Press "Enter" to skip to content

Start Searching the Answers

The Internet has many places to ask questions about anything imaginable and find past answers on almost everything.

Yes, you can. To do so, you would need to contact whoever has these rights (or their representative) and purchase a license. For most small businesses, this is too expensive to do for popular music.

Can I use copyrighted music in my personal video?

Copyright law is a complicated topic, but get it wrong and you could end up in hot water (we’re talking copyright infringement hot). The fact is that unless your video is only for your personal use (as in, not sharing it online anywhere) you must get permission from the copyright holder to use any music on YouTube.

Can you use copyrighted music if you don’t make money?

Not necessarily. If you use another’s copyrighted work and make no money off of it, you may still have committed copyright infringement. If you did not intend to make money and, in fact, did not make money off the copyrighted work, a judge may be more inclined to find fair use of the work.

Can I use 30 seconds of copyrighted music?

This is one of the most common misconceptions. Unfortunately, this is not true and there is no bright line rule that says a use is an acceptable use as long as you only use 5, 15, or 30 seconds of a song. Any use of copyrighted material without permission is, according to U.S. copyright law, copyright infringement.

How do nonprofits use copyrighted music?

In order to use music, movies, or television shows legally, a nonprofit needs to get permission from the copyright holder. Oftentimes, getting permission includes paying a fee; and because there’s a fee, many nonprofits try to use the copyrighted material for free, hoping they won’t get caught.

Do you need permission to cover a song on YouTube?

When someone records and releases a song, you are free to do your own cover version of that song by obtaining a mechanical or “compulsory” license. Therefore, you need a synch license as well as a mechanical license to legally publish a cover song on YouTube (unless the song has fallen into public domain).

Anyone can cover anyone else’s song, and its creator cannot say no (that’s the compulsory part). But if you do cover a song, you must pay a royalty to the song’s creator (that’s the licensing part).

Can you cover a song without permission?

Once the song is released, anyone can do a cover of it and sell it without asking permission. The composers of the songs will get royalties, no matter who sings the song – but the performer only gets royalties if they’re the one singing on the recording.