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Can karaoke audio tracks be used in master-class music video tutorials as fair use?

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servicemark

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? USA

I have a YouTube channel and I create master class music tutorials showing keyboard notes on how to play the melody, chords, etc. in a song. The karaoke tracks I intend to use in my projects are not derived from the original versions but reproduced by various artists and sold on [link removed] website.

If I buy the instrumental versions (without the vocal tracks) and add my own instrument to fill the melody vocal track, create a video tutorial out of my audio showing keyboard notes on how to play the song, is this considered FAIR USE?

Do I need permission from the website or the people who created these karaoke tracks?

My YouTube channel is currently not monetized yet. In future if my channel is monetized, is it still considered fair use to buy and use karaoke versions in my tutorial videos and earn ad revenue on them?

If they claim copyright, do I have a case to oppose on "fair use" policy? Can we make money out of fair use by teaching music?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
What is the name of your state? USA

I have a YouTube channel and I create master class music tutorials showing keyboard notes on how to play the melody, chords, etc. in a song. The karaoke tracks I intend to use in my projects are not derived from the original versions but reproduced by various artists and sold on [link removed] website.

If I buy the instrumental versions (without the vocal tracks) and add my own instrument to fill the melody vocal track, create a video tutorial out of my audio showing keyboard notes on how to play the song, is this considered FAIR USE?

Do I need permission from the website or the people who created these karaoke tracks?

My YouTube channel is currently not monetized yet. In future if my channel is monetized, is it still considered fair use to buy and use karaoke versions in my tutorial videos and earn ad revenue on them?

If they claim copyright, do I have a case to oppose on "fair use" policy? Can we make money out of fair use by teaching music?

Thanks in advance!
It depends on your license
 
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quincy

Senior Member
You will want to license any musical works you intend to use in your tutorials.

When you purchase instrumental versions of songs, you are purchasing these instrumentals for personal use only. You are not purchasing any copyrights in the works.
 

servicemark

Junior Member
My plan is to create 2-3 video tutorials a day.

In that case, if I just create tutorials of popular songs using entirely my own music and instruments (without using any others' music) showing keyboard notes on how to play them, is that considered fair use? What I mean to say is my tutorials would have just the music of popular songs that I create from scratch and no one else's work.

Is it legal to make money out of such video tutorials if my channel gets monetized later?
 
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quincy

Senior Member
My plan is to create 2-3 video tutorials a day.

In that case, if I just create tutorials of popular songs using entirely my own music and instruments (without using any others' music) showing keyboard notes on how to play them, is that considered fair use? What I mean to say is my tutorials would have just the music that I create from scratch and no one else's work.

Is it legal to make money out of such video tutorials if my channel gets monetized later?
If you compose and create your own music (not relying on the rights-protected music of others), you hold the copyrights in the music and can do whatever you want with it.

You can also use music that is in the public domain (music published before 1924), if you do not use someone else's version of this music.

What you need a license for is if you use copyrighted material.
 

servicemark

Junior Member
If you compose and create your own music (not relying on the rights-protected music of others), you hold the copyrights in the music and can do whatever you want with it.

You can also use music that is in the public domain (music published before 1924), if you do not use someone else's version of this music.

What you need a license for is if you use copyrighted material.
I'm not going to use the original version or any karaoke version created by others in my videos.

If I create a popular song from scratch using my own instruments showing how to play it, could that result in IP infringement?

Or, if I create brief videos of only the melody track using an instrument and showing keyboard notes (without any background music, drum, etc), is that not fair use as academic teaching?

If not, how are these karaoke songs re-produced by others and sold for a price when they are not even academic?
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Any of those things could result in you being sued. At that time, you may (or may not) have various defenses to put forth. The real question is this: Can you afford it?
 

quincy

Senior Member
I'm not going to use the original version or any karaoke version created by others in my videos.

If I create a popular song from scratch using my own instruments showing how to play it, could that result in IP infringement?

Or, if I create brief videos of only the melody track using an instrument and showing keyboard notes (without any background music, drum, etc), is that not fair use as academic teaching?

If not, how are these karaoke songs re-produced by others and sold for a price when they are not even academic?
You are not permitted to use the copyrighted works of others without permission from the copyright holders to do so. This permission is generally granted in the form of a (nonexclusive limited) license.

There are copyrights in the sound recordings of musical works and the compositions of musical works, and musicians have synchronization rights.

You cannot, in other words, create your own version of someone else's song/music without a license.

Many who have used rights-protected material on their YouTube channels have had their videos and/or their channels blocked on complaint to YouTube by rights-holders of copyright infringement.

You would be especially vulnerable to having your channel blocked or videos pulled because you are not (at least at first) making money from your use of the copyrighted music. There is no way that the copyright holder can benefit from your use (absent you acquiring a license). The copyright holder cannot benefit by collecting a percentage of your ad revenue, for example. The copyright holder's options are to demand from you compensation or sue you for (statutory) damages.

Fair use, it is important to note, is not permission to use the copyrighted works of others. Fair use is an affirmative defense to a claim of infringement - a "yes I infringed but it is an excusable infringement" defense.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I'm think the OP doesn't consider the music as copyrighted unless someone is playing the music. He is wrong in that assumption.
If that is servicemark's assumption then, yes, it is a wrong assumption.

A smart way to operate is to find material in the public domain. I understand that "popular" music has a draw that, say, Beethoven might not, but for teaching purposes, Beethoven works as well as Beyoncé, and without the (potentially costly) legal risk.
 
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