Using Copyrighted and Library Content

Find out how you can legally and ethically use copyrighted and library content in your academic research, instruction, essays & writings, and creative projects. Legal disclaimer: this copyright guide is meant for informational & educational purposes only.

Library Research Guide

What to Do If Your Video is Flagged for Copyright Infringement


This page will assist you in the steps you can take when your video is flagged for copyright infringement due to the use of copyrighted music in your video. Your use may be legal, but online platforms may not know this. This is the final subpage of the Music in Videos page. You can find out more about how to legally use others' music in your videos by visiting the other subpages, preferably in the order in which they appear on the left-hand navigation menu.

Reasons for Videos Being Flagged

Sometimes, even when you are in favor of fair use or when you purchase the correct license(s) for your intended use, platforms like YouTube flag the content as "belonging to a third party," which means that they have determined that you may be committing copyright infringement. This happens most frequently with classical music.

For instance, when you buy a track from a royalty-free music provider, you are buying a specific recording owned by someone else with a specific license attached. YouTube may mistakenly recognize a royalty-free recording of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on your video as Bolívar's recording of the same symphony and flag it.

Note: If you are using royalty-free music, many of the service providers own the recordings; you are merely purchasing a license to use the recording in your project, which means that you are prohibited from uploading your project to a content ID system, such as YouTube.

If you are relying on fair use for the inclusion of copyrighted music in your video, you should be prepared to provide a fair use evaluation of your use in your counter notification to YouTube or Vimeo (or any other platform). It is better to make these types of evaluations before uploading videos with copyrighted content, but you may still be able to justify your use with a fair use claim. You can easily make a documented fair use evaluation with the Fair Use Evaluator tool. Be sure to include as much context as possible about:

  1. Why you are using the work;
  2. The type/nature of the work;
  3. How much you intend or did use;
  4. Whether or not your creation acts as a substitute, and if so, to what extent it may affect the market for the original.