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Questions about video game music in YouTube videos


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Most people on YouTube use 8 bit and 16 bit music in their videos. I'm guessing this is legal since even big channels like Pat The NES Punk and Cinemassacre do this. What I'm wondering is, is it legal to use a song like Open Your Heart from Sonic Adventure? As you probably already know, I use 45 seconds of Open Your Heart for the intro of my Dreamcast Gamer series on YouTube (although it's not just Dreamcast videos for the series). Does anyone know if this is legal or if someone might make a copyright claim if they hear it in my video? I'm not monetizing my videos in case that helps.

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If you didn't write it, the original author (or company who owns the song) can claim it, unless they clearly gave you permission or stated it's royalty free.

 

Technically, this applies to 8 bit and 16 bit music from games too, although nowadays, a lot of people write their own music in this style.

 

Also the music that appears in games you review should be covered under fair use, but occasionally claims are still made.  

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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Question is, how do the bigger channels get away with this? Don't most companies know about them using their music? Why don't they do anything?

 

It depends. It may be the owners aren't aware of it..yet..OR...the owners are ignoring it or don't care...OR...they got permission...OR..they aren't getting away with it. A claim could've been put on the video and now they owners of the music are making money off of youtube creators video.

Right now, Nintendo makes money off of my Super Mario 3 review video, I don't get a cent. I believe it's fair use and would get overturned in court, but I don't have the time or money to fight their claim.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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It depends. It may be the owners aren't aware of it..yet..OR...the owners are ignoring it or don't care...OR...they got permission...OR..they aren't getting away with it. A claim could've been put on the video and now they owners of the music are making money off of youtube creators video.

Right now, Nintendo makes money off of my Super Mario 3 review video, I don't get a cent. I believe it's fair use and would get overturned in court, but I don't have the time or money to fight their claim.

You could pull a Jim Sterling and blare some copyrighted music over the Nintendo reviews, that way there's a claim from Nintendo and the record company and the money goes nowhere. ;) 

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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You could pull a Jim Sterling and blare some copyrighted music over the Nintendo reviews, that way there's a claim from Nintendo and the record company and the money goes nowhere. ;)

 Actually, I think that claim was a visual claim and had nothing to do with the music (how dumb is that)

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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If you didn't write it, the original author (or company who owns the song) can claim it, unless they clearly gave you permission or stated it's royalty free.

 

Technically, this applies to 8 bit and 16 bit music from games too, although nowadays, a lot of people write their own music in this style.

 

Also the music that appears in games you review should be covered under fair use, but occasionally claims are still made.  

 

The videos I have been creating contain music I created during college.  I made it on a Yamaha PSRe-413 portable keyboard.  But it wasn't until I started doing these videos again that I noticed two of my previous high score run videos have copyright claims on them.  Konami placed those claims on two Famicom games played through emulation even though I played three of their games:  Salamander (Life Force in the USA) and Gradius II.  Why they did it and why they did not include claims on Crisis Force who knows.  All it means is that should I decide to get paid for ads on my channel those two videos will get the income generated when they are watched.  It is to be expected and if you plan on including footage from games see if you can cancel out the audio. Sometimes that helps.  I don't think it will be too big of an issue with any games that predates the NES but you never know and you should expect it.  

 

I don't recommend using Open Your Heart from Sonic Adventure because of copyright issues.  That music, and any video game artwork and music, is generally licensed for use only in the game they are put in to make them.  Since you play drums do you know of anyone that could help you make your own music for your videos?  If you know someone with a keyboard then you could lay down the drums while they do the rest.  If you played it, though, you could do your version of Open Your Heart that might not get any copyright claims on it but it could be risky at the same time.  

 

Most bigger channels don't get away with what you are asking about.  Watch this video from Metal Jesus to get a better understanding.  

 

 

And if you really need music for your videos you can find lots of free to use music on YouTube under your channel's Creator Studio.  At the bottom of the menu items on the left while in the Creator Studio, and if you click on the Create link, you should get a list of free music you can pick and choose from.  There are lots here and some that I thought about using for my videos.  But since I had my own and had used it before I stuck with it.

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Just make sure he gives you a document saying that you can use his works.  It might help you in the future to have that in writing should YouTube decide to challenge you for copyright reasons.  Better if you can stay ahead of the game.

So what you're saying is, I need a document from mario64remix even though he agreed that I can use his uncopyrighted music?

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So what you're saying is, I need a document from mario64remix even though he agreed that I can use his uncopyrighted music?

 

Somewhere it needs to be in writing, or at anytime the author could lie and claim they never gave you permission. And technically, all music is copyrighted the moment it is written, even if not registered.

 

Odds are, if he said you're ok, you won't have any issues, since he will most likely never put in a claim. However, there have been many legal problems that could've been prevented if there was something in writing, even if it was a saved e-mail.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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Somewhere it needs to be in writing, or at anytime the author could lie and claim they never gave you permission. And technically, all music is copyrighted the moment it is written, even if not registered.

 

Odds are, if he said you're ok, you won't have any issues, since he will most likely never put in a claim. However, there have been many legal problems that could've been prevented if there was something in writing, even if it was a saved e-mail.

I'll do that then, thanks :)

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I have a video I'm making (I can't give any details at this time) that I'll be using some remixes of game songs in.  I have a question about this one though.

https://youtu.be/t8JpbPKC9lE?list=PL7LTBDGwCmsqDExTmiYvVTGN0VpIR3--h

This is basically an extended version of Keep The Groovin' from Streets Of Rage.  Some instruments have been slightly changed and sections have been added.  I'm about to contact 8-Beats and ask permission to use this remix, but would it be a wise choice to use this?  I'm afraid of Yuzo Koshiro or Sega claiming it.  This will be the biggest (and most important) video I've ever made, and I don't want any copyright claims on it.

Edited by Gemini Gamer
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That's a tough one. Usually, it's a robot that makes the claims on the authors behalf. In this case, it is sooo close to the original it might catch it, if the bot is programmed for that specific song. In game music is not claimed as much as regular songs and music, so it might not get claimed, but it still could. So far the only in game music I've been claimed on is the Star Wars music from the Sega CD Rebel Assault endings I've posted. (In my review, where I was talking over most everything, it did not get claimed)

 

My suggestion: If you decided to go with it, have a backup edit with different music just in case, or at least keep enough files that you could re-edit it if need be

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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That's a tough one. Usually, it's a robot that makes the claims on the authors behalf. In this case, it is sooo close to the original it might catch it, if the bot is programmed for that specific song. In game music is not claimed as much as regular songs and music, so it might not get claimed, but it still could. So far the only in game music I've been claimed on is the Star Wars music from the Sega CD Rebel Assault endings I've posted. (In my review, where I was talking over most everything, it did not get claimed)

 

My suggestion: If you decided to go with it, have a backup edit with different music just in case, or at least keep enough files that you could re-edit it if need be

Do you think that if I have someone playing Streets Of Rage, and then the music starts for the next scene, it could work? If not, I'll find a better remix.
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Those bots on youtube will tag just about anything.  I have had copyright hits on my Arcade USA theme music.  what is funny is I know the artist and he specifically wrote that music for me, it belongs to him and was given to me :P  

 

That stinks! I'm curious: Do you think it's just the Galaga music at the beginning of the theme they're flagging?

 

Do you think that if I have someone playing Streets Of Rage, and then the music starts for the next scene, it could work? If not, I'll find a better remix.

 

The audio bots only seem to care about what they hear, so it doesn't matter what is going on while the music is playing. The only thing that may prevent it from getting flagged is if there is some other audio mixed in, like someone talking.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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If one of the instruments was coming from another sound chip like the SNES or TG16, would that be enough? I can't have talking in the scene.

 Unfortunately, I don't know.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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If one of the instruments was coming from another sound chip like the SNES or TG16, would that be enough? I can't have talking in the scene.

 

Maybe upload a generic unlisted/private video with the music in question, and see if that gets auto-flagged by YouTube?  This would (hopefully) at least save you the trouble of putting it into your finished product only to have it rejected later...

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