Music with strings… attached! Copyright trouble with Apple’s “free” music tracks

I was editing a friend’s video yesterday, and when I uploaded it to YouTube I came across the strangest thing.

As I’ve done many times, I used one of the supposedly royalty-free, “use however you like” music tracks, provided by Apple as part of their iLife suite, for the background. I’ve done this before and uploaded to YouTube with no problems.

(When I’ve used commercial music in the past, the videos were either prevented from uploading until the music was changed, or had popup ads applied as a tradeoff for using copyrighted music. The first is a deal-breaker, and the second is still less than ideal, so I prefer to use either original music or the reliable Apple backing tracks when possible to ensure no ads get in the way.)

This was my first time using a particularly lovely piano theme called “Newborn” – it was perfect for the tone of nostalgia I wanted to evoke.

But when I watched my freshly-uploaded masterpiece on YouTube… an ad popped up. That couldn’t be right, could it? After all, I used royalty-free stock music, cleared for any use.

Then I noticed, below the video, there was something else new: the name of a song and artist, and a link to “Buy on iTunes”. It wasn’t “Newborn” – it was called “Lose You”, by Lazylectric.

Clearly a mistake by the tune-recognizing robots at YouTube, I assumed. This was not a commercial track. It must just sound very similar to something else.

I clicked through to iTunes to give “Lose You” a listen – and was startled.

This was the “Newborn” piano track… with a vocal added over top! And it was for sale at a standard iTunes price of 99 cents!

How could this happen? I didn’t think you even could make a commercial track out of an iLife song. (Isn’t that part of the terms of use?) Actually, I hadn’t had an opinion on this at all, as the thought never even occurred to me.

And now it’s causing my video to be cluttered with a popup ad banner. Ugh.

I’m going to try and contact YouTube and see if I can get some clarity on this – and maybe even a reversal of their decision. I seem to be caught in the middle of a “sampling” conflict that I never imagined possible. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out.

One thought on “Music with strings… attached! Copyright trouble with Apple’s “free” music tracks

  1. I have this problem too! I uploaded my video and even put on the description, “Finally a video I actually own all the rights to” (because I usually make music videos), and the copyright claim popped up! I want to know who used it first, and if it actually IS free music, although I don’t know how legit Lazylectric is since I can’t find anything on them other than a Youtube video, and it doesn’t even seem like the vocals match with the music

    You’re right, it does sound like they just added words and made it commercial, and I find that extremely unfair. Someone needs to fix this stat.

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