How Many Seconds of Copyrighted Music Can I Use?

You can’t use copyrighted music in your content, even if you use only 5, 10, or 30 seconds of it. There’s no such thing as “fair use” that allows you to use copyrighted music without getting a license or permission from the owner. It’s a typical internet myth that got a lot of people into copyright disputes.

However, “fair use” exists, but does not really apply to most cases where content creators want to use songs they don’t have necessary rights to use.

There’s a common belief that anyone can use a small part of a copyrighted piece of music in their content without facing copyright claims. However, in general, that’s incorrect.

How to Give Credit for Copyrighted Music

You could use copyrighted music if you were able to get direct permission from the owner. Another way is to get a royalty-free license.

You can also try to use music that’s not copyrighted in the first place. Public domain music is free to use for everyone, and there are plenty of resources for them on the web. These include:

On a side note, keep in mind that there are some pitfalls when it comes to using public domain music. For instance, Mozart’s Symphony #40 may be free to use in the public domain, but a recording of it for an orchestra may be copyrighted.

Can You Use Copyrighted Music If You Give Credit in the Description of Your Video or Podcast?

This is another common myth that made people think that giving credit in the description is enough to dodge copyright claims. But again, simply writing “I don’t own this music” in the description and linking to the song doesn’t mean you’ve been granted a license to use the music for any duration.

Summary

To recap, you should use “zero” seconds of copyrighted music in your content, at least if you want to avoid copyright claims.

The best way to approach this is to get your license the correct way and avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

You can also use public domain and royalty-free licensed music. There are lots of resources for them on the web.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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