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Make music 'Content ID' work for you

You may have heard the term ‘Content ID’ in connection with social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook taking down videos that use music.

There are actually two things working together when that happens; fingerprinting, and policy.


First off, because of the huge amount of music used on the internet, there needs to be a way for a computer quickly, efficiently, and reliably to recognise and identify that music, rather than humans doing it.

This is typically done using a technique called ‘fingerprinting’, where the computer analyses the unique pattern of peaks and troughs of the recorded music signal (its 'fingerprint') and then compares that against a big database of known music fingerprints.

We use exactly this technology in our License Verification System, which checks music licenses used in sports and fitness routines and generates reports of the music used for our live stream and video on demand service licenses.

The system fingerprints the music in each mix and matches the music used against licenses in our database.

This video gives a short overview of how LVS works [3 min watch]:


Sounds boring, but this is the real reason music gets taken down once it has been recognised.

In 1996 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ratified treaties that extended copyright protection to digital works on the internet, and criminalized attempts to bypass any digital copyright protection mechanisms.

All countries then updated their Copyright Acts to implement this in law - for example it was enshrined in law in the USA by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998 ("DCMA").

So-called ‘user generated content’ social media platforms like youTube and Facebook which let users upload videos then became popular, with no licensing of music taking place, the situation was out of control. The music industry moved to license these platforms. The deals that were eventually done between the labels and publishers and the social media tech giants embraced the WIPO legislation, and also fundamentally assumed that any music used on social media has not been licensed.

So once the music has been recognised, the policy is written such that music gets taken down first, and questions asked later.

There is no way around it.

Why is it important?

It means that, despite their wide reach, YouTube and Facebook are NOT good choices to share videos of your sports and fitness routines; even if you have purchased a license for music.

In fact, YouTube and Facebook have themselves advised Sports federations we are working with NOT TO USE YouTube and Facebook for live streaming performing sports or fitness routines with music, or host video content such as events!

Content ID regimes on the internet are also becoming MORE widespread and extreme.

Commercial third-party fingerprinting services are being launched that work across all platforms online, searching the whole internet for music and reporting the uses they find to music rightsholders so they can take action.

So, putting unlicensed music content on your own website in the ‘hope that it doesn’t get noticed’ is even less of an attractive option; it will be found by these new fingerprinting services.

So what are your options?

Depending on the resources available to you, you can use third party packages to build your own online platform.

Alternatively, there is good news in that one well-known video hosting site, Vimeo, doesn’t use a built in Content ID system (and has no ads).

Instead, Vimeo rely on their terms and conditions of use, which say that whoever uploads content must warrant (a legally binding promise) that they either own the content or have the appropriate licenses.

By using music licensed from ClicknClear, you can straightforwardly use Vimeo to host videos of sports and fitness routines and live streams or video on demand services, with the music, safe in the knowledge that you have all the licenses needed from both the recording artists and all songwriters.

And if gyms, sports competition organisers, sport governing bodies, or fitness professionals want to monetise their content, Vimeo even has options that allow you to easily implement subscription payments.

Making Content ID work for you

And, when you use ClicknClear’s music in videos hosted on Vimeo or your own platform, you’ll be putting the Content ID technology in ClicknClear’s License Verification System to work for you, not against you, by providing a fully auditable trail of usage and licenses that are reported to music rightsholders as part of our agreements with them.


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