You learn something new every day, especially in the world of publishing and copyrights.

I purchased Royalty Free Music (you pay a one time fee and so you don’t owe royalties to the copyright holder) to use in the “She’s Gone” book trailer. You can watch and hear it here:

Not long after I uploaded the video to YouTube, I noticed ad banners were embedded in the video.

That was odd. YouTube does allow content providers to “monetize” their videos on YouTube. I’m sure you’ve experienced this phenomenon if you’ve ever watched a video online (especially on YouTube). It’s a way for the video creator to make some money off their video. But it’s an optional feature. You have to log into your YouTube account and turn that option on.

I don’t want ad banners displayed in the video book trailer, so I figured I must have accidentally turned that feature on.

I logged into my YouTube account to turn ads off, but I was surprised to learn that I hadn’t enabled ads accidentally. YouTube had done a “third party match” with the audio track on my video triggering a copyright claim on behalf of the musician/company that created the music track I was using. Use of the audio was allowed as long as ads were embedded with the proceeds going to that person/company.

YouTube AdRev Copyright Claim Notice

Notice from YouTube that a copyright claim was filed and ads “might appear” (they did) on my video.

The above scenario unfolds automatically by software bots without human intervention. YouTube doesn’t send out a notice that they’re going to do this–they just do it.

If I wanted the ads removed from the video YouTube would strip the audio. And well, a trailer without music is a bit odd.

I was confused since I had purchased a “Royalty Free Music” track so I had the proper license to use it.

I visited the site where I had purchased it and this is such a common occurrence that they had an entire page in their FAQs to deal with this same exact scenario I was going through with YouTube.

That’s when I discovered there are these companies that provide “content ID audio detection system” so that musicians, podcasters, etc. can register their audio file with these companies. The company bots crawl around YouTube looking for audio matches and when they find one it triggers YouTube’s “third party match.”

What happens once these companies find a match, depends on what the original copyright holder chose when registering the audio file, they can either have the audio stripped from the video or (what happened to me) have YouTube inserts ads into my video (without my knowledge).

This is done to protect copyrights, and hey, as a writer, I’m all for that, but I bought royalty free music and I had the license which allowed me to legally use it, so I felt a bit miffed as if I was accused of being a pirate stealing the music track and violating copyright.

Luckily, the site where I bought the royalty free music from had detailed instructions on what to do in this situation since I had a legal license to use the royalty free music that allows me to use the music on videos uploaded to YouTube.

I had to file a dispute on the copyright claim with YouTube. It’s not as scary as it sounds. I clicked a “file a dispute” link and I copy/pasted the verbiage from the company I bought the music from (included my license number and other pertinent information) into their dispute form and I clicked enter.

YouTube removed the copyright claim within hours and within 72 hours the ads were removed from my book trailer video.

So in the end, it all worked out and although it was easy to fix, to get that juncture of knowing what to do, took time researching and reading the terms and license agreements, so that part was a time suck I could have done without.

So if you ever you Royalty Free Music in your videos, which you upload to YouTube, make sure you double check to make sure they don’t have ad banners in them.