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How to tell if a song is copyrighted

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How to tell if a song is copyrighted: A few days ago, you accidentally listened to a song and now you would like to use it as the background for a video to be posted online. There’s just one little question you can’t resolve: is the song in question copyrighted or can it be used freely? Good question! But thanks to the power of the internet, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding an answer.

Indeed, if you want, I can explain directly to you how to tell if a song has copyright. In this guide, in fact, I will have the opportunity to deal with the topic by proposing different solutions, such as doing a simple online search (which more often than not is enough to solve doubts about a particular song), check for the presence of the copyright symbol or use the verification tool made available on YouTube.

Courage: make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next paragraphs and, more importantly, follow the instructions I am about to give you step-by-step to find out if the songs you are interested in are protected by law. author or not. Happy reading and good luck for everything!

Do a search online

As I told you in the introductory lines of the article, do a search online it is usually sufficient for understand if a song has the copyright or less. By doing a search on the Internet, in fact, you may come across the artist’s website (more or less famous that he is) and there you could find all the useful information for your purpose.

To proceed, therefore, open your favorite browser and search on Google (or, if you prefer, on another search engine) the song of your interest. Maybe you can type something like “[titolo brano] [nome dell’artista] copyright” and see what comes out.

On the page containing the search results, see if you find any useful information about the song you are looking for. You may, for example, be able to trace the site of the artist who created the song or the official video clip of the song on YouTube (or similar sites).

In any case, if you have been able to trace the source of the song, you should be able to consult the relative ones rights and terms of useto find out if the content is copyrighted or not.

If, for example, you have come to an artist’s site and want to consult the terms of use of the contents therein, usually just scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on links such as Terms of use, Terms of use, Terms of service or Copyright.

All you have to do is check for any prohibitions on the reuse of the songs and content on the site and that’s it: if it is not allowed to reproduce, copy and / or download the songs, lyrics, etc., it is evident that the song you were looking for is protected by copyright.

Check for the copyright symbol


Check for the copyright symbolthat is the symbol ©, is the simplest and most immediate way to understand if a song is protected by copyright or not. If through the information I gave you in the previous chapter you managed to go back to the site or video clip of the song you are interested in, try to see if the symbol in question is present (usually followed by the year in which the song was produced and / or marketed).

If it is present, there are no doubts: the song is protected by copyright and you cannot use it (unless you ask the author’s permission and he gives his approval).

Use the YouTube verification tool

Search for songs on YouTube

Are you planning to reuse a song in a YouTube video? Then you will be pleased to know that you can use it YouTube copyright check tool, designed specifically for situations like the one you are in: by using it, you can avoid running into blocks due to violations of copyright. How to use? I’ll explain it to you right away.

First, go to the YouTube main page and, if you haven’t done so yet, log into your Google account. Then click on yours photo (top right), select the item YouTube Studio from the menu that opens and, in the left sidebar, click on the wording Audio collection.

If you want information about the use of a certain passage, then write its title in the text field Search for music (on the right) and press Enter on the keyboard to start the search. Among the results obtained, then identify the song of your interest and click on the ▶ ︎ button corresponding to it.

If the selected song is not subject to copyright, you should see the writing You can freely use this song in any of your videos under its title; if, on the other hand, no correspondence is found, the use of the song is most likely prohibited, as it is copyrighted content.

How to find copyright-free songs

Free Music Archive

I conclude this guide by explaining you briefly how to find copyright free songs. If you are reading this part of the tutorial, in fact, it is very likely that you have discovered that a song you wanted to use in your projects is actually protected by copyright and, therefore, you would like to replace it with a “copyright free” content. Did I guess? Well, then know that you can turn to various services that allow you to find copyright-free songs to use in your projects: here are some of the most valid examples.

  • Free Music Archive – is a portal that collects hundreds of copyright-free songs, which are granted by artists to the public completely free of charge.
  • Freestockmusic – service working after free registration, through which it is possible to find many songs without copyright.
  • Soundjay – is another useful portal for finding songs and sound effects no longer subject to copyright, organized in specific categories that greatly facilitate their finding.

If you are interested in this, I have described the operation of the aforementioned portals in this other guide: at least take a look and you will not regret it.