Are you having a difficult time getting a handle on how to use copyrighted music on Facebook legally? Legally Licensing royalty free music for your Facebook videos, Instagram videos & Vimeo videos can be tricky to navigate, but you’ve come to the right place to learn how to do just that.
Millions of videos are viewed billions of times on Facebook every single day, making it a key platform to tap into if you’re trying to grow your following. Music, especially something evocative, catchy or unique can stop viewers scrolling past your Facebook videos, sit up and take notice of your content.
Before you upload your videos to Facebook, you need to do a few checks. Facebook themselves recommend your content ticks all of the following before you click the upload button:
- Is the content of the video 100% unique? I.e. have I made the content and the music myself?
- If the music isn’t my own, do I have permission to use it?
- Does the use of the music count as ‘fair use’ or count as an exception to copyright?
When you can tick off all these boxes, your content should be ready to upload without any worry of copyright infringement.
If you aren’t sure, or the questions in that list are confusing to you, we’re here to help. In this guide we’ll touch on using copyrighted royalty free music for Facebook videos, what to avoid, how to upload your videos and finally, what happens if you do get caught out with a copyright claim.
Can copyrighted music be used on Facebook?
When you’re trying to work out whether you can use copyrighted music on Facebook the answer isn’t as cut and dry as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Always assume the answer is “no, you cannot use copyrighted music on Facebook” and you’ll not have any problems.
The longer answer though, is yes, you can use copyrighted music on Facebook, you just have to have the rights, permissions or license to that piece of music.
Facebook takes a strong stance on copyrighted music and if you upload a video that uses a track you don’t have the license for, you’ll get stung. You just need to get hold of a license, and that can sometimes be both easier, and cheaper, than the reality.
Confused yet? We’ve got you.
With the growing popularity of Facebook videos, the company entered into deals with the biggest music publishers in 2018. This means they teamed up with the likes of Sony and Universal Music Group to both tackle copyright but also make those company’s tracks more accessible through things like the Facebook Sound Collection. More on that later, but in the meantime we’re going to cover the basics on avoiding a copyright infringement claim.
How to avoid copyright infringement on Facebook?
Whenever you’re uploading content to any platform, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, it’s worth understanding how to avoid infringing on copyright. You don’t want a slap on the hand, a video blocked or your whole platform suspended. The simplest things to understand for avoiding copyright infringement on Facebook include:
1- Read up on Facebook’s copyright policies
According to Facebook’s copyright FAQ, the only way to be 100% sure you aren’t violating someone else’s copyright is to post only content you made yourself.
Now, this can get a bit tricky. What if you found a free song on the internet and play it in the background? What if you bought the song on iTunes and then used it in your video? How about if you post a disclaimer in your video claiming you don’t own the copyright and try to accurately identify the copyright owner? You need to learn the basics of copyright in music before you get going with uploading videos to Facebook.
Unfortunately, all of these scenarios might result in you violating copyright law. Your intent isn’t a defense, either. Even if you didn’t mean to violate copyright law, you could still get in trouble for using copyrighted music without permission.
2 – Avoid sharing music you have not licensed
We’ve touched on this already, but it’s key for avoiding copyright infringement. If you don’t have a license, or specific permission from a copyright owner to use a track, then simply don’t use it.
Not using copyrighted music is by far the easiest way to avoid an infringement, and assuming you don’t have the permission or the license to use it is the easiest way to get around it. If you do want to use copyrighted music, then getting a license through a site like Lickd is the simplest solution as we cut out the middleman and make these tracks much more accessible and cheaper.
We’ll go into this in much more detail below, to help you understand.
How to post music on Facebook without copyright?
If you don’t want to live a life of crime, there are ways to add music to your videos without running afoul of copyright law. Let’s take a look at your options.
1. Use stock music libraries
Stock music libraries have large stores of stock music created by aspiring musicians. The tracks in music libraries are often instrumental-only — no lyrics and you won’t find any of the hit songs you hear on the radio. While songs from stock music libraries may be acceptable in some cases, they don’t always have the power you need to take your videos to the next level. Finding a hit song in a stock music library is harder than finding a diamond in the rough. Wouldn’t you rather have the option of hunting for a gem in a jewelry store?
2. License directly from copyright holders
If you want to do away with bland stock music, you could choose the perfect song and contact the copyright holder directly. However, finding the copyright owner is often an uphill battle. First, you’ll need to identify all the copyright owners. Because different people may own the song copyright and sound recording copyright — for example, a publisher and a record label — you may end up on a never-ending quest. Even if you do find the copyright holder, they may deny your request or ask for a monstrous sum in exchange for a license.
3. License hit music with Lickd
If you want to use copyrighted music on Facebook legally and without the hassle of contacting copyright owners yourself to ask for permission, check out Lickd. The Lickd music library has over 20,000+ commercial tracks that have been pre-cleared with copyright owners for use on social video platforms. When you use Lickd, you’ll get access to a wide array of engaging music for videos, which you can filter based on mood, genre, artist, and more.
Lickd music won’t break the bank, either. Licked uses a sliding scale based on your past videos’ views to provide you with a customized pricing schedule.
4. Use Facebook’s sound collection
The easiest solution, outside of simply using your own material, is to source your music and sounds from the Facebook Sound Collection. Facebook partnered with a number of publishers and creators to introduce the Sound Collection to their creative dashboard a few years ago, and it’s designed to help users add music and sound effects to their content without breaching copyright.
Facebook actually owns all the rights to these tracks and effects and you can use them free of charge. This obviously means the tracks in the library are widely used and often more than a little generic, so to stand out you may well want to look elsewhere.
5. Use royalty-free music
Similar to the Facebook Sound Collection is sourcing your tracks from a royalty free music library. These sites and libraries will let you use music without paying for royalties, and can let you widen the net from the Facebook Sound Collection.
What is royalty free music? Royalty free music is music you can use where you don’t have to pay ongoing royalty fees. Music royalties could include a percentage of your earnings or a recurring fee.
On paper this sounds great, but there are still a few limitations you need to consider with royalty free music for Facebook videos.
- You may still need to pay a considerable upfront fee. Royalty free doesn’t always mean ‘free’
- Royalty free libraries are often full of generic stock music
What happens if I post copyrighted music on Facebook?
If you use copyrighted music without permission, Facebook may remove your video. Next, you’ll receive an email or a notification letting you know about the removal and explaining your options. If you believe the removal was a mistake — because you either own the rights to the content or have permission — you can contact the person who told Facebook to remove the video and try to resolve the issue. You can also file a counter-notification, which we’ve discussed below.
What if I repeatedly post copyrighted content on Facebook?
If you continue to post other people’s copyrighted music without permission, you’ll be deemed a “repeat infringer”. Repeat infringers are no good, and neither are the consequences of being one. If Facebook determines you’re a repeat infringer, they may disable your account or remove your page. Depending on the nature of your infringement, Facebook may revoke your ability to post or lock other functionalities.
What if I have the rights to the music?
If you’re the copyright owner — or you got permission to use the music — you can file a ”counter-notification”. If the party who alerted Facebook to the infringement doesn’t file a lawsuit, Facebook will revive your post, and the takedown won’t count as a strike in Facebook’s repeat infringer policy. Your record will be clean.
What happens when Facebook removes your content?
Notes – This is one the competitor included which I think makes total sense to include.
When Facebook removes a video because of a breach in copyright you’ll be informed in two ways:
- Receive an email to your registered email address
- Receive a notification on your Facebook account or page
At this stage you can either appeal directly to the copyright owner of your track or else follow the instructions in the email to submit an appeal to Facebook. They don’t always get it right, and sometimes a track may be flagged as breaching copyright when it hasn’t, so if you feel like there’s been a mistake it can be worth appealing.
Unsafe ways to use music on Facebook
With millions of people sharing a variety of different types of content daily, it’s likely you’ve seen some fairly creative ways that people have thought to not get copyrighted on Facebook. We’re going to bust a few myths to help you understand what you can’t do when it comes to uploading music to the platform.
1. Using a track you own a copy of
Unfortunately, simply owning a track, whether it’s on CD, vinyl, digital download, or through a streaming subscription, doesn’t give you the necessary rights to use it on Facebook, or any other platform for that matter. Owning a copy of a piece of music means you’ve purchased the right to personal use of that music, i.e. listening at home, in your car or similar. It does not give you the right to use it for personal gain.
2. Adding a generic disclaimer or attribution
You’ve undoubtedly seen it under a video on Facebook, someone has just added ‘I do not own the rights to this music’ in the description and smugly feels like they’ve evaded decades of copyright laws. Unfortunately, this is another situation where you could get burnt. While you may well need to add a disclaimer when you legally use copyrighted music, it’s usually part of your license agreement not instead of one.
Not sure about a particular track? Learn how to tell if a song is copyrighted.
3. Using music in live streams
Even if the music in your Livestream isn’t the focus you can still have your content removed. Watch out for music in the background, even if it’s only quiet, or be careful of uploading videos from that concert you attended. While it may seem innocuous, Facebook regularly takes down videos and streams for using music in these ways.
Recap: Avoiding Facebook copyright infringement
We understand it’s a lot to take in, so for anyone looking for the tldr; avoiding copyright infringement on Facebook is as simple as:
- Get to know Facebook’s copyright policies. Read them and read them again and follow them to the letter.
- Only use music and sounds you have the rights, permission or license for. Get this directly from a rights holder, through the Facebook Sound Collection or license with Lickd.
- Upload content unique to you. If all that sounds like it’s too much, only upload content you’ve created yourself, including the music.
At Lickd, we’re experts in music licensing for social media. We work closely with the biggest labels to make the hottest tracks from the best artists available for Facebook creators. License hit music with Lickd and make your Facebook videos stand out from the crowd.