A question I get asked a lot is "Is your music copyright-free?", there is a distinct difference between copyright-free and royalty-free and not a lot of people seem to understand that difference exists or what it means, so I thought I would post this short explanation of some of the finer details.

In short:

  • My music is NOT copyright-free.
  • In most cases, such as using it within your youtube video, my music is royalty-free.
  • When you purchase my music, you also get a licence to use it royalty-free under usage conditions (credit etc).
  • When you purchase my music, you are NOT purchasing the copyright.
  • I own the copyright.
  • To buy the copyright from me would cost a lot of donuts.
  • I like donuts.

A slightly longer explanation:

COPYRIGHT is a form of intellectual property which gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights for a certain time period in relation to that work, including its publication, distribution and adaptation. Copyright applies to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantive and discrete. Some jurisdictions also recognise "moral rights" of the creator of a work, such as the right to be credited for the work.

COPYRIGHT-FREE would be to give up all of the rights previously mentioned.

ROYALTY-FREE refers to a type of contract between a two entities (you and me), that is employed when licensing the rights to use content, such as music. The term Royalty-Free means that once the content is licensed under a set of guidelines, the licensee is normally free to use it in perpetuity without paying additional royalty charges.