It isn’t at all shocking to hear that Ben Franklin was among the first content creators. Ben Franklin was the first to do a LOT of things. Interestingly, Franklin did not patent any of his inventions and thought that inventors should share their creations freely. Today’s content creators might differ from the great founding father on the topic. And with the amount of money on the line for today’s creators, it’s understandable. YouTube paid creators more than $15 billion dollars in 2021. With that much content and that much money involved, the questions about copyrights come up pretty quickly. And if you are a YouTube creator, copyright claims are something you obviously would like to avoid. So what should you do if you get a copyright claim? Let’s start at the beginning.
What is a copyright claim?
To combat this, YouTube has a Content ID tool, which allows creators to protect their content on the site. Tools like this have come a long way since the early days of the internet when sharing other people’s music or videos was widely accepted by the public.
Music publishers sued early internet juggernaut Napster and won in the early 2000s. This was considered a huge win for songwriters, publishers, and other creators at the time.
But back to YouTube. If your video gets a copyright claim, you will be notified by YouTube. The copyright owner generally has a few options. They can either monetize, block or track the videos on the platform where their material is found to be being used.
Most often the original creator will decide to monetize your video. That means that you can no longer monetize it yourself. But your video can still be seen by your followers, and you’re not in any serious trouble with YouTube.
If you receive a copyright strike, things are more serious. A copyright strike is a request from the copyright owner, that is an official legal action. It results in the video taken down from YouTube altogether. Not only that, but you will also receive a strike against your YouTube channel.
The platform takes these notices very seriously and if you get multiple strikes, you may receive penalties on your channel. These could include restricting features on your channel, and they could also affect your monetization abilities. You could also be required to go to “Copyright School”.
Music copyright claims
Music copyright claims are the most common claims on YouTube. Use nearly any popular song on a video, and you will receive a music copyright claim for the recording. The claims are usually from the record label or distributor.
And while the lyrics of a popular song might be perfect for your video, you’ll save yourself time and trouble by using something else. The good news is there are lots of options and places you can get copyright-free music for your video.
So what steps should you take if you receive one of these copyright claims? First, don’t panic. There are steps that you can take to keep the claim from negatively affecting your channel.
Dispute the claim
If you actually have a license, or the creator’s permission to use the content, you can dispute the claim. This can be frustrating because you followed the rules and did it the right way to begin with. But in the process of disputing the claim, you’ll have the opportunity to provide proof of your license agreement.
Once the process is done, your video will be released, and the monetization of the video restored. More good news, the money that your video earned during the dispute process will also be paid to you.
It is possible that you could receive a fake copyright claim. It’ll be another case of a headache for you, but when you provide proof that the content is 100% yours, your video and account will be restored to normal.
Before filing your dispute, however, double-check your video. Make sure nothing appears no matter how minor, that includes copyrights by another creator.
“Fair Use” defense
Another defense to a copyright claim could be Fair Use. This is a legal doctrine that states there are certain circumstances in which you can reuse copyright-protected permission without permission from the owner.
A common misconception is that you can use any content you want as long as you credit the owner or creator. This is an oft-given defense, but it is absolutely not true. Documented permission is always needed.
This brings up another suggestion. Verbal permission to use someone’s content is not going to get you very far if a dispute arises. Obtain written permission, or find some way to prove they gave you permission.
Copyright infringement is serious. Think about how you would feel if someone was using your work without permission. And while most instances of infringement are innocent mistakes, getting permission or using copyright-free options before you put a lot of work into your project is a smart idea.