What Is a YouTube Copyright Claim and What Should You Do About It?

YouTube is famous for how open its content is. It is also infamous for its restrictive copyright claims. 

YouTube paid out more than $3 billion in ad revenue to copyright holders in 2019. Yet some of this money should have gone to content creators. Many don’t know how to deal with a YouTube copyright claim. 

What exactly is a copyright claim? What is fair use, and how does it protect your use of content? What do you have to do in order to fight a claim? 

Answer these questions and you can upload your videos without fear of a false takedown notice. Here is your quick guide. 

The Basics of a YouTube Copyright Claim 

A YouTube copyright claim occurs when a company asks YouTube to take down a video they believe has violated their copyright. The company submits a formal legal request to a YouTube administrator. They must provide information of what material they own was infringed. 

If the claim seems legitimate, YouTube may take the video down. They will send a notification to the content creator that a claim has been filed against their channel. 

A copyright claim can last for 90 days. If a user receives three copyright claims in 90 days, YouTube can terminate their account. 

A company may choose to keep the video up, but they have a revenue share. This may mean that most or all of the potential revenue that a video may make goes to the company. A company may choose to take no action, but this is rare. 

You may hear the term, “Content ID claim.” Content ID is YouTube’s internal copyright system.

Companies can upload copyrighted material onto an internal database. When YouTube detects content that matches material from the database, they can issue a Content ID claim. This monetizes the video so the copyright owner can make money off of it. 

Fair Use

Fair use allows content creators to use portions of copyrighted material in their content. Fair use has four major factors. 

The purpose of the use must be legitimate. Using a clip of a song in a review to display the features of the song is legitimate. Using copyrighted footage to talk about a recent news development is also satisfactory. 

A related quality is whether the use transforms the copyrighted material. The content creator must add a new meaning to the old footage. Criticism is transformative because it breaks down the techniques of the clip and determines if it is good. 

The nature of the copyrighted work is also important. Non-fictional works receive fewer protections than fictional ones. This is because a non-fictional work lends itself to being quoted more often than fictional material.

The amount of the quoted work is the third main factor. Using a short clip is better than using a long one. But this is not a hard rule, and short excerpts can lead to legal problems. 

The new work must not affect the market for the old one. A content creator who makes a music video for a song is affecting the market for the old one. The musician can make a video if they choose to, and the creator is siphoning off of their fan base. 

Video Editing Techniques 

You can adopt several techniques to avoid a Content ID claim. Try to edit a song as much as possible before uploading it. You can change the pitch or speed to avoid a violation. 

If you must use an unedited clip, keep the clip short. Put something onto the screen that comments on the material you are using. After the clip concludes, comment on it in some way. 

Talking over a clip can help prevent a claim. You should also lower the volume of it so you do not get flagged. 

Script your video in advance. This will help you figure out what to say and reduce your dependency on copyrighted materials. 

At the start of each video, put a copyright notice. Mention that your use of copyrighted material falls under fair use guidelines. You can include a link with descriptions of the guidelines and other pieces of legal advice. 

How to Fight a Claim

If you receive a copyright strike, you have several ways to resolve it. You can wait for the claim to expire after 90 days. You must take a copyright class through YouTube before the expiration period can begin. 

You can get in touch with the person who issued the claim against you. You may be able to work out a solution with them. This may involve re-editing the video, but you will avoid a lawsuit. 

You can submit a counter-notification. This is a good option if you are following fair use guidelines. 

But submitting one involves handing over your contact information and descriptions of your content. You must also write a statement about why the claim was incorrect. 

The person who filed a claim against you can issue an appeal. YouTube may side with the claimant, or they may release your video. 

If one person strikes your channel multiple times, you can advise the claimant on how to whitelist a Youtube channel. This lets them mark your channel as fit to use your copyrighted material. This is very important for anyone looking to review music on YouTube. 

Secure Your Videos

A YouTube copyright claim is the scourge of content creators. A company or individual who feels they have been infringed can issue one. YouTube can automatically issue a Content ID claim if material matches items in their database. 

Fair use protects the use of copyrighted materials in reviews and parodies. You can also use editing techniques to change the copyrighted content.

But your best course of action is to appeal to YouTube. You should also talk to the copyright holder about a solution. 

YouTube copyright guidelines are prone to change. Get the latest information by following our coverage.


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