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Rules and policies

Copyright

Copyright

The first rule of copyright

Creators should only upload videos that they have made or that they're authorized to use. That means they should not upload videos they didn't make, or use content in their videos that someone else owns the copyright to, such as music tracks, snippets of copyrighted programs, or videos made by other users, without necessary authorizations.

What is Fair Use?

Fair Use is a U.S. law that allows the reuse of copyright-protected material under certain circumstances without getting permission from the copyright owner. However, Fair Use is determined on a case by case basis, and different countries have different rules about when it’s okay to use material without the copyright owner’s permission. In the U.S., works of commentary, criticism, research, teaching, or news reporting might be considered fair use, but it can depend on the situation.

We created the YouTube Audio Library to help Creators re-use content safely by providing free high-quality music and sound effects.

How can rights holders make copyright claims?

Everyone has access to YouTube’s Copyright Management Tools, which gives rights holders control of their copyrighted material on YouTube. We work with rights holders to match them to appropriate features based on the scale of their copyrighted content on YouTube, and the resources they’ve dedicated to responsibly manage their content online. Our Copyright Management Suite provides a number of ways rights holders can make copyright claims.

Webform

The simplest way to have unauthorized copies of copyrighted content removed is by manually submitting a copyright notification through our DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) webform. This tool is best for most users - it is open to everyone, and available in every language.

Copyright Match Tool

The Copyright Match Tool uses the power of Content ID matching technology to find re-uploads of videos on YouTube. Available to over 1,500,000 channels, it identifies near-full reuploads of a Creator’s original videos on other YouTube channels and allows the Creator to choose an action to take: they can request the removal of the video, message the uploader of the video, or simply archive the match if they do not want to take any action. Any user with a demonstrated history of successful DMCA takedowns via our webform can apply for access using our public form.

Content ID

Content ID is our solution for those with the most complex rights management needs. It is our digital fingerprinting system that allows rightholders to upload content they have exclusive rights to as reference files, and then scans videos uploaded to YouTube for matches of that content. When a user uploads content, Content ID scans against the database for matching videos. If there is a match, then an action is taken based on the predefined rules or policies that a content owner sets themselves:

  • Block a whole video from being viewed. Creators do not receive a copyright strike if the content owner blocks a video.
  • Monetize the video by running ads against it; in some cases sharing revenue with the uploader.
  • Track the video's viewership statistics.

In most cases, this means that rights holders don’t need to submit copyright takedowns for these videos and instead have the opportunity to monetize and run ads in exchange for the videos being live.

What action does YouTube take for copyright infringement?

If a copyright owner submits a valid DMCA complaint through our webform, we take down that video and apply a copyright strike. If a user gets three copyright strikes in 90 days, their account, along with any associated channels, will be terminated. We also have tools to help Creators resolve their copyright strikes - including waiting for it to expire after 90 days, requesting a retraction, or submitting a counter notification.

Content ID works differently. If a match between a reference file and a new upload is made, a “claim” is made. Based on the preference selected by the Content ID owner, we’ll apply a policy to track, monetize, or block, but will not issue a copyright strike.

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