Apple royalty-free audio library elements can be used in commercial productions

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

An important part of preparing any video or animation production for distribution is checking that it is copyright-cleared. Funders and distributors need to make sure that productions that become successful don’t lead to lawsuits from aggrieved copyright holders. 

As well as applying to video clips, the audio must be cleared. Music and sound effects are subject to copyright. Google’s YouTube runs software that can recognise music in your video that belongs to someone else. Sometimes this automated process recognises music that is royalty-free - copyright cleared.

If you do use royalty-free music or sound effects, it is a good idea to have a note of the permission you have to use in commercial projects. Apple have support documents that are helpful here. They say that you can use their royalty-free content in any way - apart as individual source files: be they samples or music loops. You can take all or part of their library and sell it to anyone else or make it available to anyone for free:

You may broadcast and/or distribute your own soundtracks that were created using the Sample Content, however, individual files may not be commercially or otherwise distributed on a standalone basis, nor may they be repackaged in whole or in part as clipart, stock animation, audio samples, sound files or music beds.

Here are the relevant support notes on this subject for the royalty free content that comes with Final Cut Pro X and Motion, Garageband and Logic Pro X/MainStage 3.

If YouTube erroneously doesn't like your soundtrack because you've used some content from a royalty-free library that comes with an Apple product you've bought, you can dispute the 'Content ID Claim’ by appealing on the YouTube site itself. WikiHow has an article on appealing this sort of thing. In the ‘I believe the copyright claim is not valid because’ section, you would click the ‘I have a license or written permission from the proper rights holder to use this material’ option and provide a link to the relevant Apple support document for the application you used to make your video.