Why Is YouTube’s ‘Royalty-Free Audio’ Library Resulting In Mass Copyright Strikes?

YouTube Copyright Strike
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Several popular gaming YouTubers have received mass copyright strikes. The use of the track “Dreams” by Joakim Karud is the center of the controversy.

YouTuber Matt Lowne took to Twitter over the weekend to ask about copyright strikes he was receiving. He’s been uploading videos of the space simulation game Kerbal Space Program since 2013.

Lowne’s intro samples the track “Dreams” by Joakim Karud ⁠— which he obtained from YouTube’s audio library.

Despite going through the proper channels (and not experiencing a problem for six years), all hell broke loose last week. Lowne began receiving email after email from YouTube for copyright strikes. Every single one of his Kerbal Space Program videos had been targeted.

Copies of the email said the videos “may have content owned or licensed by SonyATV, PeerMusic, Warner Chappell, Audiam and LatinAutor.” Now all ads displayed on those videos split the revenue between all named companies.

The composer of the track in question has allowed anyone to use his music on YouTube commercially for free. Matt downloaded the track from YouTube’s own audio library, so what’s the issue here? Does this mean any music in that library is not safe to use for creators?

Matt tried to protest the automated claims manually, but they were all rejected. Now his only option is to appeal the decision for each video.

If an appeal is lost, videos are removed completely, and a copyright strike is issued. With hundreds of claims against his account and a three-strikes-you’re-out policy ⁠— Matt isn’t eager to tackle the issue.

The issue isn’t isolated to one Kerbal Space Program video maker either. Several reports on Twitter surfaced after Matt revealed what happened to him ⁠— and it finally painted a clearer picture of why the claims happened.

Both Sony/ATV and Warner Chappell were aggressively claiming the song because it samples another song ⁠— Kenny Burrell Quartet’s “Weaver of Dreams.” That 1956 song’s copyright is owned by none other than Sony/ATV and Warner/Chappell.

3 Responses

  1. Make Me A Bird

    Anyone who worked outside Google music is suppressed beyond your wildest dreams
    Anyone outside a music label is suppressed beyond your wildest imagination
    Welcome to music in the digital age
    Lions Tigers And Bears

  2. Sylvester

    I wouldn’t call this headline slanderous but it is certainly stupid. Way to bury the lede here – the issue is clearly that this goofball Joakim Karud either sampled or interpolated something that wasn’t his, and presented the final product to Youtube as if it was 100% original material. Is this appearing as an issue in the rest of the library? No. So why frame it in a way that implies something untoward is going on on a grander scale? Bad journalism.