November 14, 2022

Got a copyright claim from Youtube? Follow these steps

Image by Christian Wiediger

With more photographers running Youtube channels as part of their overall business strategy and branding, this discussion is about a very specific aspect of being a YouTube channel owner: understanding copyright claims.

As industry experts in all things copyright-related, we believe it’s worth understanding how YouTube handles copyright claims and hopefully for the user, how to avoid them too.

This article deals with copyright claims, copyright ID claims, and copyright strikes. If you're a YouTube creator or owner of a content channel, you should become familiar with these rules and procedures.

And of course, we have some simple steps in this guide for you to follow to prevent a copyright claim from happening in the first place.

What is a copyright claim on YouTube?

As a photographer, you might not be familiar with the idea of copyright claims on the world’s biggest social media platform. On Youtube, a copyright claim is also known as a Content ID claim. YouTube attaches what is known as a content ID to every piece of content on the platform.

The Content ID is a fully automated application that uses a scanning algorithm to scan the YouTube platform to seek out instances when your content as a digital content creator has been infringed upon. In other words, any piece of music, audio, images, or video has been used by anyone without permission.

A copyright claim on YouTube can refer to either a copyrighted removal request or a content ID claim. The copyright claim is routine on YouTube and other social media platforms. This happens when an individual or a company publishes or uses content without having the express authority to use such content or owning such content.

How do copyright claims on Youtube affect me as a photographer?

You might think it’s ok to use an image from another photographer as part of your video, but there are rules to what you can and can’t use. Fair use can only be used under strict circumstances.

If content is used without the expressive permission of the content owner, it is the owner who decides whether to make a copyright claim or take any other suitable legal action.

Our guide to Fair use images is worth taking a look at if you want to learn more about what constitutes fair use under the law and how you can select the right content for your YouTube channel.

What if I own the content?

As the owner of copyrighted content, you can claim ownership and monetary compensation for the unauthorized use of the content. You can choose to show an ad in the content, and monetary compensation can be paid to the content owner; that's you.

Alternatively, the content owner can take down the content worldwide or in certain countries based on their preferences. That's called a copyright strike. We'll come to that shortly.

YouTube has a complicated mechanism in place whereby each and every piece of content is scanned for copyright violation.

When a copyright violation is detected, the channel's owner is informed of such a violation.

There are important things about copyright claims that you should know about:

  • A copyright claim does not lead to your YouTube channel getting banned.
  • If your channel gets a copyright claim, the copyright holder can claim the revenue you made using the copyrighted content.
  • A copyright owner can insist on putting ads across your video to generate revenue.
  • The copyright owner can restrict your video in certain countries or regions worldwide.
  • The claims are generally video-specific and not channel-specific.
  • If you own the copyright that somebody else is staking a claim on, you can challenge the copyright claim and overturn it.

What's the Difference Between a Copyright Claim and a Copyright Strike?

A copyright claim is when someone asserts that anyone has used the idea or a product concept without explicit permission. On the other hand, the copyright strike is from the original creator of the invention or product making an application for the complete removal of the copyright-protected products or creations from the public domain.

Let's elaborate on this subject.

In the previous section, we have already elaborated on the subject of a copyright claim. In this section, we will elaborate on copyright strikes. Usually, a copyright strike is when the owner of the copyrighted content discovers an infringement of the copyright that they own and strongly objects to it. It usually results in a request to remove the video or the infringing content from YouTube.

If you are the owner of the infringing content, you need to submit a DMCA removal request. The request should include details of the copyright owner, the work that has been infringed on YouTube, and a statement explaining the infringement. YouTube will take the DMCA removal request and send a notification to the infringing party.

If you are unsure of how a DCMA takedown request works, our DCMA takedown guide and template can help make sense of it.

The infringing content will be removed from the platform. The affected channel can, however, respond to the decision by sending a reply within a specific period of time. Alternatively, if they agree to the DMCA removal request, they can simply admit the decision taken by YouTube.

A copyright strike is a much more serious action than a copyright claim, and it can easily lead to your YouTube channel getting banned by YouTube. If your channel gets repeated copyright infringement claims, it is important that you know what your rights are.

How to avoid a copyright claim on YouTube

We often hear this question regularly from creators who are keen on doing the right thing.

And of course, all copyright owners (and particularly photographers) should be aware of where their content is used on social media platforms, especially video platforms where copyright infringement might not be as easy to spot.

What to know: How to avoid copyright infringement and copyright strikes on YouTube

To avoid and prevent being given a copyright strike on Youtube, there are certain aspects of the copyright strike system that you should know as a YouTuber:

  • Unlike a copyright claim, a copyright strike adversely affects your YouTube channel.
  • The owner of copyrighted content can file a DMCA removal notice and completely remove all the content that infringes their copyright.
  • Your ability to monetize videos is affected when you receive a copyright strike.
  • The permission to make live streams from your channel is also rescinded
  • A total of three copyright strikes on your YouTube channel will terminate it eventually, and you will be debarred from opening another YouTube channel in the future.
  • A copyright strike usually expires after three months.

What to do when you receive a Content ID claim against one of your videos

As the content uploader, you have the right to raise a dispute against the copyright claim. Once the copyright claim has been disputed, the rights owner has 30 days to respond to that dispute. they can either:

  • Release the claim if enough evidence has been discovered that the uploader has the necessary permission to use the content.
  • Decide not to react to the dispute claim and let the claim expire.
  • Reject the dispute and uphold the claim because there is enough evidence that the content has been used without permission.
  • Move for a DMCA removal notice. This is the equivalent of submitting a copyright takedown notice. once this is affected, there will be a copyright strike against the channel.

It's to be noted that the content, while it's in dispute, can continue to be active, and revenue can continue to be earned on the content. Except that in the case of the dispute, any revenue earned will be kept in an escrow account and released to the party that wins the dispute.

Also, when the rights owner fails to respond within 30 days, the copyright claim is automatically released and rescinded. However, if the rights owner is to respond within the time mentioned above, the claim and the subsequent restrictions are applied again.

At this stage, the video uploader can again choose to fight the dispute claim, and in that case, the rights owner will again have 30 days to respond to the dispute raised by the video uploader. The restrictions to viewing the video will be reinstated, and so will all the revenue generated go to an escrow account.

Within 30 days, the rights owner can decide to release their claim, file a DMCA removal notice to take down the video completely or raise a delayed takedown notice.  

How does the appeal against a copyright ID claim work?

If you feel that the content ID claim was unfair and that your dispute was mistakenly awarded against you, you can raise an appeal. The Appeal also works similarly to the dispute, except in this case, there is a prior eligibility factor. You can check whether you're eligible to appeal to your channel features page. In case you find yourself ineligible to appeal, you then have to complete a one-time verification process to appeal.

When you appeal, you will have to submit your contact details and make a detailed explanation as to the reason for your Appeal.

Once an appeal has been made, the right owner can choose between three of the following options –

  • They can release the claim, in which case the appeal is successful, and you get to keep the revenue held in escrow.
  • They can let the claim expire. In this case, also get to keep the revenue held in escrow.
  • They can request a takedown of the video. In this case, if the takedown request is valid, your video will be removed from YouTube, and your channel will get a copyright strike.

Don't lose hope yet, as there is still one final thing to do if you believe the takedown notice is unfair. What you can do at this stage is submit a counter-notification.

A counter-notification is a request you're making to YouTube to reinstate the video removed from the platform against a copyright infringement notice. However, note that such a counter-notification can only be done when you're sure that the content you uploaded was removed because of a mistaken identity or incorrect assessment of the content to be infringed.

At this juncture, YouTube will send the counter-notification to the right owner. A total of 10 business days will be given to the rights owner/claimant to respond to the counter-notification. The copyright owner has to respond by notifying YouTube that they have initiated a court action to keep the infringing content suppressed and banned on the YouTube platform. If the copyright claimant fails to notify YouTube that they have initiated a court action, YouTube will reinstate the video.

How do I check if my videos have received a Content ID claim?

  1. Go to the Content tab of your YouTube studio to check the videos affected by a Content ID Claim.
  2. Filter by the Copyright Claim filter to only display the videos affected by a Content ID Claim. Hovering on the restriction column shows up the details of the copyright claim.
  3. Alternatively, you can click on the individual content page and then go to the Copyrights tab to check out details of the copyright claim on that video. The status overview will show up the effects of the copyright claim on your video.

You will also be able to see the content piece that has been claimed. A time code will show up, which will guide you to the exact point where the copyright-claimed content appears on your video and will also show up the effect of the copyright claim on your video.

Please note that if a video of yours has a copyright ID claim, the rights owners can block, monetize or track the video. Although it does not lead to a copyright strike, still for the sake of monetization and ad revenue, this is important.

Is it possible to remove a piece of content, such as audio or sound, from a copyright claim video?

Sometimes a copyright claim is for a piece of audio that has been used in a video. It may also be flagged for a piece of music that has also been used in the video.

If your content piece has received a copyright claim, it is possible to remove the erring part without having to upload a fresh video to your channel. For example, you can mute the sound that's the subject of the digital copyright claim. Alternatively, you can also mute the music that has been used and is now part of a copyright claim.

Is there another option to get around a copyright claim on Youtube?

Although it is not possible at all times for all content ID claims, there are instances when the option is made available. If the content ID claim gives you the option to mute the song or the audio, you will find that in the action section of the video copyright info page. You can choose to mute all sounds when the song plays or alternatively only mute the song to conform with the copyright claim.

It is also possible to replace the original song from your video with a new song taken from the YouTube audio library. That way, you don't have to mute the original track. Just replace the song with a fresh one.

Alternatively, you can also trim out the content using the YouTube editor without having to make a fresh upload to YouTube. All of these steps can be done using the YouTube studio tools.

Once you perform these edits, any copyright ID claim will automatically be removed from your videos, and you will retain the original video URL and all the views intact. This is by far the most non-intrusive method of removing a copyright claim related to audio and music from your videos.

Are you interested in learning more about copyright?

If you liked this article, we encourage you to check out more of our links and resources on the subject.

We publish regular guides and advice to help photographers with copyright infringement issues and image theft. Whether its Youtube, social media in general or monitoring the images on your personal blog - we can help you take care of your rights. Here are some of our favorite links and resources on copyright to help you learn more:

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