When YouTube first launched, it was a different place. Videos were limited to only ten minutes, and a large swath of its content ranged from lyric videos to news clips.
In our time, the scene has changed. YouTube is the home of some of the most downloaded podcasts in the world. People make their living by creating YouTube content.
If you’re considering creating a YouTube channel, it can be a lot of fun and a way to earn some passive income. Before you get started, though, you must understand the relationship between copyright and YouTube.
YouTube follows strict copyright policies; a slip-up in your content could result in its removal. Fortunately, though, we have the tips you need to prevent this from happening! In this article, we’ll outline five essential things you need to know about YouTube and copyright.
1. Copyright and YouTube: Know Who Owns The Copyright
Copyright ownership can be a confusing ordeal, so here’s a helpful way to simplify it. If the content of the video is your original work, you own the copyright. However, if the video content is not your original work, you are not the copyright owner.
Let’s illustrate this point by examining music and YouTube copyright. Since YouTube’s earliest days, lyric videos for songs have been a popular source of content.
Anybody who makes an unofficial music video or lyric video must get permission from the copyright owner. In most cases, this means getting permission from the original recording artist.
While we’re on this subject, let’s clear up a common misconception. Many people think they can evade copyright complications if they attribute the song to the original copyright owner.
Returning to our lyric video example, you may see a lyric video that includes at the start: “I am NOT the creator of this content. The original music and lyrics belong to [insert artist name here] . . .”
While this may be well-intentioned, it doesn’t do the amount of good you might think. If the artist doesn’t permit the video’s maker to use their content, it can still result in copyright infringement.
However, some artists and companies are more lenient with their content than others. Disney Corporation is notorious for its strict copyright claims, for instance.
2. Copyright and Fair Use Law
At this point, you may be squirming in your seat. If copyright is so strict, can you ever use somebody else’s content? The short answer is yes. There are ways that you can use other creator’s content without infringing copyright.
This usage falls under fair use law or fair dealing. This framework allows the legal use or reproduction of content without the copyright owner’s permission.
There are several ways you can operate under fair use law. Some of the more common methods include using content to make a parody or for content reviews.
Several content creators on YouTube make commentary-style videos, analyzing works like movies, TV shows, and music. This kind of content usually navigates the territory between YouTube videos and copyright law with few difficulties.
However, this content does not immunize you from a YouTube copyright dispute. As such, if you must show copyright-owned content, it’s best to do so with clips that last a maximum of thirty seconds.
To learn more about music and fair use policy, check out this article.
3. YouTube and Copyright Strikes
If you’re new to YouTube content creation, you may not have heard of copyright strikes. For many content creators, this is a nightmare to face.
A copyright strike from YouTube on one of your videos means that the platform has removed it from your channel and community. This removal comes in light of a valid legal request from the copyright owner.
Copyright strikes go on your channel’s YouTube account and will remain there permanently. If you receive three copyright strikes, it results in the removal of your channel. To make matters worse, YouTube will also ban you from creating new accounts in the future.
However, you can resolve a YouTube copyright strike. There are two ways to do this. First, you can contact the copyright owner and ask them to retract their infringe claim.
Second, you can fight against an infringement claim if you believe your video qualifies for fair use or was misidentified as a copyright infringement.
4. Content ID Claims
A Content ID claim ranks among the best-case scenarios for YouTube videos and copyright laws. YouTube makes it simple for copyright owners to track down videos that feature their content, which leaves the owner with a few options.
If copyright owners see content they own, they have the option to prevent newly uploaded videos containing that content from becoming available. Many music groups and comedians take this route with videos of live performances.
Similarly, film companies like Warner Bros. would prevent a pirated version of their movies from entering YouTube. However, they may assert their Content ID claim in another way.
If your use of copyrighted material falls under fair use law, a Content ID claim allows the copyright owner to direct advertising revenue to their end. Content ID claims can also work on copyrighted material that the owner doesn’t mind remaining active.
5. Copyright Strike Removal vs. Content ID Claim
Let’s return to our old lyric videos to understand the difference between copyright strikes and Content ID claims. Under a copyright strike, your video gets removed from YouTube and leaves a strike on your record.
Under a Content ID claim, however, your video can remain on YouTube. However, all or some of your revenue may change hands to go to the copyright owner.
Understand The Relationship Between YouTube and Copyright Law
The relationship between copyright and YouTube can be tricky for even the most experienced creators.
However, if you understand these tips, you’re much better off than you are flying into YouTube with no background knowledge. We hope this information helps free you to make quality content that you enjoy.
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