Frequently Asked Questions

I found your music on FMA. Can I use your music? 

Yes. You have to follow the Creative Commons license I have attached to the track. Your project must be non-commercial and credit must be given. If you can't give credit or you want to profit off your project, a commercial license must be purchased.


What is non-commercial?

In many cases, this definition is easy to apply. Making a mix and giving it to your friend is a non-commercial use; making a mix and selling 100 copies of it isn't. Unfortunately, many cases aren't nearly that simple. This is particularly true online, where ad-supported blogs and other evolving revenue models have blurred the lines between NonCommercial and Commercial. If you're receiving royalties, donations, sponsorship, advertising, monetizing your videos on Youtube, selling houses, making a demo hoping to get signed, etc...that is commercial. When in doubt, ask the artist if they allow the type of use you have in mind.


I still have questions about what "NonCommercial" means. What do you recommend? 

Reach out to the artist, explain your project, and ask for permission in writing. In the last decade, many media platforms and distribution services have entered the online arena, all with their own terms of services. So if your argument is still: "I don't get paid therefore it's not commercial", think again. The rightsholder might argue that gaining valuable traffic, more subscribers, receiving credits, sharing ad revenue, etc. should be seen as "commercial use". Try to align your intent and the intent of the rightsholder who uploaded and licensed the song.


What do you mean by "FREE" music? 

FREE doesn't mean you are free to use, alter or build upon all songs without any conditions. My music on FMA  is licensed under one of the popular Creative Commons licenses (CC-BY-NC). This means the music is copyright protected and some conditions apply before you can re-use the song. 


Is your music free of copyright restrictions? 

 NO! Works that aren't subject to any copyright restrictions are said to be in the public domain, which means you're free to do pretty much whatever you want with them. My music is not in the Public Domain. Most recorded music, however – including much of what you'll find on FMA – is copyrighted. 


I used Creative Commons music in my video, but it was still flagged by YouTube's Content ID system. What now? 

Some artists have started using YouTube's Content ID system to protect their intellectual property. This use does not conflict with the terms of a Creative Commons license. 

When an artist licenses their music using Creative Commons on Free Music Archive, they retain their copyright but extend permissions for you to use their copyrighted content according to the terms of the license. They still retain their copyright and the ability to make money from their music. Free Music Archive cannot and does not license music, so they cannot change the terms of the licenses, nor can they address Content ID claims directly. 

When your video is flagged, the best approach is to reach out to the artists themselves. Some artists are happy to waive the third-party rights flag for your specific video, upon seeing that you have correctly followed the terms of the license (ie, you've given credit, shared alike when necessary, followed non-commercial use guidelines, etc). 

To do that:

  Dispute the claim. 

1) Go to the video manager page. 

2) Click the “matched third party content” blue hyperlink next to the video. 

3) Click “Dispute”. 

4) Scroll down and select the 5th click option “I have a license or written permission from the proper rights holder to use this material” and Click “Continue”. 

5) Click “I am sure that I have a license or written permission, and I want to dispute this claim” and click “Continue” 

5) In the “Please explain briefly section” state your type of use.  If it is commercial please provide your order number from  If it is non-commercial please state it conforms to a CC-BY-NC gratis license. (See above for more about what is commercial.) 

6) Click the “I have a good faith belief…” box and enter your name. 

7) Click continue. 

8) Click “Submit Dispute” on the following page, and confirm the dispute by clicking “OK” on the pop-up window. 

The claim is usually resolved within one working day.