YouTube has employed several systems to protect the ownership of creators and the rights to reproduce the work. The platform uses several automated methods like Copyright Verification Program, Content ID and copyright strikes to prevent copyright infringement. A lot of users report receiving SME Copyright notice when posting music on different websites.
In this guide, we try to understand what SME copyright on YouTube is and discuss all you should know about copyright claims and permissions. We also talk about some of the effective ways you can remove SME copyright.
SME Copyright – A Complete Guide
Whenever somebody creates an original work, he/she gets copyright ownership automatically. The original owner gets the exclusive right to use the piece of work in specific ways. YouTube has developed a tool called Content ID that scans all the uploaded content against a database of copyrighted material uploaded by users. If the content matches against any of these, the platform warns the user of the match and takes necessary action.
There are two main types of copyright in the world of music – Sound Recording and Music Composition. The recording is the original audio recorded in a studio and the copyright is shared by the producer and the artist. The composition, on the other hand, refers to the music and lyrics and the copyright belongs to one or multiple lyricists and composers.
When labels sign record deals, it is common for them to own ‘master’ recordings copyright that enables them to distribute music and make money. Composition rights are often held by publishing firms that take care of the administrative jobs and pay songwriters. A number of sound recordings could be assigned a single composition if the song is recorded by multiple artists.
SME Copyright Claims – What You Should Know?
Millions of people come to YouTube to enjoy music every day, so the platform employs a practice that drives revenue to music creators. It has introduced a technology named Content ID to allow copyright holders to identify and manage their original content on the platform. This system makes it easy for music creators, publishers, and labels to automate their right management.
Content ID is a robust copyright system that helps music owners protect their content and make money by allowing others to use their music in their videos posted on YouTube. There are several ways for these artists and labels to monetize content including subscriptions and ads, opening new streams of income for them.
Sometimes, artists can see the music videos ‘claimed’ by this copyright system on their channel. This is not a bad thing, in most cases, for your channel. It simply implies that the label or the rightsholder has submitted the music to the database of Content ID so that YouTube can handle it better. You can easily find the claimed videos on the YouTube Studio’s Videos page.
Whenever a new video is uploaded on the platform, Content ID scans the video against the existing audio and video content submitted to the system by copyright owners. If any part of the uploaded content matches with the database content, the platform sends a copyright notice highlighting that third-party content has been found in the video uploaded.
When you get a copyright claim, one of these things can happen:
- Your video can get blocked
- Audio can be muted
- Third-party ads can be run on the video
- You can’t monetize on the video
In most cases, copyright owners don’t mind letting you use their music in exchange for running ads on your video to earn revenue. However, getting a copyright claim does not mean you have done something wrong. There are instances where the system returns matches that resemble but is not exactly the same content.
This type of occurrence is common with classical music. Also, you can often find a number of companies representing a single artist or multiple owners claiming rights on one content just for the sake of getting maximum compensation. The original author might not even be aware that his creation was submitted to the Content ID system.
What is SME Copyright in YouTube?
YouTube has several guidelines and policies in place to maintain a safe and pleasant experience. Creators should abide by these rules when uploading content on the platform. One of these rules requires that you upload only the content that you created yourself or that you are authorized to use. Failure to do so can result in copyright issues.
If you use somebody else’s music in your video, the owner of the content can submit a copyright claim and a take-down request. If the platform finds the request to be valid, your video can be removed from YouTube and you get a copyright strike. This happens when the content creator feels that your video does not meet the requirements of the ‘fair use’ policy.
A copyright strike stays effective for up to six months on your YouTube account. During this time, you lose access to some features like being able to upload videos with a length bigger than 15 minutes. There is nothing else you can do if the claim is genuine and you did violate copyright when uploading your content. When you are waiting out the strike, you are asked to answer some questions from a video to complete the Copyright School. If you get another strike during this period, the six-month period restarts. Your account can get terminated if you get three strikes.
When you think that the claim is not valid, you can contact the claim maker before appealing for a strike. You can use the private message functionality to reach the person. If your claimant is a corporation or entity, you should find the copyright department and contact them. When requesting a retraction, you should use a polite tone and explain clearly why you think the strike is erroneous. The claimant is not obliged to retract the copyright claim.
Another way to deal with a copyright strike is to file a counter-notification. You can do this if you think your video meets fair use requirements and it was misidentified. Remember to go for this option when you are sure your video does not use any copyrighted material and the strike is an error. This is a legal step that opens you to lawsuits. It takes up to ten days to process and the claimant can request an order to keep your video blocked during this period.
To submit a counter-notification, you can go to the Copyright Notices part of your YouTube account where you see a list of videos for which you received copyright strikes. You can see an option ‘Submit Counter-Notification’ near each video and can click on the one you wish to dispute on. As you submit your request, the process initiates. You also get a warning that you should start the process only when you are sure to take the case to court. This means you should click the button only if you are sure the video does not deserve a copyright strike. You are asked to enter your information, the details of your lawyer if you have one, and an optional message to the claimant. You also add the reason you think the video falls under fair use.
Another copyright issue is the Content ID claim which does not necessarily mean a negative thing. Such a claim either blocks the audio or runs an ad to earn revenue to the original owner of the content. If you are fine with these things, you can choose not to do anything. A concern with content ID claim is the video getting globally blocked, affecting your account negatively. There are several options when the channel identifies copyrighted content on your video.
If the claim is associated with the music your video contains, you can use the automated tools of the platform to get the problem solved without having to make much effort. You can open the Video Manager section to find the video with a problem and choose the option to remove the song and choose a replacement track from the library.
SME Copyright Permissions & How To Remove SME Copyright?
If you want to use music submitted to the Content ID, the only way to remove the claim is to get permission or license from the owner. A music license is an agreement that allows the copyright owner to give rights to other people. There are several different kinds of licenses like those for distribution and reproduction of songs on CDs or LPs.
Getting a license or permission is easy to difficult depending on the type of music you want to use. If you are looking for a popular song, you may have to consult the publisher and pay substantial licensing fees. There are many composers and music production companies creating music to be used in YouTube videos. Such music can be purchased or obtained from marketplaces and composers.
The problem with copyright permissions is that the Content ID simply informs you about the video containing copyrighted music. It does not tell you whether you hold the license to use the content. This means it is common to get a copyright claim even when you have permission from the licensing company, the copyright owner or have purchased music on a website. The system cannot learn automatically what type of rights you own.
Different types of copyright permissions you can obtain from owners include the right to use the music as background music, the right to use it for business purposes and the right to earn revenue from it. Moreover, there is no direct way for a website or music production company to share information with the Content ID system. This means the claim makers cannot be notified that you own a license or have the rights to use the music.
The only option is to file a dispute against the copyright claim and prove to the copyright owner that you possess the right to use the music in a legit manner. To do this, you require some evidence representing your rights for music usage. It can be a license agreement or permission from the music licensing companies or copyright owners. If you obtained a license online, you can share a link to the conditions of the license and link the disputed song to be able to support the dispute.
Disputing a Copyright Claim on YouTube
Download the license. The certificate can be downloaded from the Download Centre in your YouTube account. This document includes all the details including the information about the person, the track, link to the song on the website, the author’s name, and the terms and conditions of the license.
Upload to a free file sharing service. Make your license document public for a short time by sharing it on Google Drive or Dropbox. Currently, YouTube does not allow attaching files so you will need to add a link to the document in your dispute. This will let the claim maker know you have a license and the rights you were given to cover the use of the music on the platform.
Go to the Video Manager and find the video containing the notice ‘matched third-party content’ or ‘video blocked’ and open it. Go through the details of the notice and dispute the claim by clicking on ‘I believe the copyright claim is not valid’. You may find a button for dispute instead of this type of link.
You will be presented with a screen where you can check the box that asks whether you have a license or written permission from the rights-holder for the content. Then, you may have to add more details or give an explanation for the dispute. Add relevant details and submit the dispute.
Always use content created by yourself, seek permission and get approval from the owners if you need to use the content made by others. There is also a possibility that there will be licensing fees and costs in doing so. It is very important for your YouTube channel to be in good standing especially when you are treating this as a career and you want to monetize your channel.