youtube copyright music

You would have thought that using any of the free Apple media such as music loops supplied with the Pro Applications, wouldn't raise any copyright issues. Wrong. A cautionary tale from Alex Snelling and a drumbeat that YouTube didn't like. 

We will let Alex take up his story:


Who remembers Soundtrack Pro?  Along with Garageband and the extra Jampacks that came with a DotMac account, Soundtrack gave you a huge copyright free library of loops, samples and music beds to use however you wanted, many of which are now included in the Final Cut Pro X audio library.  Copyright free did you say?  Of course.  Well apparently not...

Back in 2005, at Slack Alice Films, we knocked out a bunch of travel videos to be presented as a business.  Since that time, our videos have been screening on a YouTube channel providing a very modest income supplement.

They were shot mainly on HDV with music composed in Soundtrack or Garageband.

One such video - entitled Secret Indian Beach, produced originally in 2006, was put up in 2010.  Last week, we noticed that this vid had a YouTube Copyright claim outstanding and monetisation had been suspended. We had received no email or other communication telling us about this so understandably, we were quite miffed and decided look into this spurious claim.  (It wasn’t so much the loss of monetisation that was worrying as the fact that copyright claims affect your channel standing and you can get videos removed and other penalties. Quite scary if your income stream depends on YouTube - luckily ours is just pocket money.

Now 2006 was so long ago that I can't remember exactly how the music had been composed but I know I used either STPro or Garageband and so was rather bemused that anyone could have any claim over it - after all - those Apple loops are copyright free. Right?

On further investigation I found a company called Rebeat was disputing my ownership of the music (composed by me).  And they had got Youtube to give me effectively a yellow card caution for misusing their track.

What is going on? - I thought to myself.  (Alex used a more expressive TLA here that we decided to modify- Ed)

I double checked the track. It definitely was all my own work. So what was going on?

Here is my video with our music:


And here is the track they were claiming that we had used in our video. (You can play the track at the top using the waveform-like player - the disputed part is clearest around a third of the way through when the beat first drops out.)


Almost anyone would be able to tell that the two tracks use the same drum loop in the background - so what has happened here?

There was no date on the claim, so I had no idea how long the monetisation had been suspended for but most frustratingly, the only action open to me was to remove the offending track from my video (which I didn’t because I knew I was in the right). There was nowhere to counterclaim or even question what was going on.

I am guessing that Rebeat have some spider-like technology scanning the web for their clients' tracks.  When they find a potential claim, they notify YouTube and YouTube suspends your video.  

A potentially clever solution if it worked but...

Firstly, the sample was a copyright free sample, probably sourced from one of the Apple Jampacks but certainly copyright free.

Secondly and just as infuriating, the publish date of the track on Beatport was over a year LATER than when had uploaded my track to YouTube and a full 5 years later than the original production of my track. Metadata mavericks - not!! A simple cross-check of date information would have ended this claim before it even started. 

I am a long time believer in the altruistic (Do No Evil) intentions of Google (call me naive) but it is a surprise to me that Google are allowing this to happen.  

Since when did this guilty until proven innocent policy kick in on YouTube?

So what happened?

We did eventually find a line of communication deep in the bowels of YouTube (not an email link but one of those nice online forms that doesn’t allow you to keep a copy of your message unless you remember to copy and paste). So we sent a rather pointed message, asking for an explanation.

And lo and behold we got a message the very next day saying the copyright claim had magically ended - no reason given apart from nothing had happened for a month and so it was being rescinded. Coincidence? Perhaps. But what is for sure is that the reckless use of this underdeveloped spider technology is risking the livelihoods of quite a lot of Final Cut Pro X users out there - especially if they cannot prove that the music is non-copyright.

It would seem only a matter of time that a much more serious claim is made such as feature film that has already gone out on iTunes.  It would be interesting to hear what Apple’s policy is on this and whether they can offer any protection or at least backup, if a really serious case did come along.

You have been warned.

Alex Snelling  Slack Alice Films


Quite a surprising story from Alex. We don't think Rebeat is the bad guy here, it is the content matching ability in YouTube at fault. They probably put all their tracks into the Video publisher's vaults that then get analysed ready for legitimate claims of misuse.

We have had to get a YouTube channel 'white listed' by a big music publisher to avoid complications. (Not Rebeat) This was after the music was bought with a licence for social media and video sharing sites only!

youtube fox mahoney


Another case we heard about was Fox Mahoney having two of his videos flagged as 'inapropriate' on YouTube. They both used Apple Loops, but were not flagged under Content ID. The case is still under investigation, but in the meantime, he's chalked up one strike and had some privileges revoked.

The moral of the story? Even though an uploaded video might be all your own work, somebody somewhere might have a claim to it. If your videos get claims against them, it is up to you to prove that the claim is incorrect.

 This could be very awkward if the targeted video is one you have made for a client.


Written by
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I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

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2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

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Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


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BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

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Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

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I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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