Stop Before You Make a Song Cover Video! [7 Facts to Know About Music Copyright]

7 Facts to Know About Music Copyright

7 Facts to Know About Music Copyright

Do you love making song cover videos? Then you probably know your videos have been flagged for copyright. Here are 7 facts about music copyright.

You can’t go for a few minutes on YouTube without discovering someone doing a cover of a popular song. Song cover videos are a hit on Youtube, almost since the birth of the platform.

If you’re looking to get famous, starting as a singer on the video platform or going indie on Spotify is a great choice. If you think music is for you, you need first stop to learn music copyright.

After all, you want to enjoy the music instead of fighting tedious legal battles.

Music copyright laws are there to protect artists and music companies from piracy and earn them the money they deserve. If you’re serious about your art, learning music copyrights are essential to your success.

Want to learn more? We have 7 facts you need to know about song copyrights and music copyright infringement.

Here’s what you should know first:

  1. Music Copyright Law Works Two Ways

When it comes to music copyright laws, you need to know that protection happens in two ways. The law protects both the song itself and the recordings in separate.

What this means is as soon as you get music copyrights, the lyrics in words and the musical composition gets protection from the law. This is effective because some people don’t write their own songs. Your recording may be in your ownership, but if you do covers, half the rights go to the songwriter.

This is also true for people who use music for youtube videos. If you get royalty music, the arrangement owner is the one who wrote it.

  1. Copyright Starts at Creation

Song copyrights exist at the moment of creation. Once you register your IP, the protection will go as far as the time you wrote or recorded it.

Whether you write it on paper, on a file, a recording or any fixed form, it’s yours from that time. If two people claim for the same product, the court will check who has the earliest evidence of creation.

This means if you’re an upcoming musician, you want to make sure you register as soon as possible.

  1. Your Music Copyrights Give You Many Rights

According to music copyright law, there are many protections that associate with your intellectual property. These include:

  • Right to reproduce the work
  • Right to adopt or re-arrange
  • Right to perform the IP
  • Right to display and distribute
  • Right to sell
  • Right to license
  • Right to request takedowns

There are more subtleties to these rights. If on Youtube, you have the right to push for copyright strikes. You can also receive monetization rights for the IP.

If you do covers, someone who owns the IP has the right to drive for a copyright strike.

  1. Music Copyright Laws Protect Almost Forever

Music copyrights last for the entire lifespan of the rights owner with an extra 70 years. If there are many owners, it continues until the last owner dies, plus 70 years.

Many musicians like to transfer their song copyrights to their estate. This means as long as a family member is there, they own the rights to the royalties.

Once the period expires, the music goes into the public domain for public use. Songs of old masters like Beethoven, Mozart and Bach, are in the public domain.

  1. Cover Music Needs Licenses

When covering music on Youtube, Soundcloud or Spotify, the dual copyright exists. You will be able to own the recording that you did and have full rights to it under fair use. You need to remember that copyrights do not cover live performances of music.

Even then, you can’t sell the cover outright. What happens on these music streaming apps is a pre-determined sync license. This means music companies gave sync license agreements with these companies.

What happens is, if you monetize the cover, you don’t get the full ad revenue. Music copyright laws note that the rights owner will get an automatic royalty from the cover video.

  1. Fair Use Covers Only So Far

Some songs are usable under fair use, but this is iffy protection at most. Fair use covers different expanses of music use. At most, this extends for use in parody, transformative use or non-monetized covers.

Even then, this will still vary. Many music companies tend to take down digital hosting of mp3 files and covers even under fair use.

You can only be sure for your cover if you have mechanical or sync license from the company. Music companies provide song copyrights in different forms.

Some only provide direct licenses, which means it can get expensive and even get a no. Depending on how it can help their brand, the owners will say no to your request.

Another type of music copyrights is collective rights. Collective rights are great for small time right owners. These will combine in singular ownership, licensed to others and everyone will receive a payment.

The collective will then distribute the licenses under a blanket license. Everyone under a blanket license has equal distributions and receive equal payments.

  1. You Want a Favorable Licensing Agreement

If you are looking to profit from your covers, the smartest way is to have a license to use music. Music copyright infringement will cost you much money and effort. Licensing is crucial to your success.

Want to know the easiest way to deal with licensing issues? Go through a third-party licensing business. These will have libraries of licenses that letter out specific music rights you may want.

Music libraries have many factors that you need to take into account. You want a license that gives you a broad library, reasonable price and a favorable license agreement.

You want something that lets you keep your creation even after your license expires. You want to steer clear of businesses that have iffy customer service.

Learn Music Copyright Now

If you’re looking into becoming a professional singer or cover artist, understanding music copyright law is vital to your success. Music copyright will be the difference to a life of success and a life of stress with copyright strikes.

Are you looking into learning more about music? Do you want more music from Nigeria’s fastest growing entertainment platform? is where it’s at. We have everything from updates about the 2019 Grammy Music Awards to Drake’s newest mixtapes. Feel free to read our other posts today!