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How to Monetize Copyrighted Music on Youtube?

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Lokesh Pal

December 6, 2023

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How to Monetize Copyrighted Music on Youtube?

Do you know how to monetize copyrighted music on Youtube? Monetizing copyrighted music on YouTube is a complex endeavor, given the platform’s strict adherence to international copyright laws.

As the world’s largest video-sharing platform, YouTube has developed intricate systems and policies, like the Content ID system, to ensure creators, copyright holders, and users coexist harmoniously.

Whether you’re an original music creator or a content creator looking to incorporate copyrighted music into your videos, understanding how to ethically and legally monetize this content is crucial.

This process involves not only adhering to YouTube’s policies but also navigating licensing, revenue sharing, and potential partnerships.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricate world of monetizing copyrighted music on YouTube, exploring avenues available for creators, understanding rights and permissions, and highlighting best practices to avoid copyright pitfalls.

Can I Use Copyrighted Music on Non Monetized Videos?

Using copyrighted music in any video, whether monetized or not, without the appropriate permissions or licenses, is technically a breach of copyright law. Here’s what you need to know:

1. YouTube’s Policy:


YouTube uses a system called Content ID to scan and match videos against a database of files that have been submitted by content owners.

If copyrighted music is detected in your video, various actions can be taken, depending on the copyright owner’s settings.

This can range from blocking the video, muting the audio, or placing ads on your video with revenue going to the copyright holder.

2. Monetization Isn’t the Only Concern:


While monetizing a video with copyrighted music is a clear violation, even non-monetized videos can still infringe on copyright.

The main concern of copyright holders is usually about the unauthorised use and distribution of their content, regardless of whether the uploader is making money from it.

3. Possible Exceptions:


There are situations where you can use copyrighted music, such as:

  • Fair Use: This is a doctrine in U.S. law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes like criticism, commentary, news reporting, education, and research.
  • However, “fair use” is a complex defense and can be subjective, varying on a case-by-case basis.
  • Licenses and Permissions: Some copyright holders may allow their music to be used in videos, especially if you obtain a license or direct permission from them.
  • YouTube Audio Library: YouTube offers a library of music tracks that can be freely used in any videos uploaded to the platform. Some tracks require attribution, so always check the terms.

4. Risks Involved:

  • Your video may be taken down.
  • You may receive a copyright strike (three strikes, and your account can be terminated).
  • The video’s audio might be muted.
  • Ads might appear on your video, benefiting the copyright holder.

How to Monetize Copyrighted Music on Youtube?

Monetizing copyrighted content on YouTube without the appropriate permissions or licenses is a violation of copyright law and YouTube’s terms of service.

However, there are ways to legally monetize copyrighted content, but it requires cooperation with the copyright holder or working within specific systems set by YouTube.

Here’s what you need to understand:

1. Content ID:

  • The copyright owner can choose to monetize the video by placing ads on it. In this scenario, the video remains live, but any revenue it generates goes to the copyright holder and not the uploader.
  • The copyright owner can also choose to block or mute the video or track its viewership statistics.

2. Licensing and Permissions:


If you obtain a license or direct permission from the copyright holder to use and monetize their content, then you can legally earn from the video. Licenses can be:

  • Directly negotiated with the copyright holder.
  • Obtained through third-party licensing platforms that represent the rights of content creators.

3. Revenue Sharing:


In some cases, YouTube facilitates a revenue-sharing model where both the video uploader and the copyright holder can earn a portion of the revenue generated by a video.

This typically happens when a video is detected as containing copyrighted music, but the copyright holder chooses to monetize the video rather than blocking it.

The earnings are split based on predefined terms.

4. Fair Use Doctrine:


The concept of “fair use” allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, education, and research.

However, it’s a complex and subjective defense.

Just because you believe your use of copyrighted content falls under “fair use” doesn’t mean YouTube’s automated systems or the copyright holder will agree.

Relying solely on “fair use” is risky, especially if you’re looking to monetize.

5. Consequences of Unauthorised Monetization:


If you attempt to monetize copyrighted content without the necessary permissions:

  • Your video can be demonetised, blocked, or taken down.
  • You might receive a copyright strike. Accumulating three strikes can lead to the termination of your YouTube account.
  • Continued violations can lead to your account being banned from the YouTube Partner Program, preventing monetization of any content.

How to Monetize Your Copyrighted Content on Youtube?

Monetizing your copyrighted content on YouTube can be a lucrative venture, but it requires an understanding of the platform’s guidelines and best practices.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to successfully monetize your copyrighted content on YouTube:

1. Create Quality Content:

  • Ensure your videos are engaging, original, and of high quality.
  • The more viewership and engagement your videos get, the more potential they have for earning revenue.

2. Set Up a YouTube Channel:

  • If you haven’t already, create a YouTube channel to upload and manage your content.

3. Join the YouTube Partner Program (YPP):

  • Your channel must meet YouTube’s eligibility requirements, including having at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months.
  • Review and agree to the terms and conditions of the YPP.

4. Set Up Google AdSense:

  • To get paid, you’ll need a Google AdSense account linked to your YouTube account.
  • This allows YouTube to pay you your share of the ad revenue.

5. Activate Monetization for Your Videos:

  • Go to the monetization section of your YouTube account settings.
  • Choose the types of ads you want to display: display ads, overlay ads, skippable video ads, non-skippable video ads, etc.

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6. Use Content ID:

  • If you’re a significant content creator or part of a media company, you can apply to use YouTube’s Content ID system.
  • This system automatically scans uploaded videos for copyrighted material. If someone uploads your copyrighted content, you can choose to monetize it, block it, or track its statistics.

7. Engage with Your Audience:

  • Respond to comments, engage with viewers, and promote your videos on other social media platforms to increase viewership.
  • The more active and engaged your audience is, the higher your videos will rank, leading to more views and, consequently, more revenue.

8. Explore Additional Revenue Streams:

  • Consider using YouTube’s Super Chat feature, which allows viewers to pay money to pin their comments on live chat streams.
  • Use YouTube’s merchandise shelf to sell your merchandise right from YouTube.

9. Stay Updated with Copyright Laws and YouTube Policies:

  • Ensure you only upload content you have rights to. This includes background music, clips, and images.
  • Avoid copyright strikes by steering clear of copyrighted material that you don’t have permission to use.

10. Regularly Review Your Monetization Performance:

  • Use YouTube Analytics to track your earnings and see which videos are generating the most revenue.
  • Adjust your content strategy based on insights from your performance data.

How to Use Copyrighted Music on Youtube and Monetize in India?

Using copyrighted music on YouTube and monetizing it in India involves a series of careful steps to ensure you’re in compliance with both YouTube’s policies and Indian copyright laws.

Here’s a guide to help you navigate this process:

1. Obtain a License:
Before you use any copyrighted music in your YouTube video, it’s crucial to obtain the necessary permissions or licenses.

In India, music rights are often managed by music labels or rights societies.

  • Synchronization License: This allows you to synchronize music with your video.
  • Public Performance License: Even though your video is online, playing music in it is considered a public performance.

2. Royalty-Free Music and Stock Libraries:
There are many platforms offering royalty-free music or music under licenses suitable for YouTube monetization.

Some libraries have ties with Indian composers, offering a mix of regional and global sounds.

3. YouTube’s Audio Library:
YouTube provides an extensive library of free music and sound effects that you can use without worrying about copyright claims.

Some tracks might require attribution, so always check the terms.

4. Content ID:
If you’ve legally obtained the rights to use a particular piece of music, and that music is part of YouTube’s Content ID system, ensure you have documentation proving your rights.

This can help in case you get a copyright claim.

5. Monetization in India:
To monetize your videos on YouTube in India:

  • Ensure you meet the YouTube Partner Program requirements. As of my last update in 2021, this includes having at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over the past 12 months.
  • Link your YouTube account with a Google AdSense account to receive payments.
  • Follow YouTube’s community guidelines and monetization policies to avoid any violations that might affect your monetization.

6. Fair Dealing in India:
India’s copyright law has a concept similar to “fair use” called “fair dealing.”

It permits the use of copyrighted works without the need for permission for specific purposes, such as criticism, review, and reporting current events.

However, it’s a nuanced aspect of the law, and claiming fair dealing as a defense can be complicated.

Always consult with a legal expert before relying on fair dealing for monetizing content with copyrighted music.

7. Stay Updated:


Both YouTube’s policies and copyright laws can evolve. Keep abreast of any changes to ensure continuous compliance.

8. In Case of a Copyright Claim:

  • If you believe you’ve received a copyright claim in error (for instance, if you have the necessary licenses), you can dispute the claim through YouTube’s built-in process. Ensure you have all documentation on hand.
  • If you’re using copyrighted content without proper licenses, consider removing the content in question to resolve the claim.

Final Thoughts

Monetizing copyrighted music on YouTube is a delicate balancing act that demands respect for intellectual property rights while exploring avenues for revenue generation.

While YouTube offers tools like Content ID to assist copyright holders in managing their content, the onus remains on creators to ensure they have the necessary permissions or licenses before monetization.

Successfully navigating this realm requires a combination of research, legal consultation, and strategic content planning.

In an era where digital content consumption is ever-increasing, understanding the nuances of copyright and monetization on platforms like YouTube is imperative for creators aiming to ethically and lucratively share their work or enhance their content with the creations of others.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is YouTube’s Content ID, and how does it affect monetizing copyrighted music?

Content ID is YouTube’s automated system that scans uploaded videos against a database of files submitted by content owners.

If a match is detected, the copyright owner can decide whether to monetize the video, block it, or track its viewership.

If you’ve legally obtained the rights to use a particular piece of music and it triggers a Content ID claim, you’ll need to dispute the claim and provide evidence of your rights.

What happens if I use copyrighted music without permission and try to monetize my video?

Your video can be demonetized, blocked, or taken down. The copyright owner, through the Content ID system, can decide the course of action.
Additionally, your YouTube account might receive a copyright strike. Accumulating multiple strikes can result in the termination of your YouTube account.

Can I claim “fair use” if I use a snippet of copyrighted music in my video and then monetize it?

“Fair use” is a complex doctrine that allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes like commentary, criticism, or education.

However, just because you believe your use qualifies as “fair use” doesn’t guarantee that YouTube or the copyright holder will agree.

It’s a subjective defense and can vary case by case. Claiming “fair use” can be risky, especially when monetization is involved.

If I remix or cover a copyrighted song, can I monetize it on YouTube?

Remixes and covers still use elements of the original copyrighted work, so you’ll need permission or a license to monetize them legally.

For covers, YouTube has a system in place that allows for the monetization of certain cover songs, but the revenue might be shared with the original copyright holder.

Remixes, however, often require direct licensing agreements with the copyright holders.

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