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As a content creator on YouTube, it's likely that you've considered using music in your videos at some point. Whether it's to set the mood, add some energy, or just because you love a certain song, music can be a powerful tool for enhancing your videos. However, using copyrighted music in your YouTube videos without a license can be a risky move that could potentially lead to legal consequences.

First, let's define what we mean by "copyrighted music." Essentially, any song or piece of music that was created and recorded by someone else is considered copyrighted material. This means that you need permission from the copyright holder(s) in order to use the music in your videos. Without this permission, you could be infringing on their rights and potentially facing legal action.

Now, you might be thinking, "But what about fair use? Can't I just claim fair use and use the music without permission?" Fair use is a doctrine that allows for the use of copyrighted material without permission in certain circumstances, such as for criticism, news reporting, or education. However, fair use is often misunderstood and can be a risky defense if you're sued for copyright infringement. It's always safer to obtain a license or permission from the copyright holder.

But even if you do claim fair use, that doesn't necessarily mean you're in the clear. Copyright holders still have the right to submit a copyright claim, strike, or DMCA take down request on YouTube. This means that they can flag your video as infringing on their rights, leading to your video being removed or demonetized. Claiming fair use doesn't prevent this from happening.

Furthermore, most fair use disputes are ultimately decided by a judge. This means that both parties involved will have to pay for related legal fees and go through the process of fighting it out in court. Not exactly a fun or cost-effective experience.

So, what can you do to avoid these risks and use music legally in your YouTube videos? The simple answer is to obtain a license or permission from the copyright holder. This can typically be done through a licensing agency or by contacting the artist or their record label directly.

Keep in mind that not all music is available for licensing, and the price for a license can vary depending on the popularity and demand for the music. It's important to budget for these costs and allow for enough time to secure a license. You might also consider using royalty-free music or creating your own original compositions as an alternative.

It's also a good idea to keep thorough records of all the music you use in your videos, including the terms of your licenses and any permission you've obtained. This will help you stay organized and avoid any potential legal issues in the future.

By properly licensing or getting approval from music rights owners, you can use music legally and confidently in your YouTube videos.

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