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YouTube Question Live gig and copyright

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Paul Hill

Paul Hill

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You know the answer: Write your own songs.
Yes, but it is so frustrating when everybody else is uploading covers to YouTube and getting loads of growth from them. Hopefully, I will eventually be rewarded for doing the right thing. :innocent:

And I don't say that lightly or flippantly. If you write your own songs, now you can record them and sell your own albums via Bandcamp. You can teach song writing via an online class and charge for that. Writing your own songs gives you so many more business options than singing someone else's songs.

That's what I'm doing.
Takes more time, but that sounds like sensible advice. The phrase I keep hearing - "YouTube is a marathon and not a race" - springs to mind.

Thanks sir
 
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blackbeltsecrets

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This topic is still niggling me. I recently recorded a few lockdown, solo acoustic guitar pieces and I uploaded them to Facebook rather than YouTube due to the fair use, copyright situation. I have a range of material - Pink Floyd, Bach, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder, Green Day.... basically a range of styles. So many other of my musician friends are quite happily uploading their own videos of cover songs or even entire gigs to YouTube and getting loads of views and new subscribers.

I would like to add my acoustic guitar videos to YouTube, but I am thinking long term and keeping my content lesson based, original material and other helpful videos, although I feel that I am missing out on promotional possibilities.

The way I see it is that all online platforms seem to be adopting similar no cover song rules, although it is very hit and miss to whether content is blocked. It is a bit like playing live with somebody turning up at random gigs and shutting them down, but not worrying about the other bands playing gigs in the area. I decided to upload covers to FaceBook because if they are taken down, it doesn't really matter. If I get YouTube strikes, my channel could be removed.

The content ID situation confuses me too. The way I see it is that copyright material is automatically flagged up and it is pot luck as to whether the video is taken down, allowed with adverts earning revenue for the copyright owner or allowed with a split of revenue between the copyright owner and the content creator.

Am I correct in how I am thinking about all this?

What do I do? Should I upload my cover material to YouTube and gamble on it being allowed but without earning revenue or possibly a split revenue?

From what I have read, I need a sync license from the copyright holder to legally upload cover songs. If so, where do I find out who owns the copyright and how do I ask for permission? I still haven't worked out how to do this, if this is the best route to take.

Apologies for resurrecting this thread with similar questions, but I am still unsure of how to plan future content and where to put it.
Hi, IP Barrister here to offer my thoughts.
First off, there is no "fair use" blanked defence to a copyright claim ΓÇö it must fall within a (usually narrowly) defined purpose, such as news reporting, criticism, education or, rather novelly, parodies ΓÇö which have extended the area for critique as a defence.

Second, which will not be what you want to hear, is that your gut feeling is correct ΓÇö you are playing copyright roulette to do cover songs and hope they don't get flagged or get your channel strikes or removed. They may well never get taken down, depending on the artist, but you never know when that might change because copyright (and the beneficial ownership therein) can change. This Apple and the Beatles ΓÇö that will give you a couple of hours' of mind-blowing reading.

The only fireproof way of doing any kind of cover, arrangement, performance, etc, of a copyright is to get a licence from the copyright owner. You would also be advised to get it future-proofed because many licences will expire or be nullified if the copyright is sold.

A pragmatic approach (NOT a legal one) would be to find song covers that have millions of views but NOT from a huge YouTuber - this might indicate that the copyright owner doesn't mind covers being published. This is NOT a safe, legal approach, and can easily backfire.

The best way to find the copyright owner is to start tracing things backwards; i.e. the artist is usually 'signed' by a record company, who is very often the sole owner, but they will very often manage the ownership on behalf of many others who will have a stake in the material - songwriters, publishers, etc. To make matters worse, you would need consent from ALL of the copyright owners to make the licence valid!

The copyright systems on YouTube are changing all the time. One of the more recent changes is revenue sharing - where some copyright owners can opt to share revenue from ads on your video if you have done a cover of their song.

I suppose this is a much longer way of saying what @Damon said - your best bet is to write your own material!

I hope that helps.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

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@Paul Hill Don't just gamble on it, be informed. It can be pricey getting the licenses (and you will need multiple licenses for each song... as I recall you need a mechanical license and a synch license) but this is what you will need to do in order to pursue this. For more information on licenses I suggest checking this out, it's a good read:

You don't need to find the copyright holder, there are websites out there that will take care of this and their work is invaluable. Tracking down who has the rights for specific licenses is an absolute nightmare. It has been a few years since I have dealt with this, so I don't have a website to point you to but you can search 'Music Licenses' in Google to find one. You can also go to BMI or ASCAP and see if they have the song you are trying to license; these two hold the majority of rights for all songs.

Because the prices vary based on a number of variables I couldn't begin to tell you what it would cost, but I did a random search for a generic song and to license it for video use on YouTube in perpetuity for just the US cost $15k. I think that is incorrect, as I have heard that it's more like $3 and I have purchased performance licenses for $20. So again; be aware that prices vary wildly, but be prepared to invest on this project.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

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And finally: I was able to track down the site that I have used in the past for licensing music. The cost for obtaining the license runs $130 (although for $180 they'll do the leg work for you). I can't confirm that you can obtain the license to a synch license and a mechanical license for all songs with this site for all the reasons mentioned in the above video, but I can confirm that this site is my favorite resource for stuff like this. Hope that helps and good luck!
 
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Paul Hill

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Thanks @blackbeltsecrets and @Stanley Orchard. A lot of excellent information from both of you and I really appreciate you taking the time to help me understand the copyright situation. I will investigate the helpful links and keep with my current plan of keeping copyright material away from YouTube. Looks like I need to spend more time writing and less time trying to find ways of legally uploading copyright material. :)
 
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Paul Hill

Paul Hill

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I just wanted to say thanks again for all the helpful information. The restrictions of YouTube's fair use policy and the current coronavirus lockdown situation has resulted in two original acoustic guitar instrumentals uploaded to YouTube, with many ideas for more material to come. I was always taught that two negatives make a positive and this is certainly the case here. Views on the original material are tiny compared to lesson videos, although I am thinking of the long term and the big picture, so very happy.

The composing part of lockdown is certainly more successful than my attempts at learning to cut my own hair, so I must be on the right track. Things can only get better! :)
 
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blackbeltsecrets

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I just wanted to say thanks again for all the helpful information. The restrictions of YouTube's fair use policy and the current coronavirus lockdown situation has resulted in two original acoustic guitar instrumentals uploaded to YouTube, with many ideas for more material to come. I was always taught that two negatives make a positive and this is certainly the case here. Views on the original material are tiny compared to lesson videos, although I am thinking of the long term and the big picture, so very happy.

The composing part of lockdown is certainly more successful than my attempts at learning to cut my own hair, so I must be on the right track. Things can only get better! :)
That's really, really great news! Very glad to hear it keep it up!
 
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