Whenever I post a cover on YouTube that I used a backtrack for that I didn’t make, I never do it to make money. I post songs on YouTube more to be heard, and to have another venue to post what I love to do on. So whenever I get a copyright claim on a video, it never bothers me. I’m always like, “It doesn’t matter, I’m not going to make money off of it anyway. If it were on something I was planning to make money on, it’d be another story”.
Until this past week, that is. I posted a cover of White Christmas – a song, that has been in the public domain for 70 years. It got slammed with a copyright claim, and I told my Mom as a joke. She didn’t find it that funny and said that since the song is in the public domain, it shouldn’t have any sort of copyright claim on it. Once again, I said it didn’t matter. I guess I had to go away and think about it for a while, and a particular comment on the video got me thinking, “If I’m not going to make money off of this, then why should they? It’s public domain!”. It didn’t bother me before because I’ve covered other songs that were still under copyright, so of course it’s alright for them to want to put a claim on it. But to do it to a video that plenty of people have covered for years that has no such claims? I guess what my Mom said got to me in a way: I still don’t think it really matter’s to dispute copyright on some things, but a public domain song that some company is trying to make money off of? Not cool.
The next morning, I filed a copyright dispute on YouTube. I was pleasantly surprised to see how streamlined the process was! So I did that, and read up on how the process would go – if the claimant didn’t respond in 30 days, the claim would be removed. That was the course I was expecting to occur – but it turns out, this morning, I got a notification saying that the clamant had already released their copyright claim on the video. Hurray!
In the end, I’m glad I did this on a video that “didn’t matter” now, I know how easy the process is, and used it as a stepping stone to stand up for my rights as an artist. I’m glad my Mom gave me that push and got me thinking more about this side of the music business: Now, I definitely want to look up more on the different licenses my covers fall under, and use the resources that YouTube provides to keep my videos nice and legal so I can share them all with you still! But yeah, this whole experience was definitely an eye-opener, glad I did it 😄
And, if you’re curious, here is the cover in question!