YouTube Copyrights

Hi Community, it’s since I have posted my last AVOYP that I have this doubt. Now today I see @alexisduprey arising the same issue while commenting @SDKissFan post. So when I posted my Hallelujah cover I got a Copyright notification from YouTube and under the title I see “Rivendicazione Copyright” which means Copyright Claiming. Why is this happening? I’m not using any materials but my guitar and my voice - plus the video has not of course commercial purposes and it can been seen only by those who have the link.

In short: should I remove the video from YouTube? :flushed::face_with_monocle::hushed: It doesn’t make any sense to me.

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It does pick up copyrights because you are using a melodic line that has been licenced by the creator/label. You don’t have to remove it, all it means is that you can’t monetize the recording you did.

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Music copyrights have gotten out of hand and seeing that Youtube puts adds on videos there is money to be made. The copyright holder (usually not the artist but some gready publishing company) want their cut of that money.

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Yup, @adi_mrok explained it really well.

It’s mostly not a problem because for the most part I get the copyright claim and it says that they allow it to be shown on youtube (either with no monetization or with ads that revenue go to the copyright holder I believe). There is a rare instance when I get the copyright claim and youtube doesn’t let me finish the upload, but again that’s really rare. The biggest bummer is spending all the time working on a cover only for youtube to tell you that you aren’t allowed to upload. You never know the copyright holders policy so you just have to sit and wait it to go through youtubes systems and pray that they allow it.

I get it though I guess, it’s their song and they want to make sure someone else isn’t making money off of it.


Thanks for your replies @adi_mrok @stitch @alexisduprey

So if I’m understanding correctly I can leave the video without fearing any consequences because I’m not monetising it. Right?

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I believe that’s correct. Youtube would not have processed it at all after the copyright claim if the copyright holder didn’t allow youtube videos.


@SILVIA no need to worry it just mean you won’t make any money off your video. Look at it this way you did such a good job at playing Hallelujah that the copyright holder noticed. :+1: :+1:


Yes correct. I view getting a copyright strike as a good thing, the song sounds how it’s meant to!! :wink:


+1 on this comment. I haven’t had a CR strike in forever because I change all the covers that I play by at least 10%-20%. I don’t have enough YT subs to determine if this is a good or bad thing. I also don’t change things for that reason, I change things to put my own spin on the music (or find my own voice). Most of the time the song title and artist’s name will tip off the CR watchers/police/nazis.

The best approach is to probably not give a rip either way. :slight_smile:


Oh wow :face_with_hand_over_mouth:…maybe the copyright is put only in the lyrics in this case :rofl::rofl::rofl: But it’s only a few videos I’ve been posting and this is the first time it happens and I had to ask. Thanks to anyone for your replies!

I don’t believe that’s correct. A copyright strike is different to what’s happened here.

From youtube…

A copyright “notification” is a different thing and can be viewed as Notter said as a good thing.

I was, like you, particularly nervous when I first posted a cover on youtube and once I went through the process a few times it made more sense. One of my covers got the copyright notification you got which as others have pointed out means I can’t monetize that video. I’ve had it up for months without any issue.


Yep, it’s a notification and not a strike. It could be called a copyright whamma-jamma for what it’s worth. I’m as far from monetizing youtube as I am from walking on the moon. :wink:


Copyright is a complex subject and IANAL.

But what is relevant here is that there are multiple copyrights in play for any piece of music.

One of these copyrights is on the commercial recording and arrangement. In order to publish, perform or broadcast a specific recording of that song, you are required to have a “mechanical licence”. These are licences that organisations like MCPS administer.

This is probably what you were thinking of when you said:

But there are also copyrights on the song composition itself which are owned by the songwriter(s) (or whoever they sold the rights to). This is the rights to things like the song melody and lyrics.

This covers all publication of sheet music, tabs, lyrics, etc. as well as any performances of that composition. You are supposed to have a public performance licence to publish the song in any of these ways, and that is one of the things that organisations like PRS administer.

In performing a cover version of a song, you fall under this copyright.

And whilst your intent may not be to use it “for commercial purposes”, YouTube is a commercial platform who gain commercial advantage from you posting content on it. So there is a commercial element.

Now, of course, requiring everyone to always apply for a licence before publishing or performing any song would be onerous in today’s age of YouTube and similar platforms so, what has happened is that rights holders and YouTube have come to an agreement that, instead of you having to apply for a licence, YouTube will, effectively, grant you one on the basis that the original rights holders assert some ownership of the video you post and are allowed to either remove it (if they really want), limit how and where it can be viewed, and to monetise it by placing ads on it.




YouTube copyright is totally out of hand. There is a principle of fair use and YouTube completely annihilates it.

You know what’s ridiculous? My Greensleeves cover a while ago - which was an arrangement by Justin, of a folk songs hundreds of years old and clearly in the public domain - got a copyright claim on it. However I protested it and I just checked… they removed the copyright claim. Not that it matters for money, it’s only had 68 views, it’s the principle.


I agree, but for different reasons.

There is, and it does.

However, the principle of “Fair Use” does not apply to making cover versions of songs.

As I said before, any “performance” of a copyright song whether it is in a theatre, on a street corner, or on the Internet requires you to have licence. The copyright owner asserting ownership of such cover versions on YouTube is entirely legal and, arguably, reasonable.

What is, IMO, unreasonable is the way they do it which is heavy handed, extremely error-prone, not subject to reasonable review or dispute.

This leads to abuses of the system, such as when smaller artists have their material stolen by big record labels who then copyright-strike the original songwriter leaving them with an uphill battle to regain ownership of their music.

Another good example of abuse, where they don’t own copyright. In this case to a public domain piece of work.

Part of the problem is there are no penalties for big companies who abuse the system YouTube has put in place, and another problem is that the original copyright owner who issues the strike is the judge and jury who, if you decide to dispute it, decides whether to accept your dispute or not.

Where the “fair use” part does come into play is when creating a YouTube video which is a “transformative” piece of work that is substantially different from the original such as for commentary, criticism, or parody.

So, a cover song isn’t “fair use” because it’s not transformative, but a parody version of the same song with substantially different lyrics could be.

It also depends on the jurisdiction. Fair use in the US falls under specific laws, but different countries have different laws.

In the US, for instance, fair use covers “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research”.

So, an example of where fair use is being trampled all over is Rick Beato’s “What Makes This Song Great” videos where he provides commentary, criticism (usually positive), and education by breaking down famous songs.



P.S. A reminder: IANAL


That’s mental JK, I don’t suppose it was ever revealed who the claimant was?! Even viral videos built up through the magic 68 view number :wink:

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Very interesting discussion, I’ve often wondered about these things.

Does this mean that a youtube song tutorial is covered by “fair use” (in the U.S.)? Can these videos be monetized by Justin or Marty or whomever?

In theory, it can be used, but probably not monetised. If you monetise it, you are straying into “commercial use” and “fair use” tends toward non-commercial applications.

There’s no strict lines here though.

(As I understand it… IANAL).

It should, however, mean that the creator can dispute the original copyright holder from monetising it too.

But this is another area where YouTube practices and policies are messed up.



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This is not something I thought I would have to consider when I started at the beginning of the year.

There are some very knowledgeable community members, which is great.

I do wonder Mods if this could be a particular topic in AVOYP where we novices can post any copyright issue for advice, of course on IANAL basis,(had to look that up). @Richard_close2u @DavidP @LievenDV


PS I have posted two AVOYP so far and not heard anything from YT, don’t know if I should be pleased or disappointed.

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@MAT1953 you would see it when you log into YT Studio. On your dashboard you would see adjacent to each video uploaded “copyright claim” if applicable. If you then click on the video and then click on “copyright claim” it will normally say something like “copyright protected content found. The owner allows the content to be used on YouTube”. If you want to know a bit more about the YT content checking system, this maybe worth a watch YouTube Content ID - YouTube