How To Check If A Song Is Copyrighted

How To Check If A Song Is Copyrighted

Are you a content creator? Do you enjoy spicing up your YouTube videos, podcasts, or any creative project with some cool piece of music? Well, you need to check if the song is copyrighted first to avoid muddy legal waters. Read on to find out how!

The topic of copyrighted or intellectual property is one that often causes confusion, fear, and, at times, serious repercussions. Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to getting punished for any unsanctioned usage of a property that’s not yours.

What exactly is copyrighted property

So, what exactly is a copyrighted property? In this context, we’re essentially saying that someone (that’s the song owner or rightsholder) owns exclusive rights over how that musical work is used and distributed. Any attempt to use this song without getting the owner’s go-ahead is a recipe for serious legal troubles. And this extends till 70 years after the owner’s death! YES, 70 years!

Therefore, understanding how intellectual properties work and how to check if a song on YouTube or anywhere else is copyrighted is not something you take lightly. It’s a basic skill for anyone keen on developing great content without landing themselves in hot water. After all, nobody wants his or her effort, time, creativity, or passion or, in this particular case, the proud video to go to waste. Worse still, music copyright infringement can cause business-shattering demonetization.

That’s why, today, I’m sharing a guide on how to check if a song is copyright-protected.

How to check if a song is copyrighted

How To Check If A Song Is Copyrighted

Checking to see if a song has a copyright claim may seem complicated based on initial perceptions. However, that’s far from reality. It’s actually a very simple task nothing in comparison to trying to sort out a pile of Christmas tree lights! So, get ready to learn how to make your work squeaky clean and ready for the world to enjoy.

We’ll cover how to check for copyrights and get royalty-free music on some of the biggest platforms out there: YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, among others. Each one has its own unique process, but don’t worry, I’ll walk you through every step. You can also read up on how to use copyrighted material legally and even legally copyright your own content.

How to Check If a Song Is Copyrighted on YouTube

Step 1: Visit the YouTube Audio Library

The Audio Library of YouTube is a repository of copyright-free music and sound that you can utilize for your project without getting a copyright strike. Head to the YouTube Audio Library and type in the name of the song you wish to use in the search bar. If the song is in the library, then it is safe to go for it.

Step 2: Use WhoSampled or AudD

Now, if the song you searched for is not available on the YouTube Audio Library, do not fret just yet. Head to WhoSampled or AudD and type in the song title and the artist. These websites are as useful as the encyclopedia, providing music samples, copyright information, and all other necessary details. If you get confirmation that your song of choice belongs to the public domain music or that the relevant copyright owner has granted permission for use, then you are home-free!

How To Check If A Song Is Copyrighted on Facebook

Step 1: Visit the Facebook Sound Collection

Facebook has a Sound Collection feature, which is similar to a music and sound library that can be used on posts and videos without getting into any trouble. To search for the song you want to use, head to the Facebook Sound Collection and enter the title in the search bar. If the song is in the collection, you are lucky and can proceed without fear of any legal concerns. 

Step 2: Use Facebook’s Rights Manager Tool

Before you post, on the bottom right, there is an option on Facebook called Rights Manager. When activated, this feature will tell you when something is copyrighted. So, head to the Rights Manager section in your Facebook Creator Studio. The link to the video or audio file with the song you want to use should be entered in the given input form. Facebook will merely scroll through the content, and if it finds something that belongs to another person, you will be warned. If it does, you will have the choice of whether to delete or edit the copyrighted content before sharing it on your social media site.

How To Check If A Song Is Copyrighted on Instagram

Step 1: Use Third-Party Websites

Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram lacks a built-in mechanism that would enable them to check on song copyrights, similar to YouTube channels and Facebook. Your best bet is to use third-party websites like Whosampled or AudD. In the search bar of each of the sites stated above, type the name of the song and the artist. Information on the copyright of that particular song, samples used in the song, and covers are usually found here. 

Step 2: Assume It’s Copyrighted (and Seek Proper Licensing)

If you have tried and failed in your efforts to seek information concerning the non-copyright of the specific song in question, then it would be more advisable to avoid the use of the specific piece in your project. Instead, purchase a license for its use. Sites like Lickd will assist you in getting the licenses to use the music in your videos. The alternative option is to go straight to the copyright owner to get permission. 

How To Check If A Song Is Copyrighted on SoundCloud

Step 1: Search on SoundCloud

SoundCloud is a very large platform where users can upload high-quality music and audio created by musicians and other people from all over the world. Nonetheless, not all of the content is copyright protected, though one should check with the application every now and then. Therefore, navigate to either the SoundCloud website or application interface and type in the name of the song you wish to utilize. If it is among the displayed results, click on ‘More info’  to expand it and reveal more information. Under the given song, there might be a brief description of the song or comments, where someone might have stated whether it is copyrighted or whether one can use the music licensing rights in the song or any other similar but popular song.

Step 2: Read the Artist’s Profile

If the copyright status cannot be figured out from the information on the particular track, then you may be able to figure it out from the artist page, if there is any. By clicking on the artist’s name, you’ll be directed to the profile page of the respective artist. Specifically, if there are any statements or indications on their bio or profile description that they are licensed or that their contents are copyrighted, The ownership of certain music pieces might be clearly declared as being copyrighted or available for use under certain circumstances by some artists.

How To Check If A Song Is Copyrighted on Spotify

Step 1: Check the Song’s Metadata on Spotify

Spotify offers simple information about each track in the form of metadata, along with the copyright owner and the licensing data. Here’s how to check: Launch the Spotify application on your device and enter the particular track that you wish to incorporate into your project. On the page, you will also find interesting facts about the song, as well as the ability to download it in high quality. Scroll down further to the “Song Credits” section; this part of the video could contain information about the copyright holder or the license.

Step 2: Review the Artist’s or Label’s Website

In case you are still in doubt about the copyright of a particular song, there are more options for you to try. You can find the information on the official website of the artist or record label in question. Try to find links such as ‘Licensing’ or ‘Legal’ that can contain information about acquiring permission to use their songs. 

How To Check If A Song Is Copyrighted on Twitch

Step 1: Check Twitch’s Music Library

Twitch has a database that contains licensed music and sounds that can be used in streaming, thus avoiding any complications concerning copyright laws. Here’s how to access it: Visit the Twitch official site and log in to your account. Then go to the Creator Dashboard tab. Proceed to the Audio section and tap ‘Music Library.’ The tracks available there are those that are safe to use on Twitch. If the song you wish to incorporate is within the database or library as it is referred to, then go right ahead.

Step 2: Visit the Artist’s or Label’s Website

Another source of information is to turn to the website of the given artist or record label to find out more about the licensing and copyright policies. Look for the website of this artist or the record label company. Search for portions such as ‘Licensing,’ ‘Legal,’ ‘Contact Us,’ ‘Permissions,’ etc., where they will probably include directions on how you can get authorization to utilize their copyrighted tracks. Ideally, artists or their record labels might have special links or even a form you could use to submit music licensing requests.

You don’t need to break a cold sweat at the mere mention of copyrights
You don’t need to break a cold sweat at the mere mention of “copyrights” any longer.

Flouting copyright law is fun when you are a script kid or a teenager who enjoys violating other people’s rights, but it is a legal nightmare that will cost you everything you have invested in your business or project. As such, knowing how to check if a work is copyrighted is a highly essential skill to have, as it can determine the success or failure of your online business. 

However, as your online empire grows, you will need some strong protective measures to shield you and your business. This includes solid contracts, tight website policies, and comprehensive insurance coverage. That is why my Ultimate Bundle® is so helpful since it offers all these benefits in one package through my plug-and-play legal templates

But why stop there? Send me an email, and I will take you through the process of getting started as well as the legal aspects of running an online business. You can also check out my podcast and blog. Through these media, I’ll provide you with a constant flow of valuable information and strategies that can help you start your online business from scratch and be protected and legal in every way possible.

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