Copyright Infringements Protection on YouTube

Videos, songs, movies, novels, poetry, photographs, choreography, artwork, computer software, and architecture are some of the original creations protected by copyright. A work is protected by copyright the moment it is created and fixed in any tangible medium of expression. So the simple reality is this: If you created and uploaded a video to YouTube, the copyright belongs to you. The copyright is born with the creation, and it does not need to be registered to exist.


The creator’s exclusive rights to the work may be assigned to a publisher or other business. As more than one person may be involved in the creative work, some copyright-protected creations have more than one copyright owner. From the moment the work is protected by copyright, it is illegal for anyone to violate the exclusive rights of the copyright owner(s).


What is YouTube copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement, also referred to as piracy, is the violation of someone’s copyright by use of works protected by copyright law without the permission of the copyright holder. As a platform for video sharing online, YouTube’s content is generated by users who may violate copyrights, whether intentionally or not.

In the U.S.A. this refers to U.S. Copyright Law which prohibits the infringement of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights. To comply with the law, YouTube may take down infringing content from its platform. In June 2019, the EU adopted the Directive on Copyright. Article 17 of the directive (Draft Article 13) deals with “Use of protected content by online content-sharing service providers,” and it makes companies like YouTube liable for copyrighted content.  These companies are expected to employ measures to prevent users from infringing copyrights. In spite of being controversial, Article 17 was adopted as part of the Directive, and individual member states were given two years to enact it.


How to report copyright infringement on YouTube?

If you’re certain that your copyright was violated, and you’re wondering how to report copyright infringement YouTube, you can use the platform’s copyright removal webform. According to YouTube’s website, the YouTube infringement notification must include the following information:

  1. Your contact information
  2. A description of the copyrighted content
  3. The specific URL of the video you believe infringes your rights
  4. Include the statements provided by YouTube
  5. Your signature


How to avoid copyright infringement on YouTube?

Avoiding copyright infringement on YouTube can be a simple matter: If you created something that is completely yours, you own the copyright.

If you use somebody else’s copyright, such as a video, song, composition, etc. you need to get their permission, often for a fee.

There are some common misconceptions regarding copyright infringement. One is that attribution absolves copyright violations. The truth is that even if you give credit to the creator you are still in violation of copyright laws. This can earn you a strike and a block of the content by YouTube.

Another misconception is that it’s OK to use someone else’s content if you are not trying to make money out of it. This is not true since your intention does not affect copyright law.

One more common misconception is that it’s allowed to use copyrighted content if you keep it short. This is not true, and there is no time limit that makes it OK to use somebody else’s copyrighted creation without their consent.


How to use a song without copyright infringement?

There are steps to be taken to ensure that you use a song on YouTube without infringing on copyrights. The same goes for using a video.

  1. Check if the work requires permission.
  2. If it does, find who owns the copyright.
  3. Identify the rights that you need so you can use the song.
  4. Contact the owner(s) and submit a request.
  5. Get approval. This is normally a quote with the license fee.
  6. Get the permission contract in writing and keep it in your files.

Songs written in collaboration have multiple copyright owners and you must make sure to get permission from all of them.


What is fair use?

Fair use is a defense against a copyright infringement claim since it allows for the use of a copyrighted work without permission. Fair use is basically any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose. What is a “transformative” use? This doesn’t have one clear definition, but general guidelines and court decisions. To transform a copyright-protected content you need to make it your own. This can be done if you break it down, comment on it, change its meaning, modify it, and make it into a new expression.

The U.S. Copyright Act (Section 107) lists criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research as examples of fair use. For YouTube content, fair use generally falls under commentary, criticism, or parody. This is true for a lot of the popular content on the platform, such as playthroughs and memes. Similar exceptions exist in article 17 of the EU’s directive, regarding content generated by users on online content-sharing services.

Having said that, fair use is not a clear-cut. Although complicated, if what you uploaded is not judged as falling within the limits of fair use, there will be consequences.


What are the consequences of copyright infringement on YouTube?

YouTube acts to protect intellectual property. It may block or take down an infringing content, yet it also allows right holders to choose a different option.

Takedown notice: If a copyright owner sends YouTube a complaint, YouTube looks into it and if it’s finds a violation, it takes down the infringing content.

Content ID Match: Content ID is an automated system used by YouTube to match original content submitted by content owners against new content uploaded to the site. To use the system, copyright owners who meet specific criteria can upload the original versions of their works, called reference files, that prove their intellectual property rights.

In case of a Content ID Match, your video on YouTube gets a Content ID claim by the owner of the copyright-protected material. Copyright owners can decide what happens to the content that matches a work they own. They can block the video in some or all territories.  They can also allow it to remain and monetize it (in some cases, you may be able to share this revenue with the copyright owner).

A copyright takedown includes a copyright strike. If you get three strikes, that’s it, and what you uploaded to YouTube will be deleted permanently. There are two types of strikes: community guideline strikes and copyright strikes. The latter refers to a video that includes content that belongs to someone else and is uploaded without permission.


What can I do if I get a claim?

If you agree with the claim, you can just accept the consequences. Other options are to trim out the claimed content, remove or swap it. For example, if the claim is about an audio song on your video, you can trim it out, mute the song if available, remove it from the existing video or change it to another song, often using YouTube editor. If the video is not blocked, you can share the revenue with the rights holder.

In case you believe the takedown was due to a fraudulent claim or a mistake, you can submit a counter notification. You may also use it if you believe you have fair use defense, although this can only be determined by a judge.

Wiser Choices

YouTube continues to improve its copyright detection in video, music, and pictures. With the goal of intellectual property protection and compliance with the law, it provides copyright owners with ways to claim their content. There are times, however, that the YouTube copyright protection system raises content dilemmas and an expert’s advice.

If you need help protecting your intellectual property on YouTube or anywhere online, Wiser Market is an online brand protection agency that uses state-of-the-art monitoring system and a dedicated team of experts to analyze the best course of action and protect your intellectual property.

Our effective online brand protection strategy defends your intellectual property, revenue, and reputation, resulting in an over 90% success rate.


Is Your Brand protected? Contact us for a FREE brand review




Are YouTube videos copyrighted?

YouTube videos are copyrighted to the person who created and then uploaded them to YouTube.


What are YouTube copyright infringement rules?

The basic rules are that you should only upload content that you created or that you have permission to use. In some cases, you don’t need permission due to fair use doctrine. Otherwise, your content may result in a copyright violation.


Is it copyright infringement to use instrumentals on YouTube?

You can use instrumentals on YouTube and it’s not copyright infringement if you get permission from the copyright holder. It’s illegal to distribute copyrighted content of which you are not the intellectual property rights owner if you don’t have a license, whether you monetize it or not.


Is composition copyrighted?

 A song has two copyrights. The first is the composition itself. When the song or composition is recorded, the sounds on the recording are also copyrighted. In a cover recording of a song (in which the words, melody, and chords are recognizable) the composition is still copyrighted.


Is it copyright infringement to make a cover of a song on YouTube?

When you include a song or any musical composition on YouTube, you need a permission from the owners of the copyright in the song.

This is true even if it’s your own recording.


How to report a copyright infringement on YouTube?

If you believe your copyright was violated and you want to report a YouTube video for copyright infringement, the best way would be to look at the YouTube system to combat copyright infringement, starting with the Copyright Complaint Form.


How to report a YouTube video for copyright infringement?

Use YouTube Help to submit a copyright complaint if your copyrighted work was uploaded without authorization. Try to make sure that the work does not fall under an exception to copyright, mainly fair use.


What is fair use on YouTube?

Fair use means that you can use copyrighted content under certain circumstances without getting permission from the copyright owner. Fair use on YouTube usually falls into one of the following categories:

Commentary: Using copyrighted material to comment on it and illustrate your point.

Criticism: Uploading a review, such as of music or game, is fair use.

Parody: Using copyrighted content in a humorous way for purposes such as social commentary.

However, fair use is not easy to determine. According to the U.S. Copyright Act (Section 107), factors to be considered include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

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