YouTube & Copyright Policies

An Austrian court has ruled that video-sharing platform YouTube can be held partly liable for copyright breaches in videos uploaded by its users, in a ruling that may have far-reaching implications.

Vienna’s commercial court said that YouTube had played an active role in spreading such content and therefore could not claim the status of “neutral intermediary”, according to the ruling cited by the Ploil-Boesch law firm.

YouTube takes copyright issues seriously — and it blocks or takes down any video that infringes on copyright. Two things can happen, and though they sound similar, they’re completely different :

  • Takedown notice: If someone notices content they’ve created being used without their permission, they can send YouTube a complaint. If it’s a breach, YouTube takes down the video.
  • Content ID match: Content ID is a system YouTube uses to automatically match content that violates copyright against the millions of videos uploaded every month to the site. For Content ID to work properly, copyright owners have to upload so‐called reference files — original versions of their work that prove they own the rights.Normally, record labels, movie studios, or TV stations go through this process for all the work they publish, so individual artists don’t have to worry about it. Every new video uploaded to YouTube is checked against this huge library of reference files, and if there is a match, YouTube automatically files a copyright claim for the owner of the work.

No matter how a copyright violation may have been discovered, if you breach another content creator’s copyright, that creator is in a position to have YouTube take down your content. In the event of a mistake, you can send YouTube a notice saying that an error occurred, but you had better be darn sure about it. If the claim ends up being proven correct, or if you were untruthful in any way, you may find yourself in much bigger trouble, including legal action.


YouTube doesn’t share benevolence, so if they give you strikes — especially for copyright issues — that means a lifetime ban.

That’s something you don’t want on your record; worse yet, once that happens to you, you won’t be able to recover any of your videos. So you want to avoid getting strikes at all costs.

There are two types of YouTube strikes:

  • Community Guideline Strikes: These can result from a variety of reasons, ranging from uploading objectionable content to having a misleading thumbnail or caption.
  • Copyright Strike: If some part of your video includes content from another creator and that creator did not grant you permission, you can get a strike. You can also get a ContentID claim lodged against you that can turn into a strike. You can appeal it in both cases or take down the video to avoid a possible strike.

Other things you should know:.

  • Strikes come down, eventuallyAs long as you haven’t struck out, some strikes disappear after a while — usually six months. If you get another strike, the clock starts over.
  • Your fate usually lies with the copyright holderThat person can decide whether the video you uploaded should be removed, flagged in certain regions, or even monetized. Yes, that’s right: Even though the video may contain only a small portion of the person’s material, he’s entitled to all monetization proceeds. He can even put ads on your video, if you haven’t added monetization.

Copyright lasts for 75 years past the death of the author; after that point, the copyrighted content enters the public domain. When that happens, the content is no longer protected by intellectual property laws, and anyone can use it without permission. Of course, for many people on YouTube, that content isn’t available to use without permission until we near the next century.

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