Copyright, Content & YouTube

In a recent video I uploaded to YouTube, some background music was playing at the place where I shot the video. That music’s copyright holder made a claim that I was including their copyrighted work. I had the option to let that copyright holder post ads in the video or else to cut out the audio—including myself talking. I chose to cut out the audio because I might monetize the video myself one day.

I advise everyone: Do not make YouTube videos if copyrighted music is playing, even in the background. Ask whoever is playing the music to stop, wait for the song to end, or make the video somewhere else. And, if you own a store or art gallery, do not play copyrighted music in the background. Play music published by more friendly people instead.

I mean, background music, seriously? The audio quality is terrible. Try putting music that bad in a TV series and see if a network airs it. They consider that grounds for a copyright claim?

Not my battle, though. I tied a bow on it and I’m rearranging my life so this doesn’t happen again. Maybe you should do the same.

Here is my letter to YouTube:

I’m not appealing the dispute. However, YouTube should know my opinion:

I would have been glad to link to the music label’s or artist’s channel or website, either in the description or in a link that I cannot control.

But, this is not a “music track” that was added during an editing process. It was BACKGROUND MUSIC AT THE LOCATION.

That is incidental, unintended.

If such copyright claims are thus applied to mere background music that happens to be at the video site, then I learned two lessons from this:

1. Never make YouTube videos if someone is playing background music.

2. At my own stores and at my clients’ places of business, never play copyrighted music. Instead, buy music from artists who don’t behave this way.

I intend to monetize my videos at some point in the future. So, the copyright claimant monetizing that music with ads for video games or whatever creates a conflict.

I wish that YouTube had a special provision for “background music/content” ruled to be “unintentional”, “not added by editing”, “incidental”, and “already present at the site the video was made”. In such situations, the YouTube user who governs the channel of the video in question should have an option for the music/content claimant to include a link above the video description.