How to Comply with Copyright on YouTube 

If you’re a creator on YouTube, you may not like the platform’s use of copyright strikes. But you still need to understand them. The stakes are too big to ignore. How big? Three copyright strikes can get you banned from the platform. 

It may sound harsh, but YouTube isn’t trying to stifle your creativity. The company, like all social media companies, must balance the needs of creators with the rights of copyright holders. YouTube published its first Copyright Transparency Report in 2021, and it will release an updated report every six months.

Copyright rules are here to stay. And if you plan to stick around as a YouTube creator, you need to follow them. Here, we’ll give you the scoop on copyright strikes, their consequences, and affordable ways to avoid them.


Content ID Claim vs Copyright Strike

When digging into YouTube’s copyright rules, you hear two terms used frequently: content ID claim and copyright strike. It’s important to understand the differences between them, so let’s start there. 

Content ID Claim

A content ID claim is less serious than a copyright strike, but it’s about 50 times more common. It’s automatically generated when part of a video you upload matches copyrighted work in YouTube’s database. If you think the claim was made in error, you can dispute it. 

If the claim is valid, the copyright holder is entitled to do one of the following: 

  • block your video, which can be specific to a certain region
  • share the video’s ad revenue with you 
  • track the view count (in case they wish to block or revenue share at a later date)

When you’ve invested time and effort into your video, none of these options are desirable. But there’s a bit of good news. A content ID claim doesn’t result in a copyright strike, channel suspension, or channel termination.


Copyright Strike 

A copyright strike can result when a copyright owner submits a takedown request. In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act governs copyright on platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, and TikTok. Other countries have similar laws governing online copyright.

When YouTube receives a copyright takedown request, it determines whether it’s valid. If it is, YouTube removes your video and slaps you with a copyright strike. And let’s be clear. Receiving a copyright strike is a big deal – certainly bigger than a content ID claim. 


Consequences of a Copyright Strike

If it’s your first copyright strike, you’re required to complete YouTube’s Copyright School. This involves watching a video and successfully completing a quiz. With your first strike, the goal isn’t to punish you. It’s to inform you. 

The consequences for your second copyright strike become more severe. At this point, it can affect your ability to monetize your channel. For a creator who’s using the platform as a full-time gig or a part-time hustle, that’s a tough financial penalty. If you use live streams, you’re banned from live streaming for seven days. 

If you rack up three copyright strikes, you can say goodbye to YouTube. The platform will remove all – yes, all – of your channel’s videos. Your account – and any associated channels – can be terminated. And you’re barred from creating any new channels. 


Courtesy Period for YouTube Partner Program

Are you part of YouTube’s Partner Program? If you rack up three copyright strikes, the rules are slightly more lenient. But only slightly. In this case, you have a 7-day grace period where your channel will remain live. This allows you to seek a resolution, which might involve submitting a counter-notification. If the ruling doesn’t go in your favor, your channel is disabled. 


How to Resolve a Copyright Strike?

When a copyright owner submits a takedown request, it’s reviewed by YouTube for validity. If it’s a valid request, the copyright owner can have it take effect immediately. Or, they can give you a 7-day window to rectify the problem. If they’ve provided a grace period, deleting the video solves the problem. 

But if the takedown request takes effect immediately, deleting the video isn’t enough. At that point, you’re left with three options for resolving the copyright strike:

  1. Retraction: Contact the person who issued the claim and ask them to retract it.
  2. Counter-Notification: Think your video was removed mistakenly or falls under fair use guidelines? Submit a counter-notification. 
  3. Expiration: Do nothing and wait for the copyright strike to expire in 90 days. Your video will not be reinstated. 

YouTube will never ask for payment to remove a copyright strike. If you receive a notice, it’s a scam.


How to Avoid Copyright Strikes on YouTube

A copyright strike can be a real blow to your channel – and to your earnings. So make sure you avoid strikes altogether. How? By using video footage and music that adheres to YouTube’s copyright rules. 

A subscription to a stock video library costs less than $50 per month. And unlimited royalty-free music can be sourced for as little as $5.75 per month. These options are high-quality, easy to find, affordable, and legal. 

Running a successful YouTube channel means you’ll inevitably encounter some challenges. Copyright strikes shouldn’t be one of them. And with royalty-free music and videos, they won’t be.

Want to license a song from the TuneReel library but worry about the possible copyright problems? No need to fret. TuneReel’s customer support team always resolves any copyright claims reported by our users and will have your back no matter what!