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Is it legal to use audio files from a YouTube video?

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  • Is it legal to use audio files from a YouTube video?

    I've titled a song of mine "Just Do It", which will be released on iTunes and YouTube sometime next week.

    It's meant to be a fun song and lyrics of the song was inspired by the old viral video "Just Do It" by Shia LaBeouf.

    https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=wCxRKb_kZzI

    I had an idea of adding a small audio part from his video where he says "JUST DO IT" into the YouTube video I'll be uploading for that song. I think it would be a fun addition since a lot of the lyrics for that song are inspired by what he says in his motivational video that went viral. I will fully credit him in the description as well.

    Am I breaking any YouTube copyright laws? Am I better off not taking the risk?
    Last edited by KevinTJH; 01-18-2017, 07:22 PM.

  • #2
    You are going to infringe on his copyright. Contact the Harry Fox Agency and pay the mechanical license fee for this use.
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    • #3
      YouTube in general I think is a bit shady who owns copyright but seeing as you're using it for something 'commercial' (a song) I'd recommend being safe. You could always go to Fiverr or a similar site and get someone to do it in the same 'style' - that way you can prove the audio is yours.
      I run Subreel and write about music.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Subreel View Post
        YouTube in general I think is a bit shady who owns copyright but seeing as you're using it for something 'commercial' (a song) I'd recommend being safe.
        YouTube doesn't own the copyright - it belongs to the person who made the recording - unless they've licensed / assigned / sold it to someone else, such as a publisher. The creator of the video / copyright owner grants YouTube the ability to stream it when they create an account and upload it, but that's it.

        The sound recording that is intrinsic to a video recording is covered under copyright law, and copyright ownership of a work is automatic as soon as the work is permanently affixed to a medium (IOW, recorded), so whenever you see a video or hear a recording, it's best to assume that you need permission of the copyright owner to utilize any part of it - especially if you're doing so for commercial (and not "fair use") purposes.

        You could always go to Fiverr or a similar site and get someone to do it in the same 'style' - that way you can prove the audio is yours.
        If you're going to go that route, it would be best to draw up a "work for hire" agreement and have it signed by the person you're hiring to do the recording / voiceover - that way, there's no potential claim of ownership from them at a later date, since they've acknowledged that what they're doing is under your direction, that you own the copyright, and that they've already been compensated for their work in full by you hiring / paying them to perform it.


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