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Can I Use Music from iMovie on YouTube

Creating videos is a lot of fun. It is also a lot of work, and some of that work involves adding in background music to set the tone of a video, especially ones on Youtube. Finding the right music is challenging and leaves us with a few questions.

iMovie music tracks can be used in YouTube videos. Apple owns the copyright for all tracks on iMovie and allows users to use iMovie music tracks free of charge for their projects. The Apple Software License Agreement states that customers can reproduce, publish, and modify materials in iMovie.

The legalese of the situation is often hard to keep track of and knowing where to start will help you know what is free use and what you should tread lightly with, as well as what to do in certain situations.

Royalty-Free vs. Copyright

Royalty-free music isn’t copyright-free, though it is sometimes easy to mix things up what the difference is. First off, what does royalty-free content mean?

Royalty-free is paying for music only once and then being allowed to use it for as long as you want and in any way that you want. It’s saying that no matter how many times that music is used, no matter how many times it is viewed in your videos and such, you don’t have to pay any more for that music to still be something valid for you to use.

Copyrights are not the same. Copyright, in this instance, gives Apple the right to distribute and sell the music and tracks from iMovie. You can’t sell the tracks because they don’t belong to you, they belong to Apple and Apple is letting you use them in your projects.

Apple’s iMovie Software License Agreement

The software license agreement that most people skip over has the most important information for the small things that end up becoming a big deal, like the potential copyright infringement you could have caused by using Apple’s iMovie music in your video.

It is important to know where this is and how to cite it if you end up getting a copyright claim, which is more likely than not if you choose to include royalty-free Apple music in your videos.

The full legal document of the Software License Agreement includes essentially what you agreed to upon purchasing the Apple products that include iMovie, or when you purchased iMovie on its own.

Right at the very top, it says that you can reproduce, publish, and modify materials that are not copyrighted. Essentially what it is saying is that they’re giving you use of the tracks and templates in iMovie, but you can’t sell them as if they were yours. Pretty fair, considering a lot of other places will make you pay a ton more for a music track or a video template.

Under 2. “Permitted License Uses and Restrictions,” section G, “iMovie Features and Support,” it outlines what the iMovie music and layouts are given to you as allowed. They are licensed and copyrighted by Apple and it says specifically that “all Media Content included in the Apple Software may be used on a royalty-free basis in your own video projects but may not be distributed on a standalone basis (and audio Media Content may only be used for your own personal, non-commercial use).” (Source)

They’re asking you not to sell their music and make a profit off of it. And considering they let you use all of that for free? That’s not much for them to be asking of you.


Monetization is always a tricky claim and can be difficult to do with your YouTube videos. Most of the time, people skip this and are usually using YouTube more for the fun of enjoyment and sharing rather than a career, however it is important to note and be aware of the fact that while Apple does allow you free range with their soundtracks, jingles and other musical tracks, you are still at risk of receiving copyright claims and infringement claims.

Most of these claims have been reported as not coming from Apple itself, seeing as you have a standing agreement with them. They don’t dispute what you do with the music as long as you aren’t selling or distributing the Apple soundtracks alone.

If they choose to dispute this with you, they may end up citing that 2.G section that says “audio Media Content may only be used for your own personal, non-commercial use.” You can still dispute this and because you aren’t relying on the music to make you money, it might be resolved or dismissed. To be on the safer side, it would ultimately be better not to monetize your videos if you end up using Apple iMovie music in your video.

Copyright Claim on Your Video

What should you do when you receive a copyright claim on your video? This can be scary and extremely frustrating but keep a level head. This will be sorted out one way or another, and so long as you’re not in the wrong, you’ll usually come out on top.

After ensuring that you aren’t in the wrong, that you haven’t unintentionally infringed on a copyright, you can move to the next step, which is disputing a copyright claim. You’ll do this through your own YouTube account and following the routes to dispute the claim, stating why you believe the claim is invalid.

A few things to note. There are three things that are not valid reasons to dispute a copyright claim. These are as follows: Owning a copy of the song. It’s still not your song, so therefore you’d be causing a copyright infringement.

Saying you’re not earning money from your video. It would still be a copyright infringement.

Giving credit to the copyright owner. Even giving credit to the copyright owner doesn’t absolve a copyright claim.

Here is a video that walks through that process. Be sure to read the fine print in these things to ensure you’re actually doing what you need in order to solve the copyright claim.

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