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A Clicker’s Guide To Avoiding Video Copyright Issues

It’s a common problem for many filmmakers both professional and amateur – copyright laws. What content can you use in your video legally and without consequence? It’s easy to justify breaking copyright law by thinking that you’ve got away with it in the past and loads of other businesses do it. But failure to heed this advice could result in your YouTube/Social Media account being frozen or deleted, or even worse, a lawsuit against your business.

Having music over the top of videos is essential to add some atmosphere and cover up any soft background noise like wind or traffic. So, I’m sure you’ve heard that Ed Sheeran Song ‘Shape of You’, it’s catchy right? M&S used it in an advert a while back. Maybe you’ve bought it on a CD to play in your car or as an mp3 file on your phone, maybe you found it on YouTube for free. Can you use it over the top of a video? That would be a no.

Facebook and YouTube have software in place to detect copyrighted music and it will be flagged up and as a first precaution stripped of all audio. You’ll then be asked to prove you have the rights to use the music, which unless you contact the record company directly you won’t be able to get.

So, as much as that track fits perfectly with your video, forget about it, it’s more trouble than it’s worth! Instead, turn to YouTube’s Free Music Library. There must be thousands of pieces of music that are all copyright free. Some are better than others, so try a few out and see if any appeal to you.

Don’t Get Beat Up

YouTube will now pick up on copyrighted music and instead of banning its use; it will allow ads to run on your video. Not ideal but ask yourself if it’s worth it, sometimes the answer is yes.

Also, remember that even if you find a video that says ‘Royalty Free’ this doesn’t mean it is copyright free. What this means is after you purchase the song rights initially, you don’t have to pay again, it’s yours to use as many times as you like.

Even copyright free music can come with terms and conditions that declare you must credit the creator when it’s used. A small note of text in the video description will suffice.

Don’t Be A Video Pirate

You’ve made your video, but now you’ve added in parts of someone else’s video as well without their permission. Similar to music, you can’t do this without permission, but Facebook and YouTube won’t be able to detect it. However, if the original content creator gets wind and sees you’ve been making money using the content they made, then they may demand compensation, which can cost you thousands.

Keeping Your Record Clean

Here’s a simple breakdown on how to make sure your videos tick all the right boxes:

  • Use only video footage you or someone else in your business has recorded
  • Include your logo in the bottom corner to prevent others from stealing your video footage
  • Add music that you create/produce yourself or use any of the multiple free music libraries on the internet to find the right song. Check out one of YouTube’s free music channels here – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCht8qITGkBvXKsR1Byln-wA
  • Credit any contributors in the video description
  • Don’t assume Royalty-Free means it’s free to use
  • When filming, keep anyone who has not given permission to be filmed out of the video
  • Be careful to keep any sort of branding out of your video
  • Don’t film anything that promotes cars in a fast and racy manner, even on your own private property – The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is clamping down on this sort of video that glamorises speeding, power and fast cars. This includes videos of what is considered dangerous driving like skidding and wheel spinning. Even revving the engine excessively can be seen negatively
  • Videos that are too short can be flagged as spam and will get less reach. Make sure they’re longer than 30 seconds unless on a platform such as Instagram
  • Equally don’t make videos too long. YouTube allows you to upload videos up to either 128GB or 12 hours, but I’d recommend nothing over eight minutes – and that’s for something really in-depth. If you need to break a video up into episodes, do that. People won’t sit and watch YouTube for an hour, but between two and eight minutes, you might get good engagement levels.

For more information on Click Dealer’s services, contact The Clickers on 01782 478 220. You can also reach us via marketing@clickdealer.co.uk or through our contact page.


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