Wanna Drop A Hip-Hop Remix? Here’s How To Do It Legally.

We wrote an article on five times when underground ate Badshah’s “Therapy” beat yesterday. As the name suggests, the article was to push the underground’s efforts. In fact, the published piece featured remixes of “Therapy” redone by Olvin, Yungsta, Prolific, Apoorv, Rachit & Gurekam Jot. As a matter of fact, two out of the five remixes that we mentioned have received copyright claims from One Digital Entertainment.


“Therapy” remixes of both Olvin and Yungsta were turned down last night on the grounds of copyrighted content (of which Yunsgta’s version is back up on YouTube). As a result, outrage has sparked in the underground community. A few hip-hop fans even claimed that these “Therapy” versions were lyrically better than Badshah’s OST. No wonder, Olvin and Yungsta are disappointed. According to the artists, they didn’t monetise the video and gave the full credits to the creator. “Its disheartening but if I’ve breached the value of his content unintentionally, I’m okay with it. An artist should never suffer,” said Olvin. Now, they just want to know the exact reason of turn down.

First and foremost, let us explain what copyright, licensing and copyright strikes stand for.

Copyright, Licensing & Copyright Strikes:

Copyright is a right which makes your content your intellectual property. Its a legal right given to the owner by the judicial system of a country which restricts unintended & uninformed use of your property by others. In a few cases, the copyrights are distributed between two parties for a settlement. In fact, sometimes copyright is valid up to 50 to 100 years after the owner’s death depending on the jurisdiction.  If the reproduction of the original idea from the property is intended by someone, licensing comes in the picture.

Licensing is a legal permission given by the copyright holder to the person who intends to use the copyrighted content. Licensing comes with limitations and is not to be confused with the transfer of ownership.

A copyright strike is done by the copyright owner. It is done to prevent unlicensed/unauthorized use of their copyrighted content. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths that surround copyrights in cases like these. Let us explain.

Myths that surround copyrights in cases like these:


1. “No Monetization, No Infringement.”

In the light of the above mentioned case, this myth strikes on target. Not earning money from the use of an unlicensed content is still illegal. Its because you’re not only using a copyrighted content without authorisation, you’re also distributing it for free. In other words, you’re damaging the commercial value of the original property.

2. “It was my way of promoting the original content.”

No, it doesn’t work like that. You can never use a copyright content for free unless you’ve a license or written permission from the owner. Reaching out to the companies who distribute an audio for permission is not difficult these days. An e-mail can get you that if your intentions are clearly mentioned. Sometimes distribution companies agree on to give permission to increase the reach of their content.

3. “Dropping a remix of a popular single is the way hip-hop is.”

It sure is but only if done legally. Major hip-hop artists do remix a popular track but with legal licensing. The distribution of their remixes on digital platforms require ownership of the instrumental. Sometimes a producer leases the beat to several artists and sometimes the distribution companies give permissions as well. Copyright owner can discuss royalties legally.

Basics of requesting permissions.

1. Research if your use necessitates consent.

There is no shame in researching. In fact, if your use is going to damage the original work, be ethical about it.

2. Find the owner

In case, you’re not sure about your use, identify the owner. To be sure, research online and lookout for credits. Copyright owners are usually mentioned in the credits section.

3. Discuss & Negotiate

Regardless of your knowledge, the owner will clear out your confusions. If your use is going to affect their work, settlements can be helpful. Know what your use of the copyrighted content is going to do beforehand and discuss. Find out if the owner seeks royalties, one time settlements or are they willing to permit you for free. Negotiate on terms and don’t be greedy. After all, you’re the one who needs the permission, not them.

4. Remember, only a written permission is legally valid.

As a matter of fact, verbal approvals can be manipulated later. A piece of written permission acts as concrete evidence and will protect you later on. No matter how kind the owner is, get yourself the permissions in writings.

Recently, “Despacito” became the most viewed video on YouTube ever. In fact, “Despacito” was originally recorded by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. When Justin Bieber wanted to remix it, people from Bieber’s label approached Luis’ label and after an agreement, the remix was done. Let’s take a hip-hop reference. Infamous Nicki Minaj Diss – “ShETHER” was turned down from iTunes because it was not licensed from Nas’ label. For those who don’t know, it was a diss recorded by Remy Ma on the instrumental of “Ether” by Nas.

In conclusion, study the legal aspect of your actions beforehand. A copyright strike is temporary. It can be removed if you negotiate but can make you land in legal troubles as well. Let us know if this article was helpful to you all.