Friday, June 15, 2018

How to make money with stolen music – copyright claims on YouTube

Being a YouTuber, it happened to me several times that years after having published a video, someone asserted a copyright claim because of the music used. I was allowed to continue publishing the video but the claimant placed ads in the video and got paid for it. This is called monetization.

That's how YouTube informs video artists about a pretended copyright violation.

How did this happen? I used music from Free Music Archive. On this website, you will find, among others, music which is royalty free and can be used for YouTube videos. But not all tracks are public domain. In some cases, the authors decide later to earn money with their music. They add their tracks to YouTube's Content ID system. When YouTube's algorithm finds this music in videos, it monetizes them. In the end, this is quite fair because the YouTuber got music without paying royalties to improve his video. Nevertheless it would have been better if the author had reserved the right of monetization from the beginning on in his terms of use.

Earlier this month I was very surprised when [Merlin] Altafonte Music Distribution claimed that I would use in my video at minute 1:04 the sound recording "maz-Buena Vibra" on which they would hold the rights. I could keep on using it but they would monetize the video, i. e. placing ads and earning money with it.

I didn't even know a track called "Buena Vibra" nor an artist named maz! The piece of music I used is "Cute" by Bensound, an artist who allows YouTubers to use his track in their videos unless they are unchanged and unless his website is credited as a reference.

I googled maz's track and finally found it on Spotify. There is a song called "Buena Vibra" by this artist.

The stolen song is also distributed on Spotify.

The first two and a half minutes, I wondered what this track has to do with "Cute" and how YouTube would have recognized it in my video. But then I was astounded: from 2:30 on, the track contains Bensound's "Cute" in full length. A 100 % sample you could say! I informed Bensound. He had not given a permission.

So, what has happened? Somebody put on the market a foreign piece of music as if it was his own (or even two; who knows where the first two and a half minutes came from?) using a firm called CD Baby. It publishes digital music on well-known platforms like Amazon and Spotify and collects the royalty fees. It seems that they also use YouTube's Content ID system.

CD Baby allows musicians to merchandise their work as music streams or even on vinyl or CD.

CD Baby certainly acted bona fide when they claimed pretended rights of [Merlin] Altafonte Music Distribution and believed that I would have used the piece of music by maz in my video without permission. Actually maz audaciously stole it from Bensound to earn money with it.

In such cases, YouTubers should dispute a file on YouTube and indicate that they have a license or permission from the proper rights holder to use this material. Then the monetization will be suspended and the claimant has to react. In my case [Merlin] Altafonte Music Distribution abandoned his claim.

You should not copy this business model. It can not only have consequences by civil law but could also be punished. CD Baby will delete maz's track due to Bensound's claim.

1 comment:

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