From vlogs to DIY tutorials and funny cat videos, TikTok is the latest social media platform for sharing audiovisual content of all types. TikTok’s popularity exploded during the lockdowns of 2020, and it clearly won’t be losing traction anytime soon.
It’s no surprise that everyone from beauty influencers to gamers and even business owners are using TikTok’s easy accessibility and massive popularity to their advantage. But what should monetized creators consider from a legal standpoint when it comes to TikTok copyright music?
Every social platform, including TikTok, has rules and regulations surrounding copyright infringement in content posted to their platforms. It’s to be expected when you have millions of individual creators and companies uploading videos with the freedom to share them as they please.
TikTok users are subject to copyright law just like any YouTube or Instagram creator. The difference is that this platform is relatively new, so it can be easier to fly under the radar. But that’s a huge risk! Your hard work could be muted or taken down altogether.
So, how do you avoid copyright issues on TikTok and still include high-quality music in your videos? Let’s take a deep dive into how to use copyrighted music on TikTok legally.
What is Copyright and What is Copyright Infringement?
Sometimes it’s best to start with the basics. So what exactly is copyright and what defines copyright infringement?
According to copyright.gov, “Copyright exists automatically in an original work of authorship once it is fixed in a tangible medium, but a copyright owner can take steps to enhance the protection of copyright, the most important of which is registering the work.”
In other words, copyright is a law that protects the expression of ideas in tangible form, but not the idea itself. Original works, like songs, are protected by copyright automatically from the moment they’re created.
So, if you use a musician’s original song in your TikTok video without proper licensing or permission, you are likely committing copyright infringement. Keep in mind that music playing in the background from your radio or television is likely a violation of copyright law, too. Whether you did it intentionally or not is irrelevant.
So, can you get copyrighted on TikTok? Definitely! Let’s take a deeper dive into how TikTok music copyright works specifically.
What Music Can I Use on TikTok?
Generally speaking, you can use music that’s available in TikTok’s music library without the risk of copyright infringement. Why? Because TikTok has licensing agreements with those artists allowing them to offer that music to the end-user for use in TikTok videos.
It’s important to note that you cannot take music from TikTok’s music library and use it on other platforms. Individual creators and commercial users each have access to their own library of music to use in their videos.
Unfortunately, the quality and originality of the music available often leaves a lot to be desired, which is why many brands and monetized creators prefer to license their own music to use in their videos. We’ll explain how that works below!
Can I Use My Original Work in TikTok Videos?
Yes, if you are a musician, you can use your original songs in TikTok videos. However, it’s a good idea to upload your songs to the app library first. This ensures that TikTok is protected by a Copyright License Agreement or IP License Agreement with you as the music creator.
Technically, you can publish videos on TikTok with your original music even if your songs aren’t already in the app library. However, you must notify TikTok that it’s your original work, or you risk having your video muted or taken down.
This is to protect TikTok by ensuring that permission has been granted to distribute the song on their platform.
How Can You Use Copyrighted Music On TikTok?
Most TikTok users prefer videos that contain original music and sound. And, users are much more likely to enjoy and remember videos that feature a song they like. Clearly, choosing the right music is a pretty big deal for brands and monetized content creators who want to be successful on TikTok.
Serious creators and commercial users who want to incorporate high-quality music into their videos should consider licensing their own music to use in Tik Tok videos. Licensing a song allows you to use copyrighted music safely and legally, without risking copyright infringement.
Track Club, Marmoset’s new music licensing subscription service, offers a meticulously curated small-batch catalog of unique, high-quality music for brands and creators. Our app features 100% customizable songs that are produced in-house and go through multiple revisions to ensure the highest quality.
Track Cub prides itself on transparency and offers fair royalty payouts to the artists on our roster. We’re the ideal music partner for conscious creators looking to use their own music on TikTok.
What Happens if I Use Copyrighted Music on TikTok Without Permission?
When you upload music and videos to TikTok, you are considered the owner of that content, even after it is published. That means you are legally responsible for any harm that it may cause, including copyright infringement.
If you include a song in your video, intentionally or by accident, that is not in the TikTok library or properly licensed, TikTok will likely mute the video or completely remove it from their platform.
You may also receive a cease and desist letter from the Performance Rights Organization (PRO) that handles licensing for the song you used. If you are making money from your video, you could also end up being sued, depending on how much money you’ve made.
The best way to avoid being copyrighted on TikTok is to choose music from TikTok’s music library or to properly license your own music for social media and internet use.
When you’re ready to take your TikTok content to the next level with high-quality music, we invite you to take a tour of our music catalog. Or better yet, take us for a free 30-day test drive. We’re sure you’ll be glad you did!