Video Production: Youtube music violation??

I think I've now 'broken my cherry' when it comes to having a channel on Youtube... I got red-flagged for music copyright infringement.

It was for the Mousetrap miniature game review, which used 'The Entertainer', a piano ragtime tune written by Scott Joplin in 1902.

I downloaded the MP3 for it from, which seems a good quality resource site for Creative Commons licensed music, and gives you clear links and details of what to add in your accreditation.

This version was presumably performed by someone and added to the site - however somehow, it got red-flagged by Youtube!

To explain:

In your Youtube video channel admin page, you get an overview of all videos you've added - under one of these (The Mousetrap one) I suddenly noticed there was a some red text saying that the video contains copyright-infringing music and must be removed.

Looking into it, Youtube has some kind of clever algorithm that automatically checks all videos and detects any kind of music within them. It then 'reads' the sound patterns and checks it against a database of copyrighted music. If there's a match, it marks it to be deleted. Clever stuff.

For The Entertainer, it marked that it was copyrighted from the soundtrack of the 1973 movie The Sting, which it must appear in - however my version wasn't taken from this soundtrack.

But if this happens, there is a  'dispute this' button where you can then put your arguments to Youtube. If they agree, the video is 'un-marked'. If they don't, and you fail to remove the video, they can delete your account. And that's append may times apparently.

If you get one and you got it from a reputable source, my advice is write a succinct message in the 'dispute this' form, outlining:

  • the site you got it from
  • the type of Creative Commons / Public Domain licence or agreement that covers it
  • a link to the Creative Commons licence page (which you should have on your video accreditation)
  • a confirmation that you HAVE an accreditation on your video, in accordance with the terms of the CC / Public Domain license
  • be polite, and say that if the above is still not correct, then you will of course remove the video

That way there shouldn't be any problems. Just because its on a CC sharing site doesn't mean that it actually is - the creator of the music or the site may be in error of the rights, so be careful.

I'd favour on the side of Youtube on the argument - keep them happy as they can just turn your channel off instantly. The creative commons sites can't help you on that score.

The outcome of my own 'flagging'?

The conceded it wasn't an infringement and removed the label. There was no accompanying message, it just got removed and the video is fine.

Something to keep an eye on though.

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