copyright cover songThere are many reasons to copyright your song; for instance, in order to protect it when others cover your song on YouTube. With the advent of YouTube ever more aspiring artists can post their rendition of popular songs, better known as cover songs to showcase their talent and to direct the viewers to their original music.  However, once a song is published, third parties have the right to cover it as a recording, but NOT as a video.

If You Copyright Your Song, Can Others Cover It?

If you wish to cover a copyright song, it helps to understand the licensing process and options.

The audio portion of a cover song is protected by a licensing arrangement known as “mechanical license.” Any person who wants to distribute and sell their own version of a cover song, has to secure a mechanical license from the publisher of the song, and pay them an appropriate royalty fee.  

The mechanical royalty license can be secured through various agencies such as Harry Fox or CD Baby’s cover song licensing service. This license only protects the sound recording of the cover song. Once secured, the cover artist can post their songs on audio platforms such as Spotify. However, although the license covers the audio portion of a cover song, it does not cover the video portion of the video being posted on YouTube.

In order to post the video portion of the cover song, the artist requires to secure a synchronization or sync license from the publisher or the composer. Since this license requires a private transaction between two parties it is often expensive or futile to try. To this end YouTube has devised a go around by implementing its Content ID process. The system analyzes the elements of every video posted on its platform and determines whether the video contains any copyrighted material, including sound recordings, composition, video, etc. If the system determines that there is a match between the uploaded cover song and a Content ID, it will place a claim on the video and any ad revenue generated by the posted video will be paid to its rights holder.

Copyright Your Song To Apply For YouTube’s Content ID 

A copyright owner can request YouTube to accept the music for its Content ID program. Content ID acceptance is based on an evaluation of each applicant’s actual need for the tools. Applicants must be able to provide evidence of the copyrighted content for which they control exclusive rights.  YouTube also provide other tools to protect the composers such as the copyright notification web form and the Content Verification Program (CVP).

Obviously, many composers and right holders don’t object to the additional ad revenue that they can receive when their songs are covered by other artists. The YouTube Content ID program allows for such an arrangement. However, if the right holder has any objection, YouTube allows them to block the posted cover song.  This may constitute a strike against your channel, and after a certain number of strikes, YouTube may prevent you to post any more music.

Protecting Your Song Starts With A Copyright 

If you wish to protect your original song, and possibly even monetize it through YouTube Content ID Program, the first step is to copyright your song. Our service at, facilitates easy online copyright registration. Contact us today to get started – don’t wait for someone to steal your work!