The Creators 411 On Copyright (2019)

Tia Lentini
5 min readApr 2, 2019

WARNING: I am not an attorney nor do I have any formal training in this area. This is article is strictly from my own experience and through independent study.

Okay so for the past few years copyrighting has become a big thing. Platforms like Youtube and Facebook have been cracking down and a lot of people have been left in the dark.

With that being said, this article covers the Creators 411 on Copyright and will teach you some basic ways to stay out of the red zone while having the freedom to express yourself through content creation.

To start, let’s look to the experts to define what copyright is.

According to Google Support, “Copyright ownership gives the owner the exclusive right to use the work, with some exceptions. When a person creates an original work, fixed in a tangible medium, he or she automatically owns copyright to the work.”

Screen Shot from Copyright.gov

Then Copyright.gov explains copyright as “Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.”

Now for a content creator, this means that you need to make sure you’re making an effort to avoid copyright infringement by following some basic guidelines when using others works.

There are a few different ways to do this, but in this article we’re just going to just touch on the basics.

Let’s Talk Music and Audio First

Some YouTubers escape penalty by making sure that they are claiming that they don’t own any of the music in their videos.

They can do this by simply displaying it in the description or even in the video text.

Others make sure people know that they have permission to use the music. Some websites like Bensound.com offer patrons to pay a fee in exchange for access to music for their videos and other content works. If they do, they’re free to the license and optional credit choice.

Screen Shot of www.bensound.com/

I’d still recommend giving credit in the descriptions to show some love to the artist, but this should take a lot of stress off you as the creator, knowing that you no longer have to worry.

You can also team up directly with a musician or a series of musicians and get tracks and permissions straight from them. This could be a great way to build your audience and make sure you have original music for your projects.

Now, this next tip can be a little controversial but stay with me. The next tip would be to make the “audio work” your own. Remix it, mash it up, rework it and just create your own work of art out of it. In that, you should have the fair use defense and be completely fine.

According to this website that was referenced by Google, “if you transform the original work in some way, it is more likely to be fair use.”

Screen Shot of www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/fair-use

Check the website out here: www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/fair-use

With that being said, it seems that as long as you modify the original art you’re okay.

I’d always recommend getting legal advice on this issue, but feel free to watch this video to get a better idea of what I’m talking about:

Screen Shot of “Fair Use on YouTube — BEST Tips for Avoiding Copyright on YouTube!!” by Ian Corzine

Watch the full video: https://youtu.be/6_WWRJ71Hqo

Now For the Images

Once upon a time, it was said that you could use all Google images without getting in trouble for copyright. However, recently there have been updates to the Google image search which clearly state that some of the images might be copyrighted.

Screen Shot from Google Search “Mitsubishi Evo”

You can always take the image and make it your own or message the owner of the image and get permission to use it, or you could avoid all of that entirely by grabbing royalty free images from different websites.

You can use websites like Shutterstock.com and pexels.com and download high-quality images for whatever project you’re doing without.

If you’re searching for some images to use but don’t want to deal with websites, you can always contact a photographer directly through Instagram or Facebook and work out a partnership that way. It would provide you with original images that no one else has access too, giving your brand or project and a truly unique style.

Then Finally, Video

For a long time, I would never use clips for any of my videos because I was terribly afraid of getting in trouble for copyright infringement. Recently, however, I learned that each person can use video clips in their work as long as they are making the project “their own.”

Screen Shot of “Two Hours Later — Spongebob Squarepants” on Youtube

For example, tons of YouTubers have been using that SpongeBob clip where it’s like “Two hours later” for ages. What I found out, is that we’re free to use clips like these as long we are creating original content with them (check out “fair use” info above in “Let’s Talk Music and Audio First” section or in the sources below)

Screen Shot of Storyblocksvideo.com Item

You can also always shout out the clips in your description to the owner of the footage or download clips directly from a website like Storyblocksvideo.com.

In Conclusion

As I said, I’m not an expert on this topic. However, I do love making creative content and had to find out some of these things the hard way. With that being said, I hope this article helped you get a basic understanding of what copyright is and how to avoid infringement and black marks on your accounts.

Now, if you’re looking for some additional information on copyright and procedures I would suggest you check out these sources I found while researching.

The People Who Google Referenced About Fair Use: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/fair-use

The Uncle Sam Of Copyright Himself: https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#what

Seasoned Musicians Advice: https://youtu.be/gtp43VGk4b0

Energetic and Informative Legal Advice: https://youtu.be/6_WWRJ71Hqo

You can also read the terms and conditions for Facebook and Youtube here:

Facebooks Terms and Conditions:

https://www.facebook.com/help/1020633957973118/

Youtubes Terms and Conditions:

https://www.youtube.com/yt/about/copyright/#support-and-troubleshooting

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Tia Lentini

Friendly human with a passion for writing and startups. Blogger for 5+ years and Digital Marketer for 7+. I enjoy poetry and creative writing on the side.