1. How does Youtube know I have permission?

They really don’t.  But if you have permission to use copyright materials, it wouldn’t be a problem.  The process is same. You would normally upload the video.  Once you get flagged from copyright violation, there is a way to dispute it.

It is important that when you have a permission to a copyright material, you save all the proofs of the permission. So that when you dispute, you have something to show Youtube.  In worse case scenario, your Youtube video would be down for few days.  Once you show Youtube the proof of permission through dispute progress, they will not bother you again.

The proof of permission could be anything.  Most likely, the proof of permission is an email or a letter from the artist or publisher.

2. Do I need to contact the artist to get permission?

No, you don’t have to contact directly with the artist to get the permission. Copyright process is done by the publishing company. All the big artists have publishing company that handles these matters.  Besides, contacting artist directly is almost impossible.  Big artists usually don’t let the public have access to them.

But in some cases, you can contact the artist directly if they are smaller independent artists who doesn’t have publishing company.  If the artists don’t have publishing company, then you have no choice to contact the artist directly.  Usually independent artist are pretty good at getting back to you because, many ways, it benefits them if other artists use their songs or music.  They want their musics to be out in the public much as possible.

3. Can I get permission after I upload the copyrighted maters?

So what if you already uploaded a video and get a copyright warning from Youtube. Can I still get permission from the artist after the fact?  Yes.  Of course, it is better and easier if you get the permission before you upload the video, but it is still possible to get the permission after the fact.  The process is still the same.  Contact the publishing company or the arts and ask for permission.  Once you get the permission, dispute the copyright warning with Youtube.

However, if copyright flag caused you a strike with Youtube, you are out of luck.  When you get a strike with Youtube, it means that you did some thing illegal.  It doesn’t matter if you did it unintentionally or not.  It would be very difficult to get permission after you get a strike with Youtube.  Even if you get a permission to use the material, it would be very difficult to get the strike cleared from your account.

4. What about music from games?

What about other medias such as music from games?  Getting permission to use the music from a game is bit different.  First, you have to find out if the game publisher owns the music or the music creator has the ownership.  One way to do is to contact the game developer or game publisher and see if they have the copyright ownership of the music.  If not, see if they have the contact information of the owner of the music.  But game publishers are known not to share their copyright materials too often.  But it is worth trying.

5. What about video footage of TV shows or movies?

Getting permission for video footage is same process.  You have to find a owner of the video.  In case of video footage of TV shows or movies, the production studio who are involved in creating the video owns the footage. So you have to contact the studio.  Likely of getting permission to use the video footage of TV shows or movies are pretty slim but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

6. What happens when there are more then one publishers?

There are some cases where there are more then one publishers who are deals with the media you are trying to get permission for.  Some songs or music has over 4 or 5 different publishers.  The reason why there are more then one publishers is because these publishers handle licensing in different regions in the world.  For example, one publisher handles United States area, where as other publisher handles Europe and Asian.  Easiest way to deal with it is contacting the first publisher in the list and ask them if they can process the request.  If they cannot handle your request, have them direct you to the proper publishing company for you.  Usually they are pretty good about direct you to proper publishing company to handle your request.

7. If I monetize on Youtube using the song, is it consider profit?

Yes.  The definition of profit is when you make money in some way using the song or video.  If you have sponsor, ad revenue, paid product placement, and even someone paid you to make the video, they are all examples of profit.  If you make money from the song or video, the owner of the song or video has right to know.  Most likely they are not going to let you use their song or video if you are going to make money from it.  If they do, they want some cut of your profit.  Some of them require you to go through licensing process if you are going to monetize it.

8. What about background music?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if it background music or not, music is a music.  Even your video accidentally includes songs or videos in the background, you are required to get permission.  The reason is because there is no way for publisher to know if the music is there accidentally or not.  The creator could easily put it in the background purposely.

9. What if I change the original music in some way? (for example, cover music)

Unfortunately, long as the song is recognizable by any means, it is recommend to get permission to use it.  It doesn’t matter if you just reciting the lyrics, playing music without the lyrics, or doing acapella version of music. The reason is because, you need to protect yourself from lawsuits.  There are many lawsuits about exact thing. The song or music doesn’t have to be same.  As long as has some resemblance, the publisher wants to get recolonized and cut of the profit from it.  The publisher is trying to prevent another artist to rip off their song and make profit from it.

10. What if I don’t hear from the publisher?

You need to understand that the publisher get nothing out of it by responding back to you and letting your use the song if they are not making any money from it.  In fact, it cost them money just to take time to respond back to you.  So when they do respond back to you, they are actually doing you a favor.

Knowing that if the publishing company is not responding, only way to do it just be persistence, and hope that they will eventually respond back to you.  There is nothing more you can do. There is reason why the publishing company makes the process difficult.  They want you to take it seriously and don’t misuse their songs or music.

10 Things You Should Know About Getting Copyright Permission to Use Music on YouTube

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