What's the procedure for adding copyrighted music to an uploaded YouTube video?

We've been creating some original video that uses some copyrighted background music. But when we uploaded it to YouTube, it gets blocked due to copyright claims.

There must be a process to correctly add such copyrighted background music, because we can see many videos doing this. Examples:

Note that these videos have an iTunes "Buy Link" as part of the video description.

In YouTube's "Using copyrighted material in your video" it only says to get permission from the content owner (no specific details on how).

We are willing to pay for the original (e.g. buy it from iTunes), and add the buy link, but how do we do that?

What's the specific process involved here?

2 Answers 2


According to the FAQ, when YouTube detects an infringing video there are three options for the copyright holder:

There are three usage policies—Block, Track or Monetise. If a rights owner specifies a Block policy, the video will not be viewable. If the rights owner specifies a Track policy, the video will continue to be made available on YouTube and the rights owner will receive information about the video, such as how many views it receives. For a Monetise policy, the video will continue to be available on YouTube and ads will appear in conjunction with the video.

If the copyright holder has chosen 'Block', then your only option is to contact whoever made the music (or the label that owns it) and ask them to use it. Maybe Wikipedia can help you find who that is.

Gangnam may have the "monetize" option selected, which would make sense since YouTube has estimated to have paid $1.7 million in revenue for it so far.

  • One of our video has Gangnam as the background music, and it received copyright claim from UMG and YG Entertainment. If the rights owner indeed had selected the monetise option, what are the steps on availing that option from a youtube uploader's end? Jan 13, 2013 at 6:31
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    I believe that there are no steps to be taken at the uploader's end: they all need to be done by the rights owner. And you should not assume that just because you buy a track from iTunes for your personal use, you are also allowed to use it in other ways (eg play it in public place, set it to a video that you upload). In many countries, other uses require different types of licencing, which iTunes doens't sell. Jan 14, 2013 at 11:13

There are websites where you can buy the rights to songs specifically for these videos. When I started making videos with very popular artists I thought it looked very professional...Little did I know I was violating the terms of service and I got into trouble. Also got all the videos that I had on my channel muted so nobody could hear the song OR me. My advice, go to a website that allows you to buy the rights to songs from unknown artists. It could be $50 or $5000. All depends on how popular the song is I suppose.

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