Customer distributed an audiobook with my music and now I get copyright infringement notifications

Good morning.
I recently received a copyright infringement notice while trying to upload my track to a third party site. Basically, a customer bought this track of mine on audiojungle and then used it as the background of his audiobook, which was distributed on all music platforms (spotify, deezer, etc.). As far as I know, this type of use is authorized by Music Standard license (Up to 10,000 copies or downloads), but the problem is that Shazam now also recognizes my music as the client’s work, and some sites have already prevented me from uploading my own track for copyright issue. I think that in reality the customer is in good faith, as in a video he posted on youtube he reports the origin of the music reporting my Envato nickname, so I am a bit uncertain about how to proceed: I contacted the support and I received indications on how to send a DMCA takedown notice, but I don’t think this is the case, as the customer paid for licensing the music in his audiobook. I just wish I wasn’t prevented from uploading my own song to other platforms: maybe I should contact the distributor and ask to be credited as the author of the background music? What do you think?

Which sites block you? If it is CID there may be a relatively easy solution.

No it’s not a CID issue, it’s just another royalty-free site (which I cannot name on the forum I think) which uses a
monitoring system based on what is already live on Spotify and other major music platforms (I think it uses some sort of app like shazam): if the authors don’t match it block the uplaod process immediately. Anyway I’m in contact with the site to clear that out, but I would like to know if this kind of use of our music is legit. I also proceeded registering the track with CID soon after I discovered this issue. I also happened to read your posts on Content ID and that really cleared my mind on the importance of registering all of my tracks with CID, thanks for your infos.

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It’s obvious you should not be getting copyright infringement notifications for your own music. It’s a possible problem also for your other clients using your music on those platforms.

Licenses sold on Audiojungle clearly state the licensee can’t claim ownership of the music through content identification systems, such as content ID.

It seems these issues are becoming more frequent as these systems are starting to be pretty much a standard on every social media etc platform.

Good that you have registered tracks with CID - this way you will avoid further problems.

Did you register them with PRO? It is always a great proof of ownership.

In my opiniom there is no fault on client side as long as he uploaded track only to Spotify etc.

If there is a problem only with this site, it looks like it is a kind of side effect of their fingerprinting system. Though I haven’t heard yet about system based on Shazaam-like system so I am not 100% sure if this is the problem.

You should simply write to the site support and explain it. They should allow you to upload the track.

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Thanks for your help, I agree with you, and, yes, I registered the track with a PRO. Actually I’m already in contact with support with that site and I’m sure they clarify the situation soon. In any case I think owners of the audiobooks should credit music composers when uploading their works as soundtracks on music platforms in order no to create confusion.

Whether they did it on purpose or not is irrelevant, buyers cannot claim ownership and they have to opt-out of any fingerprinting services.

@PantheonMusic have you contacted the buyer? Maybe they can help by reaching out to their distributor and ask to remove your music from their fingerprinting services?

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Buyers are prohibited from uploading music bought on AJ to music platforms. The fact that it’s an audiobook is a bit different, but ultimately the danger is the same, as you found out.

@PurpleFog not yet, I didn’t want to go against Envato policy with clients so I opened a ticket but it wasn’t that much helpful, as I said the customer should be in good faith since he just uploaded his audiobook with my background music maybe without considering the fingerprinting issues.

I know for sure buyers can never distribute the music track as-is, but with a speech overlayed is allowed, as I found here:

Can I use music in an audio-only end product such as a podcast, audiobook, or guided meditation?

Yes, as long as the audio-only end product is larger in scope and different in nature than the music itself. As a rule of thumb, the music alone must not comprise the primary value of the end product, and should have speech overlayed and interspersed throughout. You can never distribute the music track as-is or with superficial modifications.

Example: You can use a relaxing music background to underscore your guided meditation voiceover recordings, and sell a CD of this to your spa customers.

Is there such a policy? Envato has been very insisting that the transaction is between the author and the buyer, so what would they have to say about it? Especially since they are obviously unwilling to do anything about it.

I’m sure they are… but it doesn’t change the fact that their actions created an issue for you and for your other buyers. This needs to be amended.

Yes, I’m aware of the terms. However, nowhere does it say anything about selling guided meditation or audiobooks on music platforms, which is the real issue here. The terms are a bit too vague here, this issue should be addressed.

@PurpleFog I think I will contact the distributor and make them aware of the situation, maybe they can simply add my credit as the author of the music. Anyway I will not proceed with a DMCA takedown request for now.

Didn’t know that. Btw do you remember where it’s written? I just want to make sure, because it’s interesting.

Yet obviously the licensee cannot claim ownership of your music through content identification systems, as it’s stated in the clause 19 of every music license on Audiojungle. That’s effectively what’s happening in your case.

The way I see it, is that the problem is that in many cases distributing any audio / video file to different platforms has some sort of a content identification / copyright tool in place nowadays. Which can easily cause problems like these, even if the basic idea of these systems are of course positive.

But he can claim the ownership of a new work which contains your music. E.g. movie with soundtrack is treated like a new work which belongs to it’s creator = author of the movie.

Same with an audiobook.

He can claim ownership of the end product, yes. But not though content identification systems, because those cannot distinguish the work of the client and the underlying work of the composer.

The license gives the client the right to use the music, not its copyrights.

If a client can claim the audiojungle music within his end product through content identification systems, we will soon be unable to sell these licenses to new clients, because their end products will also get blocked / copyright infrigement notifications on various platforms.

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I believe that in these particular cases, where a fingerprinting system is in the way, the question is all in the awareness and responsibility of the buyer to give credit to the composer as suggested here:

Do I have to credit the author of the item in my end product?

No, it’s not mandatory to give the author credit. But we do encourage that if your end product has credits as part of its design (such as a film or TV show), please credit the author and Envato Market. Also, as the author retains ownership of the item, you shouldn’t claim copyright in the item.

Example: If you used footage in your movie that already has credits, we ask that you include a credit. If you use a button graphic in a website, you don’t have to credit the author of the button graphic.

Crediting does not solve these sort of issues in any way.

Also, from the quotation above: “Also, as the author retains ownership of the item, you shouldn’t claim copyright in the item.”

That’s what happens through content identification systems.

Well it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Of course, they are not allowed to fingerprint music they bought on AJ.

As @AudioAgentNonExclusi said, it’s pretty explicit in clause 19:

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I don’t see what adding your credit as the author of the music would achieve. What you want is to retain full ownership of your asset.

I agree with you that DMCA is not the way to go. The end-product itself is not in breach of the agreement, so it would be abusive. It’s crazy that this is Envato’s support’s reply. Not that crazy actually, it merely illustrates how estranged they are from anything legal related to music rights. They should have a dedicated team.