Does This Affect My Mechanical License?
Usually no, your Mechanical License would only cover you for an audio-only release separate from any video you are distributing. Because most cover songs qualify for Compulsory Mechanical Licenses, we do not need the express permission of the copyright holder and can license any song that falls within the legal limitations. However, there may be cases in which you have to reach out to the copyright holders for direct permission if your use falls outside of the Compulsory limitations. In those cases, it may raise red flags to the music publishers if they find an unlicensed YouTube video, and that could jeopardize your Mechanical License.
Do I Even Need a License for YouTube?
Custom Synchronization licenses can get expensive, so we understand you're interested in only licensing your audio release. In good faith, we have to let you know you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to potential litigation. When you upload content to YouTube, you're agreeing to their terms of service and that you've obtained all necessary permissions. If you upload an unlicensed video, copyright holders have a wide range of options for what they can do to protect their copyright.
Some actions they may take could include any or all of the following:
- They could do nothing.
- They could claim and monetize your video.
- They could issue a take-down notice on your video.
- They could take legal action against you.
Ultimately it is up to each copyright holder to take action against any copyright infringement and we are only a third party licensing agency. In general, we can't speak for the publishers or give any legal advice. As a rule of thumb, we always recommend obtaining all permissions you need for your YouTube video before hitting the Upload button. If you want to be fully protected and license both your audio release and your YouTube video, we can help you with our Custom Licensing services!
For more information, check out What Type of License Do I Need for Youtube?