What music is and isn't prone to copyright strikes?


#1

On YouTube, a copyright strike only occurs if these conditions are met:

  • The owner of the content submits a report (possibly with an automated bot). No third-party reporting, therefore there will never be a copyright strike if the owner does not care.
  • The uploaded content is an exact match of the original content, or with very minor distortions that serve the sole purpose of fooling report bots.

So, you can upload copyrighted content to YouTube with no chance of a strike as long as either you know the owner doesn’t like to do copyright strikes, or it’s sufficiently altered.

Roblox appears to follow different rules however.
Only the most petty producers would bother to take down copyrighted music from Roblox, as almost no one downloads music from Roblox in place of buying it; however, all well-known music being suddenly removed suggests that it doesn’t matter if the producer doesn’t care.
And I’ve seen one remix of a song be taken down for copyright reasons, and I don’t know if that was because of the connection to the original song or copyright of the remix itself.

So that leaves me with two questions.
Firstly, if the owner of a song does not care if it is uploaded to Roblox and never reports it, then is that song completely immune to copyright strikes like on YouTube? Or can some third-party troll get it removed by reporting it?
Secondly, is music with sufficient alteration immune, as it would be on YouTube?


#2

Also, not directly related to the question, but I reckon the initial audio removal wave was complete overkill.
If content isn’t removed from third-party YouTube uploads (Where people can easily download it or just use YouTube as a music player directly), then they would never ever remove it from Roblox where downloading is harder and the platform is completely impractical as a music player.
And yet, there’s abundant content that has been removed from Roblox yet spent an entire decade on YouTube as third-party uploads. Such as CaramelDansen.


#3

All your questions seem to be about you wanting to be able to use copyrighted music illegally. Here’s a super easy answer to the question proposed in your title: copyrighted music is prone to copyright strikes (you never know when a music owner’s lawyers will stumble across Roblox, or when someone emails them about it). Non-copyrighted music that is allowed to be used for free is not.

Rid yourself of all the headaches by using APM music or different tracks you have the rights to. It’s an obvious answer, but anything else is subject to change and just has you walking a tightrope into a can of worms you don’t want to get into.


#4

Believe me, I can be 100% sure that certain songs will never, ever have a first-party copyright claim.
I’m simply wanting to know if third-party copyright claims are taken seriously, because I assume that if they are then there’ll always be the threat of trolls who sabotage games by flagging all non-APM music.
APM music is very bland, you can’t take it seriously as a solution.


#5

Actually, I think I’ve already got the answer to my own question.
The same song, by a well-known band, has been sitting at the top of the audio library ever since the copyright takedown wave.
If no first-party report is required, then there’s no way a song could survive there for that long since it’d take just one troll to report it or one moderator to notice it, which I’m sure happens constantly.
So I guess I am safe using songs by solo musicians who don’t care about non-commercial usage of their songs. I could ask, but of the two musicians whose music I’ve uploaded, one stopped talking to me after I didn’t want to ERP as a kangaroo and the other is impossible to contact because they got really sulky after a rape rumour started and perpetuated by random tumblr users, most notably TheLivingTombstone.

Most people in the world aren’t looking to sue at the drop of a hat, and authorising usage of content for a tiny project is just too inefficient. Sometimes it’s best to just give up doing things the correct, legal way and assume that you won’t get in trouble. It’s what I like about my country, it’s like Britain but people follow intent of the law instead of the law itself so you don’t get nonsense like requiring a driver’s license to buy plastic butterknives.


#6

Not really “best”, rather it’s just more convenient for you because it lets you do less work. It seems like you started the thread to infer your own conclusion, rather than actually wanting a proper answer like @Kampfkarren’s response. (In which case, why bother posting the thread at all?)

Using others’ work without their permission to do so is disrespectable behavior and against the terms of service.


#7

The point of this thread is that Roblox needs a transparent, pragmatic policy on use of copyrighted content.
Roblox is in the exact same situation as YouTube with regards to how copyrighted content is used; the vast majority of production is non-professional, yielding no money.
It is obviously unrealistic to expect non-professional production to license music, non-professionals often have budgets barely covering food and rent and their hobby would be ruined if they had to pay money to do it. They can use royalty-free music, but often what is being produced is inspired by copyrighted music.

YouTube’s policy is a very pragmatic one; don’t use any copyrighted content professionally, and for non-professional stuff don’t use content that major companies are highly protective of or treat any content as if it were your own content.
It’s more complicated than that since different media types have different rules, but whatever they’re doing works extremely well since it allows very free use of copyrighted content yet never leaves people feeling their copyrighted content has been stolen with them being unable to do anything about it.
Roblox should just make a policy like that specifically for music. It’d require the introduction of opt-in automated copyrighted content screening (which is what YouTube uses IIRC), but all that takes is a form and an already-existing API.
One slight difference with Roblox though is that while in a video a song will typically be credited at some point, it’s harder to do in a game. This is simple to fix though, just have the name and owner of all playing copyrighted sounds be visible from the escape menu in-game.

In all, the policy would be:

  • Something restricting use of DevEx for games using copyrighted audio
  • Owners of audio content may opt out of having their content hosted on Roblox, barring current and future uploads through automated screening.
  • The uploader of any copyrighted content shall give appropriate metadata giving the name of the content and the owner of it (This isn’t for legal reasons, this is just important to lesser-known musicians)

I’m not sure how this all works legally since the opt-out system barely sounds legal to me, but YouTube works in a very similar way.


#8

I recommend putting in a feature request for such a policy if that is something you need for your games. As it stands right now, the terms of service are quite transparent in the fact that you just cannot upload any non-licensed content to Roblox, regardless of profit/non-profit. (The fact that Roblox does not take down content without incentive from the copyright holder does not mean the rule is not transparent/pragmatic, it still holds just the same.)


#9

In other words, Roblox says one thing then does another.
That’s not transparent at all. It’s pragmatic, because the policy that is actually applied is the same policy that everyone else uses, and the written policy just sounds like legal protection so Roblox can claim that they do not intentionally host copyrighted content as content is uploaded on the premise of not being copyrighted.

It’s not an ideal scenario, because Roblox is forced to have a disparity between written and actual policies leading to a lot of confusion, and the actual policies do not help obscure music artists be recognised for their work.


#10

They don’t – it’s written in the terms of service that Roblox doesn’t actively police content but rather that it assumes you have the license of all content you upload unless proven otherwise by the copyright holder (in which case you may be punished). It doesn’t really get more transparent/pragmatic than this, they follow this policy as written.