What Does Copyright Claim Mean On YouTube?

Any YouTuber will know that creating content is hard work. Sometimes you spend hours looking for that perfect song or clip to add to your video, but the result is always worth it. Sometimes, though, the result is bad news: a copyright claim from YouTube.

This doesn’t always spell disaster, but what does copyright claim mean on YouTube, and is there anything you need to do about it? 

A YouTube copyright claim is an automated response from YouTube’s Content ID tool that has flagged video clips, audio, or images as copyrighted. This video may be blocked from viewing, monetized for the copyright owner, or tracked for the video’s viewership statistics.

When you upload a video to YouTube, if it has any copyrighted content in it, it may receive a copyright claim. Knowing what a copyright claim is and what it means will help you know what to do next.

Below you will find all the copyright claim information you need and how to navigate YouTube’s Content ID tool.

Google, the owners of YouTube, notes that a copyright claim is an automatically generated Content ID claim. Content ID is the name of the tool used to scan and find copyright claims on new video uploads.

If a new upload has content that matches another video, or part of that video, a copyright claim is issued on the new video.

As the name ‘copyright claim’ implies, it is a claim on the new video that copyright exists on all or part of the new video.

Because money and expertise have gone into producing the original video, it is the right of the original creator to protect or at least be aware of where their content is being used and decide what to do about it.

How the copyright owner has set their preferences on the Content ID will determine what happens to the new video. One of three things may happen when Content ID identifies a copyright claim on a new video:

  1. The new video may be blocked from being viewed.
  2. The copyright owner may monetize the new video. In rare cases, the revenue may be shared between the original owner and the new video uploader.
  3. YouTube may track the video’s viewership for the original owner.

No one can access and watch the video if the video is blocked. Neither you nor your subscribers will be able to watch it.

In the case of a monetized video, your subscribers will still be able to watch it, but you will not be able to monetize it yourself.

Also, note that any of these three things can be location specific.

A YouTube video that has a copyright claim may be blocked and tracked in one country or region and not in another.

The same goes for a video that is monetized.

copyright stamp

Because Content ID is an automated digital right management tool, you and the rights holder will automatically receive a notification of infringement.

If you have put the copyrighted material in your video without knowing it, deleting the upload, editing out the copyrighted material from the video, and uploading it again will fix the problem.

Once it is removed, there is nothing to worry about.

If you want to keep the copyrighted material in your video, you will need to be aware that the copyright rights holder has the right to impose one of the three actions above: block, monetize, or track your video.

Consider the following when you receive a copyright claim notice on a YouTube video:

  • A copyright claim will not have a negative impact on your YouTube Channel.
  • A copyright claim only applies to that video. All other videos on your YouTube Channel will not be affected.
  • A copyright claim that has been made in error can be overturned.

Take note that because you have used someone else’s content, they have a right to do the following things with the new video:

  • Claim the revenue generated for the video that uses their content.
  • Place ads on your video to generate new revenue.
  • Restrict or remove your video in some countries and regions.

In some cases, the copyright holder will not take any action, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Be careful; your channel may be banned if you get too many copyright claims.

It is not always bad news when a copyright claim happens on a YouTube video. 

The owners of the copyright have invested time and money into the creation and production of their content. They have a right to decide how and where that content is used.

If you view the copyright claim as recognition of someone else’s work and that you are paying them their dues from monetized videos, or if you accept that if they block a video, it is their right to do so, then you will not see a copyright claim as a bad thing.

man editing a video on a computer

YouTube’s Content ID tool is usually accurate. There are some cases, however, where it gets it wrong. If you know without a doubt that your content is 100% original, you can dispute the copyright claim.

Be aware, however, that while the dispute is being resolved, the copyright claim will stand. If the video has been blocked, it will not be made available until the dispute is resolved.

The following happens when you receive a copyright claim on one of your YouTube videos:

You will receive a copyright claim notice from YouTube by email, sent to the primary email address listed on your YouTube Channel.

  • A notice will be placed on your YouTube Channel Studio Dashboard notifying you of the copyright claim.
  • The preferences of the rights holder will be applied to the video instead of your preferences.

A copyright claim and a copyright strike are not the same.

A copyright claim on a YouTube video warns the uploader that someone has a claim to part of the content in the new video. In extreme cases, the video is blocked, but YouTube does not take it down.

Usually, the preferences of the rights holder will be imposed on your video, or monetizing the video for yourself will be disabled as the copyright holder will collect it. However, it will still be there for others to view.

A copyright strike is far more serious. If a copyright infringement has been identified, YouTube will delete the video.

Too many copyright strikes on your channel, and YouTube may delete your channel and ban your account.

banned sign on a laptop

A copyright claim on YouTube means that someone else has a claim on some (or all) video content.

Because they claim some of the copyright as their property, they may choose to block the video altogether, monetize or run adverts on your video or track the video to see how it performs to give the copyright owner the option to monetize or block it later.

A content claim will not negatively affect your YouTube channel unless you plan on monetizing the video.

In most cases, removing copyrighted content from the video will fix the problem.

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