If you are not a musician, music label or publisher enabled for Audio ID, you can stop reading now.
Why does YouTube need to know about publishing rights?
Different types of publishing rights govern how a composition may be used. (The composition comprises a song's musical score and lyrics but is distinct from an actual recording of the song.) And while you must own the sound recordings that you upload (or have permission from the copyright owner to upload them), you might not own any or all of the publishing rights for the compositions used in those recordings.
For example, suppose a user-uploaded video contains a sound recording. YouTube can show ads with the video in two cases:
The owner of the sound recording and the owner (or administrator) of the composition used in the sound recording have both specified that they want to monetize their assets.
The owner of the sound recording specified a policy to monetize the sound recording and indicated that it also owns synchronization (sync) rights for the composition used in the sound recording.
How do I specify which publishing rights I control?
When you upload songs to YouTube, you will be prompted to specify which of the following publishing rights you control for the compositions that are used in those songs:
- Mechanical rights
- Performance rights
- Synchronization rights
Note that you must control the same publishing rights for all of the compositions that are included in the same upload request. In addition, you should not check ownership of any publishing rights unless you are sure that you control those rights.
Can I still make money if I don't control publishing rights?
Absolutely. Even if you don't own the synchronization rights to the compositions used in your songs, you could still earn money from those songs if either of the following conditions is true:
If a viewer located in the United States is watching a video that contains your song, YouTube will show ads on the video if the owner (or administrator) of the composition has specified a policy to monetize that composition.
If a viewer located outside of the United States is watching a video that contains your song, YouTube will show ads on the video if YouTube has an agreement with the collection society in the country where the viewer is located.