Until recently, I knew very little about how YouTube deals with copyright violators. Sure…I’d heard stories from friends & colleagues, but I’d never actually dealt with it firsthand. Now I have!
For those who aren’t aware, I’m a long-time YouTuber. I set up my first channel back in January of 2010 & currently administrate a total of five. Even with 5 channels, I’d never had occasion to post work I didn’t own, or have permission to use. A few weeks back, I decided to try something new.….a playlist series called “Play Along”. The videos consist of me playing drums to a prerecorded song. Not exactly a revolutionary concept! You’ll find countless examples this type of thing already on YouTube. But….it was new for me & it sounded like fun!
My original intent was to post each video without the play-along song. That would have avoided the whole copyright quagmire, but it also had an unintended consequence. It made the finished product much less interesting! After some deliberation, I decided to roll the dice. If nothing else, it could serve as a learning experience.
When I formatted my video, I used an mp3 iTunes version of the audio (song). Typically, mp3s of this type contain tagging which allows the track to be detected on platforms like YouTube. I uploaded my project & classified it as an “unlisted” video. This is standard practice for me. Once I view the upload & verify that it’s intact, I change the classification to “public”. It was late, so I put that final review off till the next morning.
By the time I logged back on the next day….
- The legal owner had already detected my use of his song
- Reported the violation to YouTube
- Decided what options to offer me
- Tagged & set up my video for AD monetization
Keep in mind, at this point, my video was still classified as “unlisted”. I hadn’t even checked the upload yet! It seems the wheels of progress turn quickly when there’s revenue at stake! Fortunately for me, this was the outcome I had hoped for. Most of those 2nd hand stories I mentioned earlier had described a similar process. Below is a copy of the actual notice that YouTube/Google attached to my video…..
Your video has been blocked in some countries.
Copyrighted content was found in your video.
Because of the claimant's policy, this video can't be played in some countries.
· Video blocked in 1 country
· Unavailable on some devices
· Monetized by claimant
If you agree with these conditions, you don't have to do anything.
· Look Away (Album Version) - The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
· Sound recording
· 0:02 - 3:29
· Blocked in some countries
· Remove Song
· File a Dispute
Additional details about original version of the notice:
- When you hover over the “Video blocked in 1 country” statement, it tells you which country…in this case - Germany.
- When you hover over the “Monetized by claimant” statement, this notice appears – “You can use the copyrighted content in your video, but ads might appear on your video.”
- As you can see, the poster is given 3 basic choices:
1. Do nothing, indicating that you agree with the arrangements already negotiated.
2. Remove the copyrighted song
3. File a dispute over the ownership of contested material, in this case the play-along audio track.
Clicking on the “Learn More” link took me to a page containing this statement –
“Am I in trouble?
· In most cases, getting a Content ID claim isn’t a bad thing for your YouTube channel. It just means, “Hey, we found some material in your video that’s owned by someone else.”
· It’s up to copyright owners to decide whether or not others can reuse their original material. In many cases, copyright owners allow the use of their content in YouTube videos in exchange for putting ads on those videos.”
In the spirit of full disclosure, that page also contains information pertaining to other potential outcomes. Occasionally, the owner of rights can strongly object. In some of those cases, your standing as a YouTube member can be affected….both negatively & permanently.
So, the bottom line seems to be this….doing what I did is a bit of a crap-shoot! There is a chance it could affect your standing on YouTube and more. BUT….the majority of the time, you’ll probably get an outcome similar to what I got here. For me it was win-win. They’re allowing me to use the audio and I gained first-hand knowledge of YouTube’s procedures for handling breach of copyright.
When I changed the video classification to “public”, I added this statement in the liner notes……
***The ADs you see here are not mine. The registered owner of "Look Away" chose to allow use of their audio content in exchange for placing ads in my video. Since I had no commercial aspirations for this project anyway, I thought that arrangement was more than fair!
For anyone interested, here’s the video that brought about this learning experience - https://youtu.be/VRdqL_UCQz0