As a YouTube creator, you’ve mostly likely heard about the terms “copyright claims” and “copyright strikes”. Maybe you’ve even gotten one on your YouTube video and you’ve been wondering, what does copyright claim mean on YouTube? Good news, by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll have a perfect understanding of what a copyright claim or copyright strike is, and, and how to ensure your videos remain claim-free in the future.
What Is a Copyright Claim?
Copyright is the legal right that the creators of original works exercise in how their work is distributed, used, and monetized. This original work can be any form of creative work; from literary works to images, and even YouTube videos.
With that said, copyright claims are notifications you get when you upload a video featuring a copyrighted work without the authorization of the original creator. The copyrighted work could be audio from a really awesome song, a video clip, or any content that isn’t available for public use. But this notification of copyright infringement doesn’t just appear.
You get them only when the copyright holder chooses to make a claim; they may also issue a takedown request on the video. If you get takedown notices, you’ll have to remove the video completely.
Copyright claims are under the umbrella of Copyright Law. As such, if your usage of the copyrighted material falls under fair use, you may not receive a claim. However, the fair use policy is tricky, and it’s probably best to stick to originality in your works.
Usually, when a copyright owner issues a claim on your video, YouTube sends you an email and a notification in your YouTube studio dashboard.
Now, let’s dive into copyright ownership.
Who Are Copyright Owners?
A copyright owner on YouTube is any creator who has uploaded original content, or any other form of intellectual property published on YouTube. If you’re a copyright owner, you can take official legal action whenever someone uses your work without your authorization.
Copyright owners on YouTube use an automated system called Content ID to manage their copyrighted content. So if you’re using this system as a copyright owner, it scans videos across YouTube to find any copy of your copyright-protected content. If there’s a match, it issues a Content ID claim to the infringing content. Depending on your Content ID setting, the Content ID claim will yield any of the following outcomes:
- Block videos with infringing content,
- Monetize by creating community posts,
- Monetize videos and earn money from ad revenue,
- Track the video’s views.
If you’re on the offense side, whatever the action will be (of all the three above) depends solely on the owner of the copyrighted material.
You’ll find out more about what each of these three actions means for your YouTube channel later. But first, let’s clear the air about copyright strikes and copyright claims.
Is a Copyright Claim the Same as a Copyright Strike?
In short, no they are not the same. Then what’s the difference?
Copyright claims are a consequence of the Content ID policy. A copyright strike, on the other hand, happens when the copyright owner submits (manually) a legal request to YouTube to remove the video that has the copyrighted material.
A copyright strike is more “brutal” than a copyright claim because it can affect your entire channel. Copyright claims only affect the particular video with the content causing the copyright infringement, so your channel will remain in perfectly good standing on YouTube.
Now, what exactly are the consequences of copyright claims on YouTube?
For YouTubers: What Does Copyright Claim Mean on YouTube?
Now you have an idea of the effect of getting a copyright claim on YouTube channels. Remember earlier we stated that when copyright owners apply Content ID claims, it can either block, monetize or track the viewership statistics of the video that has received the claim.
Here are a few great resources that show what that means individually for your video and the channel.
What a Copyright Claim on Your Video Means
A copyright claim on your video means that the rights owner can control the viewership of the video in certain areas, they can monetize the video while it remains up on your channel, or they can simply watch the performance of the video and take action at a later date.
What a Copyright Claim Means for Your Channel
Copyright claims don’t affect your channel, just the video that was issued the claim. In some rare cases like for repeat offenders, a claim can become a strike in which case it affects the channel.
What Copyright Claims on YouTube Mean for Your Views
The copyright owner can control the countries, devices, and websites where your videos can appear. If this happens, you’ll get fewer views on the video because of the restriction.
What a Copyright Claim Means for Your Monetization Eligibility
With a copyright claim on a particular YT video, you can keep making money from other videos on your channel.
The rights holder may, however, choose to collect a part or all the revenue from the video with the copyright claim. This is a pretty fair deal considering what could happen in worst-case scenarios.
How to Handle a YouTube Copyright Claim with the Copyright Owner
When you get a copyright claim on your video, there are different ways you can handle the situation. You can decide to dispute the claim, replace the copyrighted content, or do nothing and let the copyright owner collect advertising revenue on the video.
If you decide to dispute the claim, the copyright owner must respond within 30 days. There are four major ways they can respond to your claim;
- They could let go of the claim if you provide sufficient evidence to show that you have permission to use the content. For example, you can provide a reference to your license agreement if you have any.
- The copyright owner may decide to let the claim expire by not responding to your dispute.
- If you don’t have proof that you have permission to use the copyrighted content, the rights owner may decide to reject the dispute.
- The worst thing the copyright owner can do is submit a takedown request. When this happens, you get a takedown notice which can earn you a copyright strike that affects your YouTube channel.
What to Do When You’re Issued a Copyright Takedown Notice
When you get a takedown notice, you can choose one of two options:
- Accept the strike and face the consequences, or
- Issue a counter-notice.
The problem with the second option is that if things go south, the copyright owner may take legal action where you’ll be required to pay a fine which can get up to $150,000.
Can a Copyright Claim Be False?
Anyone with access to YouTube’s Content ID system can make a false claim on any content. A person who does this is called a copyright troll. So yes, you can get a false claim on your videos.
Dealing with a false copyright claim can get a little difficult because you may have to go through the normal route of disputing and probably lose. But you can consult an attorney to help with the case or involve the authorities if it’s a case of extortion.
Sometimes, you may accidentally get a claim from legitimate companies even when you’ve been licensed by a licensing company to use their copyrighted content. In this case, the claim can be proven false depending on the evidence you provide.
5 Steps to Dispute a Copyright Claim on YouTube
Here are five simple steps you need to dispute a copyright claim on your video:
- Sign into YouTube Studio and click Content from the left menu
- Look for the video with the copyright claim and click on the claim.
- Search for Copyright claims using the filter bar and click on it.
- You’ll find a Restrictions column. Move your cursor over the Copyright claim in the column and click See Details
- Then click Actions and select Dispute.
If your video qualifies for fair use and you succeed in countering a claim, you need to be able to avoid future copyright claims.
How to Avoid Getting Copyright Claims on YouTube
Now that we’ve fully answered the question “What does copyright claim mean on YouTube?” it’s essential you also learn the essentials that will help you avoid copyright violation claims on the platform.
Upload Original Content
If your channel features your own copyrighted content, such as the master recording of your audio, you’ll be the one protected by the copyright law and you’ll be safe from claims.
Use Stock Music
Don’t use copyrighted audio content. People who issue claims are either record labels or a signed record deal where the singer owns rights to the song’s composition. Stick to free-stock music in the YouTube audio library or license music from a music catalog or production music library instead of an actual recording.
Get Sync Licensing
A sync license is a contract that lets you use a song copyright-free in your video. In the contract, the music company or record label would have agreed to exchange the song copyright-free for a fee. As long as you keep your end of the contract, you’ll be free to use the song as the contract states. Sometimes, there are expensive license fees required. But it’s better to pay to avoid copyright infringement.