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cheyenne_h on 08/15/2018 at 02:13PM

4 Reasons You Might Encounter a Content ID Match on YouTube

YouTube's sadface for copyright violators.

It happens to many of us at one time or other - a copyright claim on a video you've uploaded to YouTube!

[*dramatic music plays*]

How does this happen? Through YouTube's "Content ID" system.

Content ID relies on third-party companies that feed YouTube content to "watch" for matches. If your video is flagged, it simply means that the video or audio has matched to something in a Content ID database. Don't worry! The best approach is to reach out to the artists themselves, and I'll explain why below. You're not alone. And you may be confused about why this has happened to you, even though you may have been using correct attribution and meeting the requirements of the license. There are a few potential reasons - and that's why I'm writing this. 

1. The music you tried to upload isn't licensed for video. 

Oops! Did you read the license? If it has "ND" anywhere in it, that means it's not intended for use in video without further permission. That means that anything licensed CC BY-ND or CC BY-NC-ND is not intended for use in video. Period. YouTube is the biggest online video platform there is - so it's the first place most musicians want to protect themselves and their intellectual property when it comes to derivative uses (like videos).

If you want to use something with an ND in the license for video, you need to ask the artist for permission. The FMA cannot license music, and we cannot change licenses to suit your needs, so please don't ask. If we have contact info or leads, we can occasionally help people out with getting in touch with an artist, though. 

2. An artist wants to share their audio, but also wants to make sure you're doing it right.

Some artists on the FMA use YouTube's Content ID system to protect their intellectual property, and by registering their work with ContentID, they are able to keep tabs on how, and where, their tracks are being used. If this happens to you, don't panic - wait until you have talked to the artist about it. They may be using ContentID to ping them when someone is using their track, and to make sure it is in compliance with the license they used to share it. 

Many artists have added notes to their profiles about this very thing, and if they haven't, we recommend reaching out directly to the artist if you get a Content ID match from a video with their song included. Many artists, upon seeing that a track is properly attributed/shared, will waive the copyright claim and everybody's happy -- but it is best if you ask them about it if you get a claim on your video.

3. A troll may have registered an artist's music to Content ID without their knowledge in an attempt to monetize music they did *not* make. 

Since artists can't manage their catalogues in YouTube's Content ID system directly (third party services do this for them), some may not even realize it's being claimed (or by whom)! This isn't common, but it does happen. So, if you noticed something weird going on with a track you thought you could use, please contact the artist! You could be alerting them to abuse or misuse of their music and preventing a freeloader from making money off of art they did not make. 

4. An artist has chosen to share music on FMA, and wants to control distribution on YouTube.

Some artists use ContentID to monetize videos that contain their music. This is a tricky one, because technically, they are allowed to do so, according to the way ContentID works. It favors the rightsholders of music pieces (and things like TV and films that already exist) more than the creative work that a videographer may have put into a video. This can seem unfair to video makers, since they may not be allowed to monetize a video they created, and their video may be subject to an advertisement they didn't plan on.

This is another example of "Talk to the artist about it" -- they may agree that compromise is the best route and remove the ad. Or they may encourage you to add a different soundtrack to your video, because they are making money off of the song on other YouTube videos. Everyone is different - we have more than 20,000 artists on our site, so it varies from person to person. 

Since the FMA has had no luck when trying to contact YouTube for information about what is in their Content ID databases, we cannot predict which songs may match from our site to theirs. If we had the capacity to predict or manage this, we would love to, but we cannot do so without their cooperation. To all you cranky users who have had this happen and demand that music be removed from the archive because of it: sorry, but the Free Music Archive's collection doesn't exist solely for use in YouTube videos. Quite the contrary; we only remove music at the request of artists or rightsholders. 

If you make videos often, YouTube has a bunch of resources, including this helpful article, that you might want to bookmark! We also have a whole section of our site, Music For Video, with pre-selected songs for use in videos. And a FAQ for Filmmakers. And this article. And a License Guide. All free, all here to help you. And we hope this article was helpful, too.

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