What are YouTube Copyright Claims & How Do You Address Them?
Many content creators on YouTube end up using copyrighted content, sometimes unintentionally and other times intentionally. If you receive a copyright claim on any of your YouTube videos, it can significantly affect your ability to make money on the platform. Copyright claims can also pose problems in joining the YouTube Partner Program.
If you are wondering about the process of addressing these copyright claims, we have you covered. In this article, we will answer all your questions related to copyright claims, including the things you need to do to address them or avoid them altogether.
What does a copyright claim mean?
If you receive a copyright claim on YouTube, it means that your video contains media that is protected by copyright. This media can be in the form of a movie clip, image, music, a speech, or anything that you do not have permission to use.
Whenever you upload a video on the platform, the Content ID system on YouTube searches for media matches. If it finds a match, it alerts the user about copyright infringement. YouTube gives the following advisory to the users after they receive a copyright claim –
- The user can use the copyrighted content; however, the copyright owner can get a part of the ad revenue generated through that video.
- The owner of the copyright can also restrict that particular video in certain countries.
After this, there are a few options for the user –
- Mute, replace, and remove the copyrighted content from the video.
- Revenue sharing with the holder of the copyright.
- Challenge the copyright claim.
In many cases, the owner of the copyright can choose not to take any step. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will be able to derive monetization benefits from that video.
Can you monetize your YouTube channel with copyright claims?
If you have copyright issues with some of your videos, you might be wondering whether it will affect your monetization benefits. Although it is a somewhat gray area on YouTube, there are ways to find out the answer to this question. If you want to join the Partner Program on YouTube, the platform has listed clear requirements for a channel. These are –
- Having 1,000 subscribers or more
- Crossing the threshold of 4,000 hours of Watch Time in 12 months.
- No active strikes in terms of community guidelines.
- Linking the channel with Google AdSense
- Compliance with all the rules on YouTube, including community guidelines, terms of service, AdSense program policies, advertiser-friendly content guidelines, and copyright policies.
- If the creator lives in a country that has the availability of the YouTube Partner Program.
Complying with just a few of these rules is not enough. If you want to derive monetization benefits on YouTube, it is important to comply with all the rules, which include the one about copyright policies.
Since these rules are quite complex, the platform uses human reviewers to check if a channel meets the abovementioned requirements. The reviewer will assess the following things in your channel –
- The main theme of the channel
- The most viewed videos
- The recent videos
- Videos that have registered the most Watch Time hours
- Metadata, including titles, thumbnails, and descriptions.
The process of reviewing typically takes a month, after which the platform apprises the user about the decision. If you are wondering about the copyright claims, they can affect your channel on two grounds –
- Most viewed videos
- Videos with the largest proportion of Watch Time
If the copyrighted content was found in these videos, you would not qualify for the Partner Program. The human reviewer will come to the conclusion that copyrighted content contributed to the success of your video, which will lead to the rejection of your YouTube Partner Program application. You can derive monetization benefits for your YouTube channel only if the most viewed videos do not contain copyrighted content.
How to avoid copyright Infringement on YouTube
It is important to remember that copyright infringement on any platform comes with serious consequences. YouTube takes this matter quite seriously and often penalizes the offenders with copyright strikes. If you want to steer clear of these YouTube claims, it is best to keep a few things in mind –
1. Understand the copyright laws
The first thing you need to do is get a basic understanding of the copyright laws. Copyrights are created as soon as some content is published on a platform. A person possesses copyrights to their content throughout their lives and also for a while after their death. If you have created any original content for the platform, you hold the copyright for that video. If you have uploaded a video containing someone else’s original content, the copyright is with the other person. If you are going to add someone else’s content to your video, it is always best to obtain their permission for the same.
2. Attributing the source does not always prevent a copyright infringement
If you claim someone else’s content to be your own, that will be considered a blatant infringement of copyright policies. In some cases, however, even after giving relevant attribution, it can lead to a copyright violation. YouTube can generate a copyright strike against your video, even if you add a phrase like –
- All rights reserved by respective owners
- No copyright infringement intended
- Created by X (name of creator)
Just providing credit to the copyright owner is not enough. If you want to add someone else’s content to your video, it is important to obtain permission from the person.
3. Understand the consequences of a copyright violation
When you commit a copyright infringement, it can lead to two things– Content ID match and a Takedown Notice. In a Content ID match, YouTube uses a system to match the content in your video with millions of other videos uploaded on the platform. If any match is found, the platform sends a copyright claim to the user. With the Takedown Notice, the copyright owner can register a complaint with YouTube if their content was used without their permission. If the video is found breaching the policies, YouTube sends the channel a copyright strike and takes down their video. No matter how a copyright violation is discovered, you will always run the risk of your video being removed.
4. Your motive does not affect the copyright claim
Even if you say that you were not interested in making money through someone else’s content, it does not matter. YouTube stipulates that any form of copyright infringement is against the policies of the platform. Your motive for including someone else’s content is not taken unto consideration. It is always best to obtain permission from the person if you are planning to use their content.
5. Obtain permission for using copyrighted content
Sometimes, the best way to avoid a copyright claim is to obtain permission from the owner of the copyrighted material. You can send a well-written note to the person to obtain their permission. Remember to include a part about how you plan to use their content. However, there is one catch in this situation. Sometimes, permissions can only be obtained at the cost of demonetizing the video. If you are looking to make money through the video, this situation can hurt your prospects. However, you can consider this as an opportunity to add some flavor to your channel.
How to prevent copyright issues from escalating to a strikeout?
According to the YouTube copyright policy, three strikes of copyright violations can come with heavy consequences for a channel. YouTube imposes a lifetime ban on any channel that is found repeatedly violating copyright laws. Once a ban is imposed, the user will not be able to recover any of their videos. This is why it is important to take steps to avoid YouTube strikes altogether.
There are basically two kinds of strikes on YouTube –
- Copyright strike: If you add another creator’s content to your video without obtaining their permission, it can lead to a copyright strike. To address this, you can take down your own video or dispute the claim.
- Community guideline strike: This YouTube strike can result if you violate the YouTube community guidelines in any way. These violations can be in the form of uploading objectionable content, misleading captions/thumbnails, or any other reasons.
After receiving the first copyright strike on YouTube, you would have to take an online course on copyright regulations, along with a quiz. If you do not strike out completely, any strikes you have collected will eventually come down after 90 days from the date of issue. YouTube also restores any privileges you have lost as a result of the strikes. However, if your content gets three strikes in a 90-day period, YouTube will terminate your channel.
With this, we have covered everything there is to know about YouTube copyright claims. If you want to continue deriving monetization benefits and watch your channel flourish on the platform, it is important to avoid copyright claims altogether. With the pointers provided in this article, you are now well-equipped to handle any copyright claims coming your way. Remember that the best way to prevent your channel from being banned on the platform is by ensuring that you use all original content. Even if you wish to add someone else’s work to your videos, it is best to obtain their permission to do so.
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