Copyrighted music and content

Hi guys,

Be careful with the music you are using moving forward. Byte beats gang.

Most serious content creators already know this, but just a friendly reminder.

Do not be surprised by this, we knew it was coming.

Relevant byte:


Im not a copyright expert BUT according to fair use laws you COULD use copyrighted music for your bytes. As longs as it is transformative, and under 20-30% of the original work it should be allowed. Keep in mind tho, that Byte has no say in this and this is up to the court. If the Byte team does receive a DMCA take down they will comply and then you can try to fight it (In a legal sense) So ye, just stay away from stuff you dont own… lol


If possible, I’d love to hear a little more about this from @dom or another byte staff - I have a few clarifying questions. As long as we take down videos upon copyright notice, and don’t fight cases, will we be safe from further legal action (fines, etc)? Should we be deleting old videos that we are concerned about, or wait for a copyright claim on it? Will there be any other options besides deletion in the future, like editing audio on bytes after posting? Is there anything else we should keep in mind going forward, like policies on what content to post or not? I know this is a complicated issue but I’d love any information you can give us so we can follow suit. Thanks!


I’ve been meaning to make a post about this for a while, but I never got around to it. I’ve been wanting to know how Byte or how apps in general like this tend to tackle copyrighted music.

As far as something like YouTube goes, they just straight up automatically detect copyrighted songs and then prevent you from being able to monetize that video. If any company ever strikes a takedown against you, then they’ll automatically side with the company or user, false or not (which they always catch shade for).

Instagram tends to be iffy – for small clips, they don’t care at all, or can’t detect them. Other times, if it’s a full 30+ second video, you’ll have that video shadowbanned.

TikTok straight up buys musical rights, but shadowbans all videos with music that isn’t theirs (but, again, like Instagram, if it’s short enough, they won’t detect it or hold you accountable).

It’s no secret that for decades, music copyright has been one thing of law that’s been left behind. We’re WAY past the age of CDs and iTunes, nearly every song is used, heard, or shared in one way or another, and especially with the rise of social media, the idea of copyrighted sounds has been far outdated, especially with things like SoundCloud and Spotify.

It’s been controversial and tough for people making music to get footing nowadays, and copyright laws are VERY foggy (most companies, YT especially, could care less if your video was 'transformative in nature), like if you made a compilation or video edit. Some YT music uploads of some album song have tens of millions of views and aren’t taken down – other YT videos by some YouTuber who uses 2 seconds of a song are suddenly taken down and copyright striked and YT always sides with the company. What about video game soundtracks? Or SFX? That’s when it gets really dodgy, since video game SFX are what a lot of people consider fair game.

What will Byte do? Clearly the Beat program is meant to further create a sense of community between users and music creators, as well as circumvent the whole copyright issue.


Imagine getting your byte copyrighted by the FA ha…can relate :tear:


I’m not an expert in US law, but I’m pretty sure fair use can only be used as a defence in court. I also don’t think there is any 20% - 30% threshold (or any number as a matter of fact) that has been outlined anywhere.

Could we perhaps have a feature where we can archive posts?

I’d really like to be given the opportunity to review my posts before they get taken down so that I can think about how to remake it to comply.

Or could you perhaps just straight up mute the audio rather than take down the post? @dom


DMCA sucks – I’ll start using custom beats that I make :wink:


you are going to hit me up, right?

Actually, what I want to know is if covers are covered… or will covers get DMCA’ed. Any musicians know?


DMCA, Nah – I’m unsure. But you can also free copyright beats online :upside_down_face:


I just took a college class on this so I know like 5% :joy: But if a song (or clip of a movie/show) was used in a teaching manner, cover (like singing), or parody then it is fine. I understand why Byte will want people to stray away from using music altogether (especially people in the program) because the person could get paid for not using original music and that’s a big lawsuit.


This is correct. Fair use is a legal defense, it’s not actually a part of the legislation. And consequently, there is no stated time limit you can fall under to be considered fair use.


hey all, we’re working through solutions on how to alter your work if you receive a notice — and hopefully some more detail to share on this concept in general. as you can imagine, this is very tricky territory and we have to abide by certain laws to protect you (and the company).

i could share my personal opinion on this but i don’t think it would be productive. :upside_down_face:

as a reminder, our community guidelines and copyright policy cover this a bit:

A word about this policy: We are very much on the side of fair use but it’s difficult to define and even more difficult to win. Because we are so small, one of the only things we can do, at least in the beginning, is respect valid DMCA claims. (And based on our experience, copyrighted music puts a big target on you in this day and age. The big record labels love to issue takedowns.) We intend to do more work here, but this is where we’re at now.

we’ll circle back with more soon


I think most people discussing the issue of copyright here, including myself, are most likely not doing so from an expert background in the subject. Much of the discussion is therefor opinion, which I think is worth keeping in mind.

My personal opinion is to avoid using any copyrighted music and to stick with Byte guide lines. It doesn’t seem worth the hassle otherwise. Byte’s being so short appears to make them in a moral grey area for fair use in my opinion.

Tom Scott just released an indepth video on copyright that’s well worth a watch:


My hot take on copyright is that the system is being pulled in two different directions - as an infrastructure, it’s not really there to protect artists but for really big corporations. As a small creator, there is virtually no resources for me to protect myself from infringement. Meanwhile, pop culture - as in “popular culture” is controlled by a small number of major corporations who hoard their copyrights and thus a large part of our shared culture. The image of Mickey Mouse something that we all know in our hearts as well as the image of Christ on the Cross, and yet one corporation controls how that image is used. Imagine if The Pope had the last say on how the Crucifixion was portrayed.
In addition to the system having no resources to protect small artists, it is also difficult for small artists to legally and easily pull from that pool of our shared culture and communicate our ideas. Especially for music - up until a couple of years ago, Warner upheld an invalid claim over the song “Happy Birthday To You” that went unchallenged for decades until 2013. Like, a song that was written in 1893, that we all share as our culture, something that is a part of all of our childhood…and you couldn’t feature it in a film without paying an arbitrary legal entity. Warner hoarded a copyright illegally, specifically, they hoarded a part of our childhood.

On the other side, the idea of “intellectual property” is falling apart at the seams as the internet grows and proliferates; right now I can fire up my VPN, hop onto PirateBay right now and download any movie made in the world and not pay a cent. I can take a Justin Bieber song, add some scratches on top of the track and use it as the background for my next youtube essay and YouTube’s copyright search algorithm can never find me. And, when it comes to images, the integrity of the copyright system is an absolute disaster zone; you take a photo on monday and by tuesday afternoon I could steal it, turn it into a meme and proliferate it all over the internet without you even knowing about it.

To me, that makes me adapt a “don’t wake daddy” approach to copyright. I’m a creative person. Making art, for all of us, is an everyday spontaneous occurrence and our imaginations exist outside of the arbitrary barriers of civil law, in the way that obscenity laws saying cuss words on stage were arbitrary barriers for Lenny Bruce.
“Don’t wake daddy” in the sense that the the boundaries of how I express myself is limited by what I can get away with; on youtube, that means doing the bare minimum to avoid a copyright strike. And if the law finally catches up to me and my channel gets shut down (I’m not that flagrant about copyright on my channel and think that’s such a strike is unlikely) I’ll just start again with a new channel. Because, in this age of streaming, Patreon, and kickstarter, newer successful artists’ careers aren’t about selling a physical thing but a platform.

I look at Fair Use as a philosophical justification, not as a legal justification; I will never be able to afford to support myself in court if I’m subjected to a lawsuit, but when it comes to creative decisions with how I use others people’s work, I justify my decisions by asking myself what it “critical,” “educational,” and “transformative”…but by my own means, not a judge’s.

Byte is a small platform with small resources, so I think it is more vulnerable to those huge corporations that hoard copyrights and act in bad-faith, and without discretion. So, because of that I try to be wary about using copyrighted material in my Bytes.


Dealing at all with the courts should be avoided.

I think at this point we can double down on the Community aspect of byte. Unfortunately, many of my bytes so far have used copyright music. But what I might consider in the future, is maybe paying music Byters to make music for my Bytes if I can’t find a suitable Byte beat (although that even may be a stretch in these tough times).

Byte is developing into a more close-knit community, so we can depend on each other for music too. A possible bridge between comedy Byters and artist Byters.


it’s going to take a couple of years to build the infrastructure and for it to really be worth it, but I think tik tok has it right with how to deal with this. they just put your vid in private mode and that’s all

1 Like

I saw someone make a really nasty post today about a video being removed due to copyright. Apparently it had a lot of likes and this person thought this was unfair. This kind of behavior isn’t necessary. If something gets removed, it is what it is. Yeah it sucks if it is something that you put effort into, but at the end of the day we need to protect the app. And spreading unnecessary hate is just juvenile. You can’t really get that mad if you used material that wasn’t yours (which probably helped get the post popular to begin with)…call me crazy :woozy_face:


I think this music copyright is one issue where the clash between label companies and creators is inevitable, because creators who use the music without any permit have this “fair use” claim as their defense.

What I was thinking the other day is that “if Byters use Bieber’s music on their Bytes, wouldn’t that be a great way of marketing for Justin?” but, if MONETIZATION comes into play, that’s a different conversation. “You are using my music without my permission, and you are making money???”

I think that’s why Youtube is very strict on copyright music, and Tik Tok not so much (Youtube is monetizable, Tik Tok is not), I think Tik Tok buys the copyright from the label companies to be used.

I think Byte Beats are a great way of bringing music to Byte and blossoming creativity.


I knew this would happen eventually. TikTok pays a massive amount of money for royalties each year to record labels for use of those songs on their app. This is not feasible for Byte, which is a much smaller company, but there are lots of alternative options.

Byte Beats was a great idea for addressing this, just needs to be a lot more of them, which I’m sure is coming down the road. It would be great to open this up to people who want to create their own beats and make them available for other creators on Byte. An automated, in-app system that allows submission of music would be great.

There is also lots of royalty-free music online you can use, just search on YouTube or SoundCloud for “free vlog music” or “free video music.”

You can also buy apps that let you easily create your own music even if you have no idea how to read or write music or know how to play an instrument.

As creators we need to approach this creative challenge with a creative solution. Going forward, I won’t use any music that requires paying royalties in any of my bytes. Can someone come up with alternative music that sounds something like the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song I love to use?


Thanks, looking forward to it.