Quick Method to Check if a Song is Copyrighted
To quickly and accurately check if a song is copyrighted use the largest content ID system there is YouTube. Simply add the song as a short video and upload it in MP4 format. YouTube will tell you in minutes if it is copyrighted on the checks menu, it actually checks as the video is uploading.
If you have a song you want to use and you’re not sure if it’s copyrighted or if you can use it, here is a simple method that will help.
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How Can You Tell if a Song is Copyrighted
If you want to check if a particular song is copyrighted there are a few ways to go about it but there is only one way I would recommend. The main way I would recommend checking if it’s copyrighted music is by using a small little platform called YouTube.
YouTube is by far the best copyright checker in the world and it’s because they have to be. YouTube uses what is called the Copyright Content ID system which allows the owners of the music tracks to claim this music for their own. How it works in a perfect world is the song creator claims the song.
They then choose what to do with their own music. They can all it as free music, which not many do, but we at Stream Lofi do.
All our music is copyright free and you can click on the navigation bar at the top to use our music on your choice of platform. Anyway, back to the topic. They can also check their audio library to be ad supported music.
This can work one of two ways, usually, they allow you to get a small taste of the ad revenue off this video but they can also take it all for themselves. When I’m saying small taste I mean small.
I have had this happen to me and the video would go from making say $1.00 a day to $.01 a day. This can be tough when you are a YouTuber as if your song gets claimed you are really in for it.
You can choose to replace the song or mute the track but this can cause some issues if you are talking over the song if it’s just background music. Another thing that can happen is they can block all the songs they produce in some countries or all of them.
If you then try to use it on your YouTube channel you can get a copyright strike, and you know the saying, 3 strikes you are out and so is your YouTube account. If this happens you will notice in YouTube Studios and they will never let you forget it…
Just to recap and make this a bit easier to understand, here are the types of things that can happen when you make YouTube videos and use copyrighted music:
- Ads Limited [Copyright Claim]
- Full Ads [Copyright Claim]
- Blocked in Country [Copyright Strike] Assumig it’s your country.
We mentioned copyright strikes are bad, well copyright claims basically mean nothing except you won’t make any money on that video unless it’s limited ads then you will make about 01% of the ad revenue from my estimates of this happening.
Now that you know the different steps YouTube will take if you use copyrighted music we can move on to show you how to check if the music is copyrighted. If your channel is monetized you definitely want to avoid all of these or you will make no money.
YouTube now plays ads on all YouTube videos even if the channel is not monetized. They do this to help keep up with their rising costs and I mean they do allow us to use the platform for free so I think it’s only fair personally.
They store a lot of videos and have them all ready instantly.
How do you check if a song is copyrighted on YouTube 2021?
If you want to check to see if you have any copyright restrictions on a YouTube video it’s easy to do. Upload your video in the creator studio dashboard. YouTube has an extremely impressive upload system as they have reworked most of the platform lately to make it even faster.
When you upload the song make sure not to choose public, you want it to be unlisted or private. YouTube’s advanced content ID system actually scans the video for copyrighted materials WHILE IT’S UPLOADING!
This is some crazy technology they got. They do this so you can know as quickly as possible if you have any issues and before you schedule the YouTube video to go live.
YouTube calls this feature “Checks”. If you see all the checks with a checkmark then you are good to go, if it’s saying processing you may need to wait a bit more.
Finally, if there is a red exclamation mark then you will need to find other music to use. This is by far the quickest way to check if music is copyrighted in our day and age.
If you are wondering, can I just use a few seconds of a copyrighted song, find out the answer here.
Other Ways to Check if a Song is Copyrighted?
Are there other ways? Yes, if you really feel up to it you can search the public domain and get an idea of the song is copyrighted or not.
To do this you would have to sift through lots of old music as most public domain music is 70 years old and there is also a chance it may have even been renewed and if that is the case you will be waiting another 70 years.
Ok, so the public domain is basically the old way to check for old songs. Why go through this when YouTube can tell you in minutes (assuming it’s a 3-minute video being uploaded).
That’s why I stay away from the public domain process, there are other sites that claim to help you with this but we just found them to be a waste of time.
There is also royalty free music available from some websites and I used these for years. They are safe and work but even though the word free is in the 3-word name it is not free.
How it works is you sign up for a royalty free music subscription that usually lasts a year, though you can pay monthly and just pay more. Then you can use any of these songs for a lifetime in this period of time.
That basically means say you have a subscription and you make a video and release it while your subscription is active. You are good and you don’t have to worry about any issues even after your subscription expires.
Now if you made the same video and you messed up and scheduled it for the day after the music expires, they as the copyright owners will file a copyright claim and take your profits from that video.
How do I know this? Well, I made this mistake myself When making thousands of YouTube videos there are so many little things that can happen especially when it comes to copyright free music.
Do I recommend royalty free music services? Sure, it’s not bad if you have the money, and most of them you can use for educational or commercial purposes but you do want to check the fine print as some of them offer a much more expensive plan when using it for commercial projects.
For an annual plan, most of the services for royalty free music start around $300 and go up from there.
What makes a song copyrighted?
There is a lot to unpack on this topic and we have already gone into depths on it explaining copyrighted songs and what makes them so.
Let’s give a brief summary though of what makes a particular song copyrighted. Well, they are all copyrighted the moment they are created for the first time by the original creator.
However; there are different licenses required to use the tracks.
We touched on this above, basically, the music can be free to use after 70 years if not renewed. In other words, if you are not looking for older songs then this isn’t for you.
Free to Use with Attributes
The artist allows you to use the music as long as you let everyone know it’s their music. This is usually done in the video description and at times it may link back to their original work.
This is usually for non copyrighted music and helps them get a bit more attention on their work since they are letting you use the music track for free.
Free to Use
Completely free! Don’t see this often but there are some that just give you it for free to use as Stream Lofi does. Click here to check us out on Spotify and use it any way you want.
Creative Commons Music
Good luck figuring this one out. There is a creative commons license that may allow you to use some of the track if you are adding more to it as content creators try to do.
This is very hard to figure out and very vague as the ultimate decision could be figured out in court. I don’t want to face legal trouble so I stay away from this one.
If legal trouble isn’t your thing then I recommend that as well.
This is the high quality music the very popular music that you want in your video.
Now if you are trying to put in a song by Ed Sheeran and you have 5 subscribers I would think again and find another artist for personal use. If you are a huge company making a Super Bowl commercial then this can work if you are able to get explicit permission from the artist or record label.
Once you have written permission you can use the track as outlined in you agree most likely for commercial use. Now you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement when your commercial goes live with these popular songs.
Where can I find Music to Use?
There are two places I know of well that have copyright free music and that is this website and YouTube audio library. The YouTube audio library does have some good tracks from mostly indie artists.
If you dig far enough you can really find some gems and they also have sound effects which are nice. Yes, sound effects also need a copyright license.
What a drag to get an amazing musical composition that you can share with your friends, even on a social media channel that can also take down your copyrighted song, Twitter for example will do this.
To find the YouTube audio library go into your YouTube Studio and click Audio Library on the left, scroll down if you don’t see it right away.
Another option is Stream Lofi! Yes! That’s what we do here.
We create free new music to share with the world so you don’t have to worry about all these public domain songs or royalty free this or that. You just get quality music and as the copyright holders, we release all the songs to you, even for commercial use.
Our entire catalog, yes all the music we own is copyrighted free with unlimited access. I hope you enjoy and please let us know if a song really moves you!