Until recently, I knew very little about how YouTube deals with copyright violators.
Sure…I’d heard stories from friends & colleagues, but I’d never actually dealt with it firsthand.
Now I have!
For those who aren’t aware, I’m a long-time YouTuber. I set up my first channel in January of 2010 & currently administrate five. Even with 5 channels, I’d never had occasion to post work I didn’t own or, at the very least, have permission to use. A few weeks back, I decided to try something new…a series called “Play Along”. The videos consist of me playing drums to a prerecorded song. Not exactly a revolutionary concept, but it was new for me & sounded like fun!
My original intent was to post each video without the copyrighted audio. That would have avoided the legal quagmire, but it would have made the finished product less interesting. After some deliberation, I decided to roll the dice & include the audio. If nothing else, it would serve as a learning experience.
When I formatted my video, I used an mp3 iTunes version of the audio (song). Typically, mp3s of this type contain tagging which allows the track to be detected on platforms like YouTube. I uploaded the project & classified it as an “unlisted” video. This is standard practice for me. Once I view the upload & verify that it’s intact, I change the classification to “public”. Since it was late, I put that final review off till the next morning.
By the time I logged back on that next day….
· YouTube’s technology had detected my use of the copyrighted material.
· They’d sent me a Gmail notification listing my options.
· My video had been tagged & set up for AD monetization…pending my approval.
Remember, at this point the video was still classified as “unlisted”. I hadn’t even checked the viability of the upload yet. It seems the wheels of progress turn quickly when there’s revenue at stake!
Fortunately for me, this was the outcome I was hoping for. Most of those 2nd hand stories I mentioned earlier described a similar process.
Here’s a copy of that actual YouTube notice…..
Your video has been blocked in some countries.
Copyrighted content was found in your video.
Because of the claimant's policy, this video can't be played in some countries.
· Video blocked in 1 country
· Unavailable on some devices
· Monetized by claimant
· Look Away (Album Version) - The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
· Sound recording
· 0:02 - 3:29
· Blocked in some countries
· When you hover over the “Video blocked in 1 country” statement, it tells you which country…in this case - Germany.
- When you hover over the “Monetized by claimant” statement, this notice appears – “You can use the copyrighted content in your video, but ads might appear on your video.”
- As you can see, the poster is given 3 basic choices:
1. Do nothing, indicating that you agree with the arrangements already negotiated.
2. Remove the copyrighted song
3. File a dispute over the ownership of contested material, in this case the play-along audio track.
* Clicking on the “Learn More” link took me to a page containing this statement –
“Am I in trouble?
· In most cases, getting a Content ID claim isn’t a bad thing for your YouTube channel. It just means, “Hey, we found some material in your video that’s owned by someone else.”
· It’s up to copyright owners to decide whether or not others can reuse their original material. In many cases, copyright owners allow the use of their content in YouTube videos in exchange for putting ads on those videos.”
In the spirit of full disclosure, that page also contained information pertaining to other potential outcomes. Occasionally, the owner of rights can strongly object.
In rare cases, your standing as a YouTube member can be affected…. negatively & permanently.
So…the bottom line is this - doing what I did is a bit of a crap-shoot.
There is a chance it could affect your standing on YouTube.
BUT, the vast majority of the time, you’re likely to get an outcome similar to mine.
In my case it was win-win. They allowed me to use the audio + I gained first-hand knowledge of their procedures.
Once I finally viewed the upload & changed the classification to “public”, I placed this statement in the liner notes…
“The ADs you see here are not mine. The registered owner of "Look Away" chose to allow use of their audio content in exchange for placing ads in my video. Since I had no commercial aspirations for this project anyway, I thought that arrangement was more than fair!”
For anyone interested, here’s a link to the video discussed here. https://youtu.be/VRdqL_UCQz0