Shockwave-Sound Blog and Articles
Copyrights and Wrongs

Copyrights and Wrongs

Is music plagiarism cut and dried or are there still ‘Blurred Lines’?

Throughout the history of music there have been melodies, rhythms and lyrics that closely resemble existing compositions. So is it clear in the eyes of the law when homage, inspiration or musical parody becomes outright musical theft?

History Repeats Itself

Despite the controversy surrounding the recent high profile case of the Thicke and Williams track ‘Blurred Lines’ and it’s legal dispute with the estate of Marvin Gaye, musical plagiarism is far from a new phenomenon.

In the early 1960’s The Beach Boys were forced to relinquish the publishing rights of their song ‘Surfin’ USA’ to Chuck Berry’s publisher due to its similarity to one of Berry’s compositions. Led Zeppelin got into hot water when there second album was found to have lyrics and riffs copied from early blues artists such as Willie Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf.

Rod Stewart didn’t feel quite so horny when his song ‘Do You Think I’m Sexy’ was found to have a number of similarities to another composition, ‘Taj Mahal’ by Brazilian composer Jorge Ben Jor.

In the 1990’s, the Oasis hit ‘Whatever’ was forced to share songwriting credits with former Bonzo Dog & Python lyricist Neil Innes for its similarity with his song ‘How Sweet to be an Idiot’.

And the Manchester brothers were in trouble a second time when The New Seekers questioned the similarity between their hit ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’ and the Oasis song ‘Shakermaker’.

Plagiarism cases have continued throughout the 21st Century. Sam Smith’s Grammy nominated hit, ‘Stay With Me’ was the subject of an out-of-court settlement with Tom Petty and ELO’s Jeff Lynne, when it was decided the melody contained too many similarities to Petty’s hit ‘I Won’t Back Down’.

And UK producer Mark Ronson was forced to add writer’s credits to various members of The Gap Band for copying one of their hits on his multi million selling worldwide hit single ‘Uptown Funk’.

The latest high profile case concerns Jay Z and producer Timberland with their long running lawsuit defending their hit Big Pimpin’ and its interpolation of the Egyptian love ballad Khosara Khosara.
With these examples and many, many more besides, surely it’s clear that there must be very well defined rules to govern whether a song is copied or not. Or are there?

What exactly does the Law have to say about musical plagiarism?

The Law and How it Stands

Well, in many cases it seems to boil down to quantity. Exactly how much of the copyrighted material has been copied? Just a little, or is it a substantial amount?

If it’s more than what is considered to be paying homage to a particular artist or song, then the alarm bells of ‘infringement’ may begin to toll. And when an entire melody or motif is undeniably similar then the laws will irrefutably consider it as a copyright infringement.

And since the ‘Blurred Lines’ case, the substantiality clause has been extended. It’s not only a similar melody or copied lyric, but also the ‘feel’ of the composition. Its very ‘soul’. Its ‘mojo’ that may also be copied.

The second thing that the law considers is the ‘likelihood’ that the artist may have plagiarised the work. For example, someone who has gone on record as being the numero uno David Bowie fanatic all their life, is more likely to be under suspicion if they release a track based on the chord structure, lyrics and melody line of ‘Heroes’. It could indeed be presumed that they have copied the track from their ‘hero’ Mr. Bowie. Any similarities will certainly not work in their favour.

Interestingly, Bowie has often described himself as a musical magpie. Citing in one interview that it’s knowing ‘what to steal and when to steal it’ that is the trick to good songwriting.

But then again his remarkable genius elevates any would-be homage into an entirely new stratosphere. Quantum Plagiarism if you like. Yes, there may be an essence of the Rolling Stones and Velvet Underground in Aladdin Sane. But could either of those artists have written such songs or created such an album?

Thou Shalt Not Steal

Plagiarism or copying music also includes the actual physical audio. Sampling has notoriously been responsible for a number of plagiarism court cases since affordable digital samplers were introduced in the 1980s.

An early example of problems arising from digital sampling was on a record by UK chillout producers, The Orb. Their 1990 release ‘A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld’ featured a big slice of the song ‘Loving You’ by Minnie Ripperton. It floated into the track as if in a dream. Panning around the stereo field, bathed in delay and reverb. A very pleasant effect that enhanced the Orb’s live DJ shows at the time. But including it on a published release was to land them in a great deal of trouble with Minnie Ripperton’s publishers and pretty soon after the release, the record was withdrawn. Only to appear later with the Ripperton version replaced by a hastily recorded sound-alike.

Another high profile case was a little known record by Rap artist Biz Markie. The track was called ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’ and featured a 10 second loop from the Gilbert O’Sullivan track of the same name. This became a test case for digital sampling when it was taken to court in 1991. O’Sullivan’s publishers won the case with the judge in summing up, quoting from the Ten Commandments. ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’.

Pretty soon after this case, publishers and record companies became aware of this new phenomenon and clauses began to appear in every new contract that was issued to bands, DJs and artists. The record companies were keen to take no responsibility for the content of the record and to ensure that the artist cleared any samples that appeared on recordings prior to their release.
But even with these clauses in place, there were still outstanding issues to resolve. Records by the likes of Snoop Dogg and Doctor Dre would simply not exist were it not for the God-like genius of legendary producer George Clinton, who is still fighting to contest royalties from a number of artists that sampled P-Funk riffs from Funkadelic & Parliament.

Making A Mockery

So what help does the Law offer to struggling composers keen to make a living from what is after all a somewhat restrictive 12 note scale?

Recent updates include a law that recognises ‘parody’.

A work that evokes an existing work while being noticeably different from it and constituting an expression of humour and mockery.

This is clearly aimed at the YouTuber generation, but it does offer a glimmer of hope that satire and parody may be recognised as a reason for plagiarism, rather than the obvious lack of originality.
However, this Law may be more help to the likes of Weird Al Yankovic or Flight of the Conchords-type parodies. Or the ancient art of musical imitation made popular in the 60’s and 70’s by artists like The Baron Knights, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and the Not The Nine O’clock News team’s musical sketches. Of little use perhaps to today’s more serious musicians, producers and songwriters who are less inclined to include humerous parody in their songwriting.

In Summing Up

Hard as it may seem, the obvious thing for songwriters to do is to never copy other artists when creating music or composing songs. But this just isn’t feasible. And as these examples prove, plagiarism is almost a necessary tool, some may say an integral part of the musical process. But it’s knowing the point where enthusiastic inspiration has spilt over into the realms of forgery. Then having the musical ability to pull back from that abyss and taking another route. Investing some pure originality into a composition. And only using other people’s work as a springboard to something new may be the key to original composition. After all, it seems that songwriting and music making owes as much to its rich, dynamic history as it does to it’s as yet unwritten future.

Focus on classical music this week

Focus on classical music this week

Good quality, royalty free classical music, is hard to come by. That’s just a fact.

Why? Because hiring an orchestra, with studio time and engineer, is extremely costly and time consuming. It’s a process that requires meticulous planning and preparation and costs “a small fortune” to get it done.

In the “stock music scene” there have been various sources of so-called royalty free classical music, of dubious origin. On some “free for all, self-uploading” websites, you can find classical music recordings that almost certainly don’t actually belong to the person who uploaded them, but rather sourced from some published CD, and belonging to another company.

If “some guy” is uploading fully orchestrated recordings of classical masterpieces, you need to ask yourself if that guy really spent the time, effort and money (possibly several hundreds of thousands of dollars) on getting that music recorded, so that he could sell it for $15 at a stock media site that allows a free-for-all self-uploading of content for sale. It goes without saying, that recording is not going to be safe, copyright wise.

Here at Shockwave-Sound.com we have also been exposed to these “unsafe” recordings, likely to be copyrighted to some company who doesn’t know that their recordings are being uploaded to stock music sites.

Instead, we focus on getting a smaller volume of recordings done, but to have them done from scratch, exclusively for our company. At the time of writing, we have 74 such exclusive classical recordings that we ourselves have organized and got recorded for us on a work-for-hire basis. We are adding to that regularly, so by the time you read this, we may have many more. These recordings are not for sale through any other stock music / royalty-free music website.

This week we decided to put some of these tracks together onto CD-collections. We have released 4 new Royalty-Free Classical Music albums this week, with the following track listings:

https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/612/classical-favorites-vol-1

Classical Favorites Vol 1:

  • Bach: Prelude No 1
  • Beethoven: Für Elise
  • Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata Movement 1
  • Delibes: Sylvia Pizzicato
  • Grieg: In The Hall of the Mountain King
  • Grieg: Morning Mood from Peer Gynt
  • Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Allegro
  • Mozart: K545 Sonata in C Major Movement 1
  • Rossini: William Tell Overture
  • Purcell: Trumpet Tune for String Quartet
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/613/classical-favorites-vol-2
  • Satie: Gnossiene No 1
  • Satie: Gymnopedie No 1
  • Sousa: Semper Fidelis
  • Tchaikovsky: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker
  • Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Chinese Tea Dance
  • Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Dance of the Mirlitons
  • Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker March
  • Händel: Sarabande
  • Purcell: Trumpet Tune
  • Schubert: Ave Maria
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/614/classical-favorites-vol-3
  • Vivaldi: Four Seasons Spring RV269 Movement 1 Allegro
  • Vivaldi: Four Seasons Spring RV269 Movement 3 Allegro pastorale
  • Vivaldi: Four Seasons Winter RV297 Movement 1 Allegro non molto
  • Vivaldi: Four Seasons Winter RV297 Movement 2 Largo
  • Chopin: Minute Waltz
  • Holst: Saturn from The Planets Suite
  • Sousa: Liberty Bell
  • Sousa: The Thunderer
  • Scott Joplin: The Entertainer
  • Saint-Saens: Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/615/classical-favorites-vol-4
  • Strauss: The Blue Danube
  • Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Act 1 Finale
  • Bach: Air On the G String
  • Bach: Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring
  • Bach: Wachet Auf aka Sleepers Awake BWV 140
  • Beethoven: Symphony 5 Movement 1
  • Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March 1
  • Händel: Entrance of The Queen of Sheba
  • Händel: Hornpipe from Water Music
  • Holst: Jupiter from the Planets suite
Those were the 4 new releases we’ve put together this week. We already had the individual tracks in our catalog and have been acquiring them over a longer period of time, but it was only this week that we put them together into “CD-collections”.
From previously, we also have these two:
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/378/classical-strauss-lanner
  • Lanner Steyrische Tanze
  • Strauss An Der Schonen Blauen Donau
  • Strauss Annen Polka
  • Strauss Der Zigeunerbaron Overture
  • Strauss Die Fledermaus Overture
  • Strauss Dorfschwalben aus Osterreich
  • Strauss Gschichten aus dem Wienerwald
  • Strauss Kaiser Waltzer
  • Strauss Pizzicato Polka
  • Strauss Radetzky Marsch
  • Strauss Tritsch-Tratsch Polka
  • Strauss Unter Donner und Blitz
https://www.shockwave-sound.com/royalty-free-music-collection/571/classical-piano-favorites-vol-1 
  • Bach Prelude in C major BWV846
  • Beethoven Pathetique Sonata 2nd movement Adagio cantabile
  • Chopin Mazurka in A minor op. 17 no. 4
  • Chopin Mazurka in C sharp minor op. 63 no. 3
  • Chopin Nocturne in E flat major op. 9 no. 2
  • Chopin Nocturne no. 20 in C sharp minor op posth
  • Chopin Prelude in E minor op. 28 no. 4
  • Chopin Raindrops Prelude op. 28 no. 15
  • Liszt Consolation no. 3 in D flat major S.172
  • Mendelssohn Song Without Words in E major op. 19 no. 1
  • Mozart Piano Sonata no. 12 K332 2nd movement Adagio
  • Schubert Impromptu in G-flat major op. 90 no. 3 D899
  • Schubert Moment musicaux in F minor no. 3 op. 94 D780
  • Schumann Dreaming from Scenes from Childhood op. 15 no. 7
  • Scriabin Etude in C sharp minor op. 2 no. 1
  • Tchaikovsky June (Barcarolle) from The Seasons op. 37a no. 6
We hope you enjoy the music, safe in the knowledge that they can be licensed for use in media and in public, without fear of copyright infringement.
Keeping track of music copyrights – the difference between Sound Recording ownership and Composition ownership

Keeping track of music copyrights – the difference between Sound Recording ownership and Composition ownership


We received a question by email today which I set about answering in the shortest and clearest way I could. I think it could be a useful piece of information for anybody looking to “use” music in any way, be it for school, for your company, in a public place, and so on.

So the question was something along the lines of:

“I’m going teach music in an online course, it’s a school project. I’ll be playing the music myself. Do I need  to buy license? Or can I just go ahead and do that, without paying anybody anything?”

And the answer is:

Whenever you want to use music for anything other than just personal listening, there are two copyrights to think about: (1) the composition, (2) the sound recording.

Let’s start with looking at the sound recording. I understand that you just wish to play the music yourself, and not use existing sound recordings. So the sound recordings will be of you yourself playing your instrument(s), which means that you in fact will own the sound recording.

Then there is the composition. Any composer who has composed a piece of music automatically owns the copyright to that composition. If you want to distribute, play in public or in any other way exploit a piece of music that another person has composed, you need to get permission/license from that person or his representative.

However, when a composer dies, 70 years* pass and then the composition turns into Public Domain. The copyright in the composition “goes away” 70 years* after the death of the composer. So if you are dealing with traditional folk songs or classical music that was composed hundreds of years ago, there are no copyrights in the compositions.

(* The period of 70 years is correct for USA. For other countries, the period may be longer or shorter. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries%27_copyright_length for a list of how long it takes, in different countries, from a composer dies until his compositions turns into Public Domain.)

The composition in the sound recording never expires in the same way as the composition does. There is no period of time after which the sound recording turns to Public Domain. It never does. It continues to be owned by the sound recording copyright owner in perpetuity.

If you are not using existing/copyrighted sound recordings, and you are not using compositions that are under copyright, then you don’t need a license of any sort. You can just go ahead and play, record and distribute the music as you wish.

However, if you are going to use a sound recording that already exists, or use a composition that is still under copyright, then you need to obtain a license for that.

Explanation of YouTube Content-ID for Stock Music / Production Music composers

Explanation of YouTube Content-ID for Stock Music / Production Music composers

Recently, one of our artists wrote to me with questions about YouTube and his right to receive compensation when his music was used in YouTube videos. I ended up writing a pretty long explanation around the whole YouTube / Content-ID issue, and I just thought it was worth sharing here, in case it can help clear some things up. So here it is. If you already know all of this, great. 🙂

Let me try to explain the YouTube / Content-ID situation

YouTube (or rather, their owners, Google) developed an “audio recognition” program called Content-ID, into which it invited large music publishers such as Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers etc. to submit audio recordings of all their album releases. So these companies sent their music into Content-ID, and now, every video that uses music by these companies (say, Justin Timberlake music or whatever) is automatically “detected” to include this music. As soon as the video is uploaded to YouTube, the audio in that video is scanned and compared with millions of audio recordings that they have on file. When a match is found, the person who uploaded the video to YouTube will receive a “copyright notice” in his inbox. It says something along the lines of “Your video is found to contain music copyrighted to Sony” (or which ever company). Now, advertising is put on the video. This advertising is paid for by the various companies who advertise there (obviously) and it can be anything from movies to cars to shampoos, etc in those adverts, but often times it will be an advertisement that is somehow related to the content in the video. For example, if it’s a holiday video, the advertisement could to be some kind of holiday resort. Now, YouTube obviously makes money on that advertising, and a small portion of that money is now paid out to the company who owns the music that has been detected in that video. So if the music was Sony’s, Sony are now making money on each video, and I’ve heard this amounts to approximately $1.00 – 1.25 for every 1,000 views that video achieves.

A side effect to this program is that the person who created the video and uploaded the video to YouTube is not able to monetize his own video. By this I mean that the video creator can’t sign the video up with the YouTube partnership advertising program and receive his own advertising income from his video. Because the advertising money from that video is already “taken” by the company that owns the music that’s playing in the video.

Some people also decided that it would be a good idea to let independent musicians and bands into this whole setup. So they started Content-ID programs for independent musicians, where the aggregator (CDBaby, Rumblefish, AdShare, AdRev, IODA, The Orchard, INDMusic, Rebeat, Tunecore, AudioSparx, Magnatune, to name a few) feeds the independent music into YouTube’s Content-ID system, and starts to make money on the videos that contain this music. What happens now when people use this independent music in their videos is that they get a message from YouTube saying that their video “contains music owned by Rumblefish” (for example) and advertising starts appearing on the video. About $1 – $1.25 per 1,000 views is sent to that company (for example Rumblefish or INDMusic). Some of this is sent on to the aggregator (for example CDBaby or TuneCore), and some of this is sent on to the artist. Exactly how much is left for the artist, I’m not sure, but what started as $1.00 – $1.25 per 1,000 views has now passed through another couple of companies before it got to the artist, so it’s definitely considerably less. And now, the guy who created the video is not able to monetize his own video, because the monetization on that video is done by the Content-ID company who claims to own the music.

Another negative effect it will have on the customer’s video is that the video is actually blocked in some countries – for example, in Germany. This is because YouTube and the German royalty collection society GEMA (who control music broadcast and performance in Germany) have not reached an agreement on payments, so GEMA simply forbids YouTube to broadcast registered music in German territory. There are also some other countries that have this problem, but Germany is the most publicized one. So if you upload a video to YouTube and that video is found to contain music that is in Content-ID, the video will be blocked for all German viewers.
Content-ID clean music

This is exactly why people come to a place like Shockwave-Sound, to license music that is not in Content-ID. The music is “clean” and is not automatically recognized at YouTube. When people put our music in a video and uploads that video to YouTube, nothing special happens. The customer does not get any email with a copyright notification. The video is not automatically monetized by a third party. The video is “clean” and the customer is able to monetize his own video. He can sign the video up into the YouTube Partnership program, and he can start to receive advertising money from his video. And his video won’t be blocked in any countries.

When a conflict happens

What has happened sometimes is that artists have not understood this whole setup, and they have had their music both licensed via a stock music site like ours, and also monetized via a Content-ID system through Rumblefish, CDBaby, AdShare etc. And that is a conflict.

As you can imagine, when a customer buys your a license to your music track from Shockwave-Sound and they want to use the music in a video that they wish to monetize, they upload the video to YouTube, only to be told by YouTube that their video “Contains music owned by Rumblefish”, the customer is not happy, and we here at Shockwave-Sound are definitely not happy.

  • Firstly, it creates a big problem for our customer. He is likely to be angry and he will want a pretty good explanation for the music that he thought he licensed from us.
  • Secondly, it makes us look very bad in front of our customer, because it looks like we are a fraudulent company trying to sell music that is owned by somebody else. A competing company, no less.
  • And thirdly, the Content-ID “owner” of the music (our competitor) now actually starts to make money on our customer. We’ve spent years building a customer base, working our guts out day in and day out for years, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Google advertising to tempt customers to our site. We finally land that customer, he buys something from us… only for the Content-ID company to “leech” onto that sale, and start to make money on our customer’s video, even though they did no work in regards to that customer, that sale, or that music. All they do is to “piggy-back” on our sale, our customer, and start to make money for absolutely nothing, other than to have allowed the independent artist to have their music in their systems.

Can Content-ID make us rich?

It is my strong opinion that independent artists will make more money on selling/licensing their music via Shockwave-Sound, than they ever will make with the Content-ID system. Unless your music “goes viral” in some crazy popular video, the money you end up with after what started as $1 – $1.25 per 1,000 views, after the money passes through one or two other companies, is hardly anything left for you. I have never heard of any artist, except for such “crazy popular” cases, that made any money worth mentioning via Content-ID. The guys I spoke with made just “pennies”. Of course, if you’re Bruce Springsteen and you have your music used in 30 million videos, things will start to build up. And for the aggregators, it’s pennies from millions and millions of videos, because they have SO many artists and tracks in their database. But for one independent artist who is part of that setup, the money is likely to be almost nothing. I feel strongly that you guys will make more money by occasionally making royalties from sales via Shockwave-Sound or indeed other stock music outlets, than to receive “pennies” through a YouTube Content-ID system. But that’s up to each artist to consider, of course.

What we’re saying is that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t ask us to sell a license to a customer to use your music track, and then also want to make money through the Content-ID system, having your music flagged as “Owned by AdShare” (or other such company) and deny the customer the chance to monetize his own video.

Sorry this turned out a little long, but this whole thing isn’t a simple, straight-forward thing to explain. It’s quite a complex issue.

But if somebody “just took” our music and used it in a YouTube video, are we not entitled to any income for that?

If you find your music being used in a video, you have the right to ask (nicely) if the video uploader has a license to use that music in their video. They may claim that they don’t need a license because the video is only a personal, non-profit, non-commercial video, but in fact, whether they are making money or not is beside the point. The point is that they (1) put your music to film, and (2) are distributing your music via YouTube, and both of these items are something that you are entitled to receive something for. You created the music that is helping his video, either in a financial, OR in an artistic way. You have the right to ask the customer to buy a license or compensate you in some way. We would of course like you to send the customer to Shockwave-Sound to buy a license from us, but if you wish, you can sell him a license directly (as long as you are prepared and able to give him a proper license document, which he should rightly expect when he pays you for a license).

If the video creator refuses to buy a license to your music, you have the right to issue a “Takedown notice” to YouTube. You can do that via this form: http://www.youtube.com/yt/copyright/copyright-complaint.html. Fill in details about yourself and your song. It gets passed to YouTube’s copyright dept., and the video gets taken down, unless the customer can document that he has purchased a license.

This is what you should do if you find your music in a YouTube video and you suspect that the customer has not bought a license.

But the video uploader claims to have bought the track from iTunes…

Remember, if the customer bought the music track from iTunes, Amazon and other such places that sell a track for a dollar — or if he bought the CD in a record store — that purchase does not include the rights to distribute the music, to Sync it to video, or to perform it through any public website, public space, broadcast, or anything like that. The iTunes / CD purchase includes only the right to personally listen to the music.

I hope this helps. It’s important for me that people understand all of this, which is why I decided to spend some time explaining it properly. Feel free to link to this article if you like; here is a permanent link directly to this article.

YouTube, Copyright notices and YouTube Safe Music

YouTube, Copyright notices and YouTube Safe Music

 
Got a “copyright claim” on music licensed from us?
If you have licensed a music track from Shockwave-Sound.com and you get a “copyright notice” on your video, where the music ownership is claimed by some company (e.g. CDBaby, AdRev), first of all, rest assured that you’re not in any kind of trouble. You are not being accused of copyright infringement. You are simply being informed that our music was found in your video.

Copyright claims on YouTube are completely automated. YouTube’s automated systems do not know that you have bought a license, so that’s why you’re getting the “copyright claim”. The claim can easily be removed by using the “Dispute” feature on the YouTube copyright notice page to provide documentation that you’ve purchased a license to use the music in your video. Within 24 hours, the copyright notice on your video will be removed.

In an ideal world there would be a way to provide License information at the time when you upload your video to YouTube, but so far that is not the case. So the process is: (1) You upload the video — (2) YouTube automatically finds our music in it and generates a “copyright notice” — (3) You use the Dispute link on the YouTube page to provide documentation that you have licensed the music — (4) The copyright notice is removed from your video. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but takes less than 2 minutes, and it’s not dramatic.

If you still have trouble with this, fill in our contact form and let us know (A) the link/URL to your video, (B) details of your license order, such as order number or customer name so that we may find the order, (C) information from the copyright notice screen on YouTube which displays the track title being found in your video, the artist and the company claiming administration of the track. We will help you to look into the matter, possibly contact the artist to get them to help as well. If you are a paying customer, we will definitely get the copyright notice removed from your video(s).

 

Classical music copyright notices

With classical music recordings, the situation is messy. The thing with classical music is that the actual composition is in the public domain (it belongs to no one and everyone), but who ever actually makes their own performance and recording of a piece of classical music automatically owns the copyright to that recording. We have the rights to our version of Chopin’s Nocturne. But another company may have made their own version of the same composition, and they may have put that recording into the YouTube audio recognition system. And that fully automated system often cannot tell the difference between one version/recording and another!

If you received a “copyright claim” message when using classical music that you licensed from us, most likely some company, somewhere, has made their version of the same composition, and they own the rights to that recording. They don’t own the rights to the version that we sell, but YouTube’s automated systems cannot tell the two versions apart from each other, and the track that you licensed from us is wrongly being matched to a recording of the same classical composition made by somebody else.

It’s a real mess up there at YouTube with classical music, and in some cases, several big music publishing companies are claiming the rights to the same piece of music, even though that recording doesn’t even belong to any of them. This thread over at Google Groups illustrates some of the problems people are having with companies claiming rights to public domain and classical compositions that they don’t own the rights to.

There’s not really much we can do about this, other than to recommend you use the “Dispute” feature and, if necessary, provide the license documentation that you got from our site when you made your purchase. You may explain during the dispute submission process that this is a case of mistaken identity and that this version so-and-so composition is a recording that is licensed to you via Shockwave-Sound.com and it is not the same recording as (what ever company is claiming the rights to it). With a bit of luck, this process will lead to the claim being removed from your video.