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  2. / How to Bypass Copyright Restrictions on YouTube Videos and Music

How to Bypass Copyright Restrictions on YouTube Videos and Music

17 June 2024

Gone are the days when you could make money easily by copying and distributing content illegally without facing consequences. Today, large companies have entire legal teams ready to take action against anyone infringing on their intellectual property. Algorithms of many online platforms are also becoming increasingly sophisticated in detecting copyright violations. YouTube, a leader in this space, processes gigabytes of videos and music every minute, and it's surprisingly easy to violate copyright rules, even by accident. 


Today, we’ll dive into what copyright is, how YouTube detects prohibited content, how to avoid warnings, and how to bypass these restrictions.


What is copyright?


Copyright is a documented right to intellectual property that protects it from unauthorized distribution. Simply put, only the owner of the video, music, or any other content has the exclusive right to use it as they see fit. They alone can decide who can use their content and how it can be monetized on platforms like YouTube.

 

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Information on the artists you are interested in can be found on the record labels where they are signed.


If you want to use someone else's copyrighted content, you need to formally ask the license holder for permission. You can do this directly if the original creator has provided contact details, or through special services integrated into the video hosting platform. This is the only safe way to avoid having your video deleted or, in the worst-case scenario, your channel being completely blocked.


There are several myths about copyright evasion that many users still believe:

  • Crediting the original creator: Some think that simply crediting the creator automatically allows the use of their content. This is not true. If the author doesn’t want their material used, they can request its removal.
  • Usage by others: Just because other YouTubers are using certain materials doesn't mean you have permission to use them too. You have to verify if they have a license that allows them to legally use the video or music.
  • Content removal: Some people think the only way to recover from a copyright strike is to remove the content. But in reality, you can appeal any strike. If you're sure you're not violating copyright, try to resolve it through the proper channels first.
  • Copyright registration: There’s a misconception that copyright must be formally registered. This varies by country, but generally, being the creator and able to prove it is enough to claim copyright.


The truth is, almost all content is protected by copyright law, no matter how old it is. Previously, cutting music or video into short fragments was a legal way to bypass YouTube algorithms, but these have since improved significantly. To know how to bypass them, you need to understand how violations can be detected.


How does YouTube detect copyright violations?


YouTube offers several tools to help manage and protect copyrighted content, catering to both large companies and individual creators who may not post videos and music regularly.


Form for submitting complaints about violations


One method of detecting copyright violations is through direct complaints, often described as "person-to-person." For instance, if User 1, who owns the license for certain content, discovers that User 2 has posted it on their channel without permission, User 1 can submit a complaint to YouTube requesting the removal of User 2's video. image2.jpg
There are also provisions for counterclaims in case of disputes.


Match Tool


The Match Tool helps identify full or partial copies of your videos and music on other channels. When a match is found, YouTube sends notifications to your personal account. You then decide on a course of action for the violating content: take no action, send a removal request, or contact the violator to discuss the issue.


To access the Match Tool, you need to:

  • Send a removal request for a video that turns out to be legitimate.
  • Become a member of the YouTube Partner Program.
  • Fill out a special form justifying the need for access.


Content Checker


The Content Checker program assists copyright holders in finding and removing videos that have been uploaded in violation of copyright. This program allows for bulk deletion requests and can be accessed by filling out a form. 

 

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It simplifies the process, enabling complaints to be sent with just a few clicks.


Content ID system


Content ID is an automated system for identifying copyrighted content. When Content ID scans music and videos, it compares them to a database provided by copyright holders. Every video uploaded to YouTube undergoes this automatic verification process.

 

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In the first half of 2023 alone, Content ID identified nearly a billion violations. 
When a match is found, the content is subject to the copyright holder’s policy, which can include blocking the content, monetizing it through ads, or tracking view statistics.


To use the Content ID system, you must meet several requirements:

  • Confirm that you are the owner of the audio and video content.
  • Enter into an agreement with YouTube.
  • Prove that you need Content ID and not other available tools, though YouTube may have a different opinion on this necessity.
     

How to check music and videos for licenses before use


When you upload a video or audio file to YouTube, the platform automatically checks for copyright compliance. This verification process happens during the upload and doesn't require you to publish the file immediately. YouTube's Content ID algorithms take a bit longer to analyze because they scan an extensive database of licensed and copyrighted content. This analysis can take up to 10 minutes. If your content passes the verification, you'll see a green checkmark in the "Copyright" column. If there are issues, a yellow or red icon will indicate detected violations.


If you plan to use a video or a fragment of it in your own content, you can check the availability of licenses through special tools like eProves.

 

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Here's how you can do it:

  • Search by the Title of the Song: Simply enter the song title into the service's search bar to find licensing information.
  • Follow the Link to YouTube: Use the provided link to check the licensing status directly on YouTube.


These tools produce results in just a few seconds, but they only search through YouTube's library. This means you won't have a 100% guarantee that the track is free for use, but it will ensure the content passes the Content ID check. Additionally, eProves offers a database of copyright-free music containing more than 10,000 songs.


How to bypass copyright on YouTube?


Bypassing copyright on YouTube is becoming increasingly difficult due to Google's extensive technical capabilities and dedicated team of specialists. They quickly close any loopholes users discover. For instance, YouTube used to overlook content up to 30 seconds long, but now it can recognize a violation in as little as three seconds.


One potential solution is to make your content more unique This applies to both video and music content. However, this approach isn't foolproof. While it might bypass YouTube's algorithms, there's always the risk that the original content owner will notice. If they file a complaint, YouTube will investigate. If the claim is valid, your video will be removed, and you'll be required to attend Copyright School.


Despite these risks, making content unique remains one of the most effective ways to navigate copyright issues.


How to make a video more unique


Here are several ways to make your video stand out:

  • Subtitles: Adding text to your video is one of the easiest ways to make it unique without changing the video itself. There are tools that can help you do this.
  • Sound: YouTube’s algorithms also check the audio. You don’t need a professional recording; just adding some sound effects can help.
    Filters: Use a video editor to tweak the brightness, contrast, and other settings.
  • Duration: Make sure your video’s length doesn’t match the original. You can do this by cutting out unnecessary parts or changing the speed of some sections.
  • Transitions: Adding transitions between parts of your video can make it look different.
  • Scale: Zoom in or out on certain parts to highlight details and make your video unique.
  • Blur the background: Blurring the background can help, as YouTube’s algorithms often struggle with this.
  • Inserting Images: Adding memes or other relevant images can make your video more engaging and different.


How to make audio more unique


Music restrictions can also be bypassed, but the possibilities are slightly less than with video:

  • Changing playback speed: Speeding up or slowing down the music can help avoid detection.
  • Adding new sounds: Adding extra sounds can make the music unique.
  • Splicing audio tracks: Mixing parts from different tracks can create something new.
  • Using music from open directories: Use music that is free and not restricted by copyright.


In general, using a combination of these techniques can help you change your material enough to avoid copyright issues. It will differ significantly from the original and will not fall under copyright restrictions. 


How to avoid violating copyright on YouTube


The simplest way to avoid copyright issues is to create your own unique content. While making original videos is feasible for most, composing music can be more challenging. Fortunately, there are AI tools that can generate music based on text prompts.


Otherwise, before adding music to your videos, it's important to check its copyright status. This can help prevent unintentional violations and ensure you’re using the music legally.


Apart from this, there are several other ways to avoid copyright accusations.


The first one is to use openly licensed materials. These materials are created specifically for non-commercial use and can be used without restrictions. A popular resource for this is Creative Commons, an international non-profit organization that promotes the free sharing of ideas, knowledge, and culture. Instead of the traditional "All rights reserved," Creative Commons operates under their motto of "Some rights reserved."


On Creative Commons, users share their work and specify how others can use it.

 

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Here are the four types of Creative Commons licenses:

  • BY (Attribution): You must credit the original author, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
  • NC (Non-Commercial): You can use the material only for non-commercial purposes.
  • ND (No Derivatives): You can use the material as-is but cannot create derivative works.
  • SA (Share Alike): Any derivatives must be distributed under the same license as the original.


These licenses can be combined in various ways at the author’s discretion. By following these guidelines, you can use Creative Commons materials without worrying about copyright issues.


If you have a budget, another option is to purchase licenses and rights to use copyrighted materials. This allows you to legally use the content with full protection under the law. For instance, YouTube offers a Creator Music catalog where you can buy music for your videos (currently available in the USA).

 

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Creator Music catalog where you can buy music to use. Available in the USA only.


The last option is to request the copyright holder for permission to use his copyrighted materials on your channel. If you need to use a specific piece of content, reach out to the copyright holder and request permission. While this might not always work, if you do get permission, make sure to get it in writing to avoid any future disputes.


In some cases, you can use copyrighted content without permission under certain exceptions, such as "fair use" in the USA. Fair use allows content creators to include copyrighted material in their work for purposes like commentary, criticism, parody, and education. 


The following factors are considered to determine fair use:

  • Purpose of use: Is it for commercial or educational purposes?
  • Nature of the work: Is the material more factual or creative?
  • Amount used: How much of the original work is being used?
  • Effect on monetization: Does your use affect the monetization of the original work?


These guidelines help balance the interests of copyright holders with the need for creative freedom.


YouTube also aims to balance the rights of copyright holders with creators’ freedom of expression. 


YouTube itself says, "One of the goals is to find a compromise between the requirements of the copyright holder and the author’s freedom of expression."


Conclusion


In today’s digital age, even the smallest piece of data can belong to someone. So, it’s crucial to double-check anything you add to your YouTube videos. Thankfully, you’ve got some handy tools to help with this: YouTube’s built-in Content ID algorithm, specialized verification services, and entire music archives that don’t require a license. Using these resources is your best bet to steer clear of violations, especially since YouTube’s copyright-protection algorithms are always getting smarter and harder to outsmart.


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