Copyright Infringement on YouTube: Challenging Content ID Match

by | May 19, 2019

Here is a typical scenario that involves the YouTube Content ID system.

You edit your video footage, download music from a stock music website and then mix it into your video.

Once you upload the completed project to YouTube, you get a copyright infringement notice. Suddenly your video has ads running on it, which are totally inappropriate for your Non-Profit client.

Triggers YouTube Content ID

Your first reaction may be to feel shafted by the stock music site, thinking their music should not trigger a copyright issue on YouTube.

What really happened is that your music triggered the YouTube Content ID System. It’s a totally automated system that looks for a “fingerprint” within online material that identifies the copyright owners.

Unfortunately, the system has a hard time differentiating music downloaded from a legitimate site  or a bootlegged copy from a Torrent.

Dispute the Claim

If you have a legitimate copy of the music, it only takes a few minutes to dispute the claim but if you don’t, the copyright owner can:

  • Mute audio that matches their music
  • Block a whole video from being viewed
  • Monetize the video by running ads against it
  • Track the video’s viewership statistics

Here is a graphic on how the dispute system works.  It’s a two stage process where you dispute the claim and then the copyright owners will either release the claim or uphold their claim. And with each step, YouTube will require a combination of declarations and/or written proof in your dispute.

But if you do nothing, the majority of copyright owners will opt to monetize the content and therefore run ads on your video and obtain a portion of the revenue stream it creates.

Steps in the Process

Check your video manager for any copyright notices.

If there are any copyright issues, you will see it in your video manager.  You will also see a list of videos that are in question. You will get more details and suggested solutions if you click on “includes copyrighted content.”

It will often give you options. In this example, you could still use the video but the copyright owner could include ads with the video.

If you do challenge the claim, be careful on what your claim is based on. Owning the CD does not give you the right to broadcast it on YouTube.

If you choose fair use or the content is in public domain it may require extra proof.

Knowing what is in the Public Domain is not always easy.  For a very long period, the song Happy Birthday was claimed to be copyrighted.  While that claim in no longer valid, what is Public Domain and what is not is not obvious.

If the copyright owner still disputes your right to use the material there is still one more appeal with more detailed information required such as a copy of your license agreement.

The website providing the stock footage may want to get involved at this point, since it is not in their interest to be perceived as providing music that is not cleared.

For the most part, the music will be cleared for use, if it has a legitimate source.

Nevertheless, the YouTube system is not well liked especially by many YouTubers who claim fair use in their deference.