Manage your copyright online
As a copyright owner, get the tools to manage your content, find videos with matching content, and apply the right policies to control your content.
Protect your copyright on YouTube
Fans from around the world come to YouTube to watch their favorite content, whether it’s Psy showing his iconic dance moves in “Gangnam Style” or Life Noggin answering questions such as “Why Do We Cry?” YouTube’s tools help our partners and creators share digital content with a massive audience while exercising control over their intellectual property.
YouTube has actively worked with government policymakers, industry representatives, and creators to protect individual expression and intellectual property. We’ve also invested heavily in technologies like Content ID to support rights management across our platform. Since being launched, Content ID has generated over $2 billion to rightsholders.
As a business on YouTube, to open up opportunities for maximizing your revenue, you’ll want to devote sufficient resources to copyright management. By doing so, you can protect your intellectual property and (if you have access to Content ID) effectively monetize user-generated content that uses your copyrighted material.
Distinguish Content ID claims from copyright takedowns
Copyright owners have several recourses to handle infringing content on YouTube. If you have Content ID enabled for your business, we recommend completing the "Rights enforcement with Content ID" course.
Content ID claims
Content ID is an industry-leading copyright technology that provides rightsholders with new ways to manage and monetize their content on YouTube. Launched in 2007, Content ID compares videos uploaded to the site with reference files provided by rightsholders. Think of this as a digital fingerprint that Content ID derives from a source and then compares against potential matches.
When a video matches a source, it is “claimed”, and rightsholders can choose to make money from it; leave it up and track viewing statistics; or block it from YouTube. The majority of partners monetize their claims, but if you choose to block, we immediately block the video from being viewed and alert the uploader.
YouTube complies with notices of copyright infringement pursuant to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and in line with the notice-and-takedown provisions of applicable national law. DMCA takedowns are formal, legal requests that require specific elements in order to be complete and actionable. The fastest way to do this is via our webform. We also accept free-form copyright infringement notifications, submitted by email, fax, and mail.
Remember to verify your rights and consider factors such as fair use or fair dealing before submitting a copyright takedown notification. You must include your contact information, signature, video URL, and other specific elements with your notification.
Note: In accordance with copyright law, we require complete copyright notifications for each removal request. If we receive a valid infringement notification, we remove the video from YouTube and issue a “copyright strike” to the uploader. Users who receive three strikes may have their accounts terminated.
Methods to manage copyright on YouTube
Content ID claim
You apply for access to the tool You must be signed in to complete the webform Scans an unlimited number of videos 10 URL limit per complaint Immediate enforcement of policy Quick removal per DMCA/notice-and-takedown process No copyright strike for user
Copyright strike for user
While YouTube has a robust system for processing takedown requests, it's your responsibility to use the system correctly. Only initiate a copyright takedown when you have a good faith belief that the use of the material is not authorized by the copyright owner, agent, or law. Misuse of the process may result in account suspension or legal consequences.
Content ID is designed to streamline rights management, but you should always operate within the scope of your rights. For example, if you’ve licensed news footage for a documentary video, you may be able to share that video on YouTube, but not claim other videos that have licensed the same footage. Abusive or fraudulent claims may result in penalties including legal liability and termination of partnership.
Did you know?
- YouTube has paid out more than $2 billion to rightsholders who have chosen to monetize claims for user-uploaded videos.
- Our Content ID system won an Engineering Emmy in 2013, cited as a “unique achievement that operates at unparalleled scale.”
Evaluate disputes and counter-notifications
If a video on YouTube has been claimed through Content ID or removed due to a copyright takedown, the uploader should assess who has the appropriate rights (or whether it’s a legitimate case of fair use). When copyrighted material was included without explicit permission, the uploader may delete the video or seek to license the content from the rightsholder.
However, if the uploader has sufficient rights (or believes the video qualifies as fair use), they may choose to contest a Content ID claim or copyright takedown by filing a dispute or counter notification, respectively.
Claim disputes and next steps
Content ID claims can be disputed by the video uploader, from the “Copyright Notices” section.
- Disputes a Content ID claim
- Temporarily suspends the claim
The claimant (who owns the Content ID asset) is notified of the dispute, and can take one of three actions. If no action is taken within 30 days, the claim is released.
- Releases the claim
- Makes the claim inactive
- Reinstates the claim
- Makes the claim active again
- Issues a takedown
- Removes the video
For a summary of the entire dispute process, including appeals, read here.
Counter notifications and next steps
Counter notifications for takedowns must be submitted by the video’s original uploader or an authorized agent such as an attorney, using the webform in the “Copyright Notices” section.
- Submits a counter notification
- Forwards information to the claimant
Once a counter notification is initiated, the claimant (who filed the copyright takedown) will have 10 business days to seek a court order to keep the content down. If YouTube doesn’t receive evidence of action filed, we’ll restore the content and resolve the strike after the 10 business day window has elapsed.
- Retract the takedown
- Restores the video on YouTube
- File a court order
- Keeps the content off YouTube
For a summary of the entire counter-notification process, including retractions, read here.
Did you know?
- Retracting a copyright takedown will restore the video on YouTube if it hasn’t been deleted by the uploader, and remove the associated copyright strike on the uploader’s account.
- If a claimant doesn’t respond to a Content ID claim dispute within 30 days, the claim will expire and become inactive.
- If an uploader appeals a Content ID claim you reinstated, you have several options as the content owner, including issuing a delayed copyright takedown.
Stay clear of copyright violations
Copyright infringement—violating any of the exclusive rights granted by copyright—can have serious consequences. On YouTube, partners get one “partner strike” for every copyright strike issued to a managed channel. Repeated violations may result in suspension of your YouTube partnership.
From a legal perspective, if found guilty of copyright infringement, someone can receive substantial fines (up to $150,000 per work infringed in the U.S.). Violations of copyright law can result in other civil or criminal remedies. For these reasons, it’s essential to educate your teams about copyright and YouTube’s policies.
As a business, you may have many channels that roll up under your purview. To avoid accumulating partner strikes, consider how you select channels to ensure they pose a minimal risk, and think about what internal controls you can have in place on your channels. Partners may explore counter notices or retractions if the strikes were issued in error.
Because copyright can be complex, we encourage our community to understand the rules. For copyright owners and creators, abiding by these rules can help prevent conflicts and enable a positive experience on YouTube.
Did you know?
As a content manager, you can see a rollup of your partner strikes.