Music Copyright Basics for Podcasters
First of all, breathe.
It’s highly unlikely any major legal action or fines will be coming your way.
The worst case scenario is likely the content getting taken down, or you might have to reupload the content without the copyrighted material.
But how did they even know you were using copyrighted materials?
Many podcast and digital media platforms have AI that can detect copyrighted content in media posted within their own platforms. AI will scan music and podcasts, and detect even seconds of copyrighted audio in the posted content.
This could be music sampled by a DJ without permission, or that clip of a Beyoncé song you used on your podcast episode about modern day queens. These tracking tools are especially important for platforms like Spotify and YouTube that also have relationships with music artists and labels.
No company is going to risk an important existing relationship with a record label by allowing other users to post their unlicensed copyrighted material. Your podcast could also be flagged due to a listener reporting you.
Each platform has its own rules and guidelines. YouTube, for example, will most of the time respond by not allowing you monetize the offending content. Instead, YouTube will monetize your content for the copyright holder. The copyright holder may also choose to simply have your content taken down. Or they may have the offending audio removed from your content leaving an awkwardly silent section of video.