Copyright, as it relates to YouTube, should be pretty simple. If you upload original content to YouTube, it’s protected by copyright, and if your content is uploaded without your permission, you can send YouTube a copyright infringement notice to have it taken care of. Sounds simple, right? Well, truth be told, it can be a lot more complicated than that.
If you’re dealing with a copyright strike on YouTube, you can stop banging your head off the keyboard, because we’ve broken it all down for you below.
To go directly to each part of the article, you can follow the links below:
There are two main types of copyright complaints that can be filed with YouTube. If content owners want to flag a video for copyright, they can do so by submitting a copyright takedown notice or making a Content ID claim.
A copyright takedown notice is a formal request from the content owner for YouTube to remove the video. Each time your account is penalized due to a copyright takedown notice YouTube will give your account a copyright strike. If you get three strikes, your account and all your channels are subject to termination, all your videos will be removed, and you won’t be allowed to create new channels.
A Content ID claim, on the other hand, won’t result in a copyright strike. Instead, they allow copyright owners to track viewership statistics on the video, block a video from being viewed in certain areas, and monetize your video by running ads on it.
The safest thing to do is to only upload your own original content, but even that may not be completely safe. For instance, let’s say your video was filmed at an event where music was playing through speakers. YouTube’s Content ID system could detect the song playing in the background and notify the copyright owner, which could result in a strike on your account when you didn’t steal any one’s work and had no intention of using copyrighted material.
If you get a copyright strike, YouTube will send an email to the Gmail account associated with your YouTube channel. You can also go to your video manager to see which videos have copyright issues and find out more information. To get to the Video Manager, after signing in to YouTube, click on your profile photo in the top right-hand corner of the screen, then click on Creator Studio.
Once you’re in the Creator Studio, click the Video Manager option on the left-hand sidebar and a list of all your videos will pop up. Information about each video, including details about any copyright issues, are shown on the right of the video’s thumbnail. If there’s a copyright issue with your video, you’ll see the copyright symbol and a message in blue font that reads “Includes copyrighted content”, “Blocked worldwide”, “Video taken down: Copyright strike” or something else, depending on the situation.
You can click on either the symbol or the message for a detailed breakdown of the copyright claim, including who made the claim, and what action has been taken. At this point, if you want to dispute the copyright claim, you can click on “File a dispute” in the lower right-hand corner of the page to start the process, or you can contact the claimant directly to request that they retract the claim.
Check out the video below to see how the writer of this blog would go about doing this on his YouTube channel (which is crawling with copyright claims):
An important thing to keep in mind when it comes to Content ID claims is that you could find your competition advertising on your video. This is because the copyright owners making these claims have the option to monetize your video by running ads on it. This means that even if you’ve turned off the advertising option on your videos, the person making the claim has the ability to turn this function back on. So, you might end up with your competitors’ ads running on your videos, which is obviously a bit of a nightmare.
Thankfully, dealing with a Content ID claim is pretty easy. If your video was muted (or has been monetized) because of a Content ID claim on the music used and you’ve chosen not to file a dispute, or were unsuccessful in your attempt to dispute the claim, YouTube provides an audio swapping tool that allows you to replace the audio with a track from their library of licensed music. If you don’t like what they have to offer, or you want to keep the original audio from your video, but just change the music, there are plenty of sites where you can find affordable, royalty-free music. Click here to check out our article on royalty-free music for some suggestions on where to find it.
After 90 days, copyright strikes will expire, as long as you complete YouTube’s Copyright School. This entails watching a video that explains how copyright works on YouTube, and then having to answer four multiple choice questions until you get them right. However, keep in mind that the owner of the content you uploaded can flag the video again after the strike expires, so it’s not like you can just wait three months and get off scot-free.
To get a retraction, you can contact whoever made the copyright claim on your video and ask them to retract their copyright infringement notice. They might have made a mistake in flagging your video, thinking it was something else, or realize that you were within your rights to use the content because of fair use or fair dealing (using other people’s content for commentary, criticism, parody, etc.). And while it’s unlikely, they might just change their mind about the claim and retract it.
This is where things get complicated. If you’re sure your content was mistaken for something else, or you believe your video falls under the veil of fair use or fair dealing, you can submit a counter notification. But you must be sure about what you’re doing with these, as YouTube has to include the full text of your counter claim, including your personal information, when sending the counter notice to the claimant. At this point, they can use your information to file a lawsuit against you to prevent YouTube from restoring the content. If you’re considering filing a counter notification, you really should read YouTube’s counter notification page in its entirety.
If you want to know more about copyright law, stay tuned for our blog article next week on what to do if someone stole your YouTube video.
Here’s YouTube’s official video breaking down the basics of copyright on their website:
At times, copyright issues on YouTube may sound simple, but they can be infuriatingly complex. Especially if you’re a content creator trying to monetize your work, or a business owner or marketing professional doing video marketing on YouTube, it’s best to know YouTube copyright like the back of your hand before uploading anything. In any case, the last thing you want is to spend all that time creating content, only to have your videos removed or your account terminated.