make sure to file it and refer to it in the description.

Writing where you got the music from in the description can help if someone is trying to target you manually for a copyright claim. The best way to use music is to use only copyrighted free music you can trust or music in the public domain.

What About Public Domain

The public domain is a special category of copyright. When a song or book falls into the public domain, it will lose its copyright protection and thus be able to be used by others without permission.

A song can enter the public domain in different ways, but there are only two ways for the song to fully fall into the public domain:

The song was published before 1923 and was not renewed.

The song was published between 1923 and 1963 without a proper notice of renewal.

Note: Be mindful that the song could still be copyrighted in other countries outside of the US or Canada unless you can prove otherwise for your particular video. The best way to do this is by not using it in a video at all and going with royalty-free music.

Generally, a song can fall into the public domain between 70 to 120 years after the 120 years you can be assured that it is no longer copyrighted as long as it was never renewed.

This is a very long time and you are looking at music that is extremely dated.

Royalty Free Music (Copyright Free)

Getting a copyright infringement is never something you want on your YouTube channel. To get permission on a very popular song is not going to happen either.

The way to make this happen is to make sure the copyright holder allows you to use their music and it is royalty-free.

You can find royalty-free songs on (Amazon, Spotify, iTunes & YouTube) and there are a lot of other places online to get music from that is 100% copyright-free for use in Youtube videos.

Royalty-free refers to the fact you will not have to pay any royalties when using them and is illegal if they do. If royalty-free music is used there is a very good chance the song will be completely in the public domain and can be used freely without worry.

What Happens if Your Video Ends Up Being Copyrighted Work

What happens if your Channel gets a Copyright Infringement? YouTube will do one of two things:

Remove Monetization

YouTube will remove the money you receive from the video and give it to the copyright holder.

It is always a good idea to use free songs, but if you do get hit with a copyright claim they will usually tell you what song and artist it is.

Though at times they won’t tell you anything and expect you to guess what it is. You can mute or replace the song inside your YouTube dashboard if they did tell you which one is the issue.

If this happens you will want to do it quickly as the time this takes the money will be going to the copyright holder. It also takes a long time for YouTube to run this process but once it is completed the money will revert back to you assuming no other copyright law was broken.

Take Down Request

A takedown of your video can happen and then you will have a chance to go against this. This is a rough process, if you say you are in the right and there are no copyrighted issues the person that is doing this to you will get your full information and contact number because of this a lot of people will do fake takedown requests to annoy the channel creator and get their contact information.

Meanwhile, they don’t even have to tell you what time or what is being copyrighted. Simply they say it is happening and YouTube trusts them and hits you with the claim…talk about frustrating.

Not only that you agree that they can take legal action against you and there is a chance for your channel to be deleted. Also, a lot of people that do this are not even the copyright holder they are just trying to make a buck at someone else’s expense.

The video will be reviewed by YouTube and if they think you are in the right they will go back to the person that requested this and ask for direct proof. At this point they have about 15 days to send proof of the copyright claim is completely deleted and the video is reinstated.

Will YouTube Find my Copyrighted Work

Every time a video is uploaded YouTube will scan the video for copyrighted work. This happens automatically as they can match your sound with all others very quickly, this process usually takes 2-3 minutes depending on the length and they can do it while the video is uploading.

This helps you as most of the time you will know if there is an issue before the video is even live.


Remember to always use free music to avoid copyright infringement and video takedowns. You may not always be able to use the songs you want on YouTube, but there are options!

The above information also goes for sound effects. Keep in mind that sound effects can be considered copyrighted.

There are many places you can find free music online, like StreamLofi on Spotify.

Keep in mind this is not legal advice if you have any questions you should reach out to an attorney of law. I am simply a YouTuber of over 5 years and have been through this process many times.