If you are fairly new to being a YouTuber, you have probably heard of how dangerous a copyright strike can be. However, you may not know what a copyright strike actually is and how to avoid them.
A copyright strike on YouTube is when YouTube takes down content that infringes on another person’s copyright. YouTube does this in order to stay in compliance with copyright laws and to protect people’s property. If a YouTuber receives 3 strikes, they will be prohibited from having a channel.
Here’s a closer look at copyright strikes and how to avoid them.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act
With the advent of computers and the internet, new laws were created in order to protect copyrights that were quickly becoming vulnerable. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was created in 1998 in order to address the ways that copyrighted materials could be shown in the digital world.
The DMCA holds website creators responsible for any amount of copyright infringement on their site. It also drastically raised the penalties for breaking any copyright laws. When YouTube was created and began to grow popular, it had to make policies that aggressively protected copyrights and other property laws.
The most common way that YouTube protects copyright and intellectual property is by scanning videos that are posted for copyright. If a video that you upload contains music that you do not own, for example, your video will be flagged for breaching copyright laws and you will not be able to post it with the music. People can also flag your YouTube video for Copywrite infringement.
The DMCA extends to virtually every source of copyright, from branding to movies to even games. YouTube finds videos that are breaking copyright laws by having bots trawl through video content and by accepting complaints from owners of copyrights when their content is being used unlawfully. If your videos are found to be breaking copyright laws, you could face some real problems.
YouTube Strike Policy
When YouTube finds a video that is infringing on copyrights, that video is immediately taken down and the creator of the video receives a copyright strike. Before they will be able to make any new videos, they must watch a tutorial that explains the rules about copyrights and how to avoid them. This video is followed by a short quiz to help youtube content creators to digest the information and avoid further strikes.
If a YouTuber receives three copyright strikes on their videos, YouTube’s policy is that the content creator’s channels will all be removed from YouTube and all of their videos will be taken down. Furthermore, their account will suffer a permanent penalty for copyright infringement, and that user will not be able to create any more YouTube channels.
Being banned from making YouTube channels can mean the death of a career for many YouTubers. Because of the severity of the punishment, many content creators can get very frustrated by YouTube’s policies, especially because many copyright strikes are made on videos that are not actually infringing on a copyright. Generally, YouTube’s policy is to almost always take the side of the copyright holder if they request that a video be taken down- even if the video wasn’t breaking any copyright laws.
Some copyright holders are ruthless when it comes to protecting their copyright, often demanding strikes against YouTubers that review their products negatively or that have any amount of copyrighted material in them, even when the YouTubers are using that content under the context of fair use. Some companies in particular, such as Nintendo, are notorious for their history of asking for strikes on streamers that play or review their games.
How to Avoid a Strike
If you are a YouTuber that makes videos that require you to have a fair amount of copyrighted material in them, it is understandable that you might be concerned about receiving copyright strikes. Thankfully, there are many things that you can do to avoid getting a strike and having your channel taken down.
The most important thing that you can do to avoid a copyright strike is to know what your rights are. While the DMCA is a powerful asset for copyright holders, it does allow for the use of copyrighted material in the right circumstances. As long as you know what is and what isn’t allowed in your YouTube videos, you will be able to use copyrighted material to develop your channel.
The most common way to use copyrighted material is to use it in the context of fair use. Fair use allows for the manipulation of copyrighted materials as long as the use follows specific guidelines. The copyrighted material must be used for the good of public interest, it must be used in a fair and sustainable amount, and it must not devalue the original work. Using short clips or shots from a movie in your film review, for example, is allowed under fair use policies.
Parodies of copyrighted materials are also generally allowed under fair use laws. Satire can also often get by, though it is more likely to get flagged. Thankfully, a lot of the material that you might want to use falls under the public domain. You can find out if the content is in the public domain by checking online before you include it in a video.
Aside from using copyrighted material under the context of fair use or that is in the public domain, you can also simply get permission from the owner of the copyright to use their content. Many smaller content creators would love publicity for their music, for example, and would happily allow you to use what they have made.
Though there are plenty of legal ways to use copyrighted material, you still might be at risk of receiving a copyright strike from youtube. Try to keep your use of copyrighted material to a minimum while staying aware of how copyright holders want their property to be used. As long as you stay within your rights, you should be free to make whatever kind of videos you want to.