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Question about uploading covers to youtube.

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gilad
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Hey Guys.

Didn't know where to post it, so thought this is the most suitable category.

Anyways, I am reading all over, that uploading a cover song, (in my case, purchasing a playback and recording my vocals to it) is considered copyright infringement. Even if you play your own instrument. I have also read that youtube has closed accounts with covers.. On the other hand, I have noticed tons and tons of covers being uploaded, without bringing up names, a vocal coach that for his vocal examples does covers of all the great singers, and we also have a lot more users on this forum that have uploaded great covers with their vocals.

Before I start uploading covers, I wanted to ask what is the word on the street regarding this? Am I in danger of have my youtube account closed if I do this? Doesn't make sense to me, but this is what I am reading.

Would love to hear your input in this regards.

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I say who cares? You can always make tons of accounts and they will probably just delete your video if they don't want it. You only help the band when making covers so yeah, screw them. :D

Actually it's the same case with soundcloud...it's even worse there cause they got automatic copyright detection so any of these songs is instantly taken down. Not that it can't be bypassed too. :P

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gilad, you can add on the description that you are a student of singing and that its your study material, state that being so it fits under Fair Use.

Also, of course, dont monetize your videos and avoid efforts to sell your other videos through it (like linking your monetized material during the playback).

As far as I know, youtube mostly remove videos when the owner of the material files a complaint, and you receive a notification. They issue 3 notifications before closing an account like that.

I am quite sure that if you don't try to be smart and profit using other people songs you will not have problems. And I know some who openly do...

You can always ask for permission too, if your plans are more broad than showcase your study.

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Thanks Guys.

The plan is really to get more views to my original songs at the end. If the viewers like my singing, then they would want to hear original stuff as well. But from what you are saying, that is considered as linking... Not trying to make money. Just get heard.

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I've been uploading lotsa covers to my youtube channel for several years. If the owner of the material doesn't insist upon the deletion of your covers, it's gonna be ok. Some of my covers are blocked for some countries, but this is just 5% of all my covers.

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It's indeed a delicate issue if we really want to get anal about it. I know a lot of people that started the way you mentioned. And I'm ok with it. But monetized videos are one of the many ways that someone makes a profit. To put it simply, if one is determined to shut you down they'll find a legal way to do it. The line can be drawn anywhere we see fit.

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If they block your video, you'll just have to send them a message telling them that your video is intended for fair use such as for remixes, parodies, critique etc.... In case of a cover, you can tell them that it's your own voice. They'll unblock your video within a week. Take a look at boyce avenue, tyler ward, alex goot, kurt hugo schneider .... all those guys make tons of bucks with their videos using the monetizing system and they've never had any problems.

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All of this stuff is horridly out of sync with the digital age. There should be something like Itunes where you can purchase a license to post a cover song on YouTube for 99 cents or hell $2-3. That would generate millions of dollars in revenue for the industry.

Yes Limelight is kind of helping things, but while $15 is totally reasonable for a mechanical license, the average person who just wants to post a video of them singing a song on YouTube for no commercial purposes whatsoever isn't going to pay that.

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Here's my amateur perspective of the music biz.

Singing along with a song is fine. Recording yourself singing the song is fine. Who's going to stop you from singing? Singing a cover song and charging money for it? Now, that is copyright infringement. While youtube does offer you the chance to get paid for your singing if it is linked to an advertisement, I think they are they ones doing the ripping off. Giving you mere pennies when they could and should be paying your copyright lease.

Generally speaking, if you have paid for a karaoke track from a legitimate source, you have already paid copyright for the instrumental because the publisher of that instrumental should have paid copyright (usually a blanket fee to ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC) to record that song. However, your performance constitutes a new recording. Most times, I don't think it is going to be removed. What if a friend filmed you in a bar after a 3-beer buzz singing a song in karaoke (for which the club has already paid copyright. The legit clubs pay the blanket fee to play whatever they want, as it draws in customers.)? What if you were mowing the lawn and a friend recorded you singing to the tall grass, "Another one Bites the Dust"? One draws the line somewhere. As long as you are not making money from the recording, I think you will fly below the radar.

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Time to jump in as I have tons of knowledge in the copyright department. Felipe is correct about the fair use clause. But more to the point. Posting covers on youtube is ok in most circumstances. For instance. I have posted on my youtube channel, 2 cover songs that were done in collaboration with some online friends. One is a Kamelot song, the other Stratovarius. It helps to post a disclaimer in your description. Mine states that no monies were made, that the songs were done purely for enjoyment and that copyrights belong to original artists.

Also I don't have either of them monetized on youtube. What that means is that you opt to monetize a video which then allows youtube to run an ad prior to your video streaming and any monies made from someone clicking on it go to you, but the rules state that you must be the sole copyright recipient to do that.

Now if I posted those songs, and posted a link in my description that would send you somewhere to buy a cd with me performance on it with the purpose of me making money, then I would need to obtain and pay for a mechanical license to the current copyright holder(not always original artist(for a long time Michael Jackson had owned the entire Beatles catalogue.)) The mechanical license would state how many copies you intend to produce and sell and have an agreed upon price per CD/download that copyright owner expects to receive. You can do these through musician unions as well such as ASCAP, etc...there you pay a one time fee. It can be a bit pricey as you pay end up paying hundreds or more to license a song.

But it is not an infringement on youtube as long as you don't make any money doing it, aren't selling copies of you performing it, etc.

Just as a side note to this issue. There are some songs that do not fall under copyright law due to the type of song and when it was written. Example: patriotic songs such as the star spangled banner, old church hymns, and most Christmas songs.

That's why bands such as Manheim Steamroller and Trans Siberian Orchestra do Christmas songs or rock up some Beethoven. No royalties to pay out, no licensing etc. Now I'm talking old ones like Silent Night etc. Not the modern stuff from the 50's and 60' and newer. For instance, you could do Oh Holy Night, but not Rocking around the Christmas tree, sell as many copies as you want and not infringe on copyrights. If you want to know if it's doable, just do a search on copyright owners of a particular song.

So I hope I have helped and not confused the issue any more than it already is, lol.

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p.s. more useless knowledge. Trans Siberian Orchestra is named after the longest train route in Russia and is made up from the members of the Hard Rock/Metal band Savatage plus a full orchestra, and Manheim Steamroller is founded by Chip Davis, who is the original artist from the 70's and early 80's country band, C.W. McCall( yes it was a band name, not the vocalist's name). Remember the song 'Convoy'?

More interesting tidbits to come....

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Well, Gilad, my bro is right. And for the most part, you are okay as long as you are not monetizing your youtube covers, or expect to sell those performance on, say, a compilation album, without first paying copyright lease. The management companies of professional bands and solo artists have it in their budget to pay a yearly blanket fee to ASCAP so they can cover whatever they wish, though, like Scott said, they still have to deal with mechanical rights on this or that particular recording. That is why, if you plan to record and perform professionally, you need an attorney. Almost before you need a business manager.

But, just at your current amateur level, you are probably okay. That being said, whatever originals you want to release, you really need to copyright. I don't know if Israel has a copyright govt office but the US does. And considering you are in Israel, the songwriter's org you need to list with is SESAC.

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Or you can also do what is called the "poor man's copyright".

You mail a copy of your work to yourself. When you get it back, keep it sealed, do not open it.

The post date that gets stamped on it is then proof of date when taken into court(if needed).

Otherwise it's $30 per song, or $30 for a collection of songs, but not each song individually.

However, nowdays, uploading your stuff is another cheap way of copyrights of a sort. Whenever you upload a song, a time and date is encoded into the data for your upload. Also, just about everyone here can count themselves in the elite club of being published musicians. The definition of a published musician is that your own music is heard by others in a public format. This site fits that format.

Also another point in copyright law is this. Assuming you don't have the money to copyright your music, band name, etc. That's ok. Find ways to denote when you started and keep track of things. When it comes to a lawsuit, and none of the parties have anything copyrighted, it comes down to length of time someone has been using it.

For instance, you choose a band name. 2 years down the road, another band with the same name sues you for infringement. In court, a judge will look at who has been using the name longer, and will award that person or group with the rights to use that name.

If you guys remember back in 2006, there was a short lived contest show called: Supernova. It consisted of Jason Newsted, Tommy Lee, and Gilby Clark looking for a vocalist. It was done like American Idol.

After the show ended, while they were recording and getting ready to tour, they were sued by another band who had been using the name Supernova for many years(you would think they would have done their homework). So the band from the TV show changed it to Rockstar Supernova.

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Hey Ron, thanks for the input.

Actually in the last week, I finally got accepted to ACUM which is an organization for Music and Lyrics writer, and since I had a few songs played on the local radio recently, then I was accepted. Anyways, now as I have a login/passwd to their site, I can add new songs for free. I add the text, add an mp3 file, give the name of the song, the musicians who worked the arrangements and it is copywrited locally and internationally.

So for my original stuff, I have that covered. Thanks. ;)

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You are right, once again, bro.

I always say, keep the initial files you started writing a song with. For the computer also puts a date and time stamp.

And yes, simple copyright is the first time any one else can hear your music in any kind of medium, digital, cd, DAT, regular audio tape.

But let's say that you want to perform live somewhere and are getting paid for it and want to do a cover song? Then, you have to pay copyright to use that song, however, you get mechanical rights from any recording of that live performance that is sold for profit.

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