Is Video Game Music Copyrighted – 4 Things Must-Know

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With the growth of streaming sites such as Facebook gaming and Twitch, news laws regarding copyright have been introduced. Facebook gaming, Twitch, as well as YouTube are now very likely to take action against content that uses unlicensed music. So, is video game music copyrighted? Well, it depends.

Gaming music and OST fall under a gray area. After all, if you are uploading your gameplay (with commentary) you shouldn’t be flagged for not muting the gameplay. Though this also depends on the site you are using for your content.

How Does Music Licensing Work in Video Games

Music licensing in video games works similarly to music licensing in general.

It works when a copyright holder (the artist) grants the right to use their work publicly, and in return receives a fee / royalties based on a contract.

These licenses could have a limit, while others can be granted indefinitely, or can be bought from the copyright owner.

So if you are a video games content creator, it’s better to use no-copyright music for your content to avoid the possibility of DMCA strikes.

Why Can’t You Use Copyrighted Music in Your Videos

You can’t use copyrighted music for your video content or streams because it’s protected by the laws. Every copyrighted artist is entitled to a fee anytime their songs are performed publicly. So, if you’re using a song without the artist’s permission, you’ll possibly get a DMCA takedown notice.

You can’t use copyrighted music in your videos because all copyrighted music is protected by copyright laws. This means that copyrighted artists are entitled to a fee anytime their songs are performed publicly. If you use a song without the artist’s permission, you’ll get a DMCA takedown notice.

How To Avoid Getting a DMCA Takedown Notice When Using Video Game Music on Your Stream

How To Play Music On Instagram Live Without Getting Blocked
Source: YouTube

The only way to use copyrighted tracks on YouTube is to first get permission from the owner of the tracks. This is a long process and to save yourself from all that hassle. You can just choose not to play copyright tracks during your videos. Showing gameplay while the OST is playing probably won’t get you a copyright strike but video games that feature songs can get you into trouble.

It’s all about YouTube’s fair use policies. Using brief bits of licensed tracks will allow you to claim fair use when you eventually upload your video. As a rule of thumb, don’t play the music that belongs to independent creators. For instance, If you are playing GTA and wish to upload the gameplay, you shouldn’t listen to the radio as it will likely contain licensed tracks.

If you are making documentary-style videos, you should mute most of the music and instead play copyright-free tracks over your gameplay.

Is video game music copyrighted on Twitch?

Much of the in-game music is allowed for public use so as a streamer you probably won’t get in trouble for that. The same can’t be said about songs associated with the game as they belong to independent artists. If a game segment includes such tracks, you should simply mute it to avoid a copyright strike on your channel.

Streamers often play copyright-free tracks when they are streaming to avoid this issue. You can find copyright-free tracks for your channel from Twitch Music Library.

Conclusion

So, is video game music copyrighted? The answer is yes, in many cases. You need to be careful which music you are playing during your videos or live gameplay broadcasts.


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