I am writing this article from my experience on YouTube’s weird copyright infringement claim system. To be totally honest, I’m not quite sure whether it is still weird, because I didn’t have to go through any copyright infringement claim procedure the last couple of months. But it was weird at least back in 2016 while I had to deal with this system a few times and gathered some bitter experience.
Why YouTube’s copyright infringement claim system is weird
As a new YouTuber I didn’t know how YouTube’s copyright infringement claim system worked. I thought that YouTube’s copyright system was flawless; if I didn’t steal anybody’s content, I would not have to suffer – which was surely far from true. You could get copyright infringement notice and strikes even if you uploaded your own content. Let me now explain how’s that.
Suppose someone reuploaded one of your YouTube videos on their channel. And then for some reason you deleted that video from your channel and reuploaded it – like what many new YouTubers do. As a result of your actions, you may now get a copyright strike from that individual who stole your video in the first place, because their video is older than yours in regards of time. So if they choose to file a copyright infringement claim on you, YouTube authority will just consider the fact that you uploaded the video later, so you must have STOLEN it from their channel.
Experience gathered when I was a new YouTuber
I was a victim of this weird system back in August 2016. Earlier I imposed copyright infringement claim on many channels for stealing my content. As a result a certain individual was very much angry with me because of my actions and he decided to manipulate the copyright infringement system of YouTube against me. He first stole one of my YouTube videos and waited a while for me to reupload that on my channel. And when I did that for some reason, he imposed a copyright strike on my channel – which was surely out of the blue for me.
I was dumbstruck indeed, but that’s when I just came to realize how YouTube’s copyright infringement system actually worked. For a few months (September-October 2016) while I didn’t have enough business (earnings) on YouTube, as a favorite pastime I just played with many innocent YouTubers based on this weird system. Don’t blame it on me now, the blame is on YouTube itself. To know more details about what I exactly did, go through the following article.
Youtube channel suspended repeatedly? Check if your device is banned.
Counter notification is stronger than original copyright claim
Suppose you just found someone copied your YouTube creation and you submitted a copyright infringement claim to take that video down and thus imposed a copyright strike on their channel. Wait, DON’T just be so overjoyed yet; cause that person has the freedom to send you counter notification of copyright. And if you’re unable to manage legal document (court order) to restrain that YouTube user from uploading the video within 15 business days, then taken-down video might be reinstated.
This is surely a tricky way to go around for genuine YouTube creators. Because in most countries it is very difficult to manage a legal document like that (which applies for some online content! The judge might be quite astonished to hear about that – seriously). And the culprit who reuploaded your YouTube video in the first place, may decide to provide wrong info in the counter notification. When someone claims that they reside in some other country apart from mine, it becomes impossible for me to manage those documents and YouTube doesn’t even bother to verify their actual location. I am saying this because once a culprit got away like that after stealing my content and the only thing I could do was to keep his video down only for a couple of days.
Well, If you are a company that creates and publishes videos of their own, there is certain thing you can do; you can apply for content id. This way anyone copying your YouTube creation (visual and audio) will be automatically detected and you sure will have an upper-hand in the copyright notification process, although this is disputable. Let me explain how.
How I became a victim of a wrong copyright infringement claim (content id match)
Let me share with you my recent experience which will make the idea crystal clear to you. Recently I used my TV set top box to record a program which rightfully belongs to BTV, my country’s public television station. They don’t have a channel on YouTube, nor they reserve any of their copyrights strictly. That’s why unlike all private TV channels, it is super easy to steal BTV’s content; they will never send a copyright infringement notice in any way – that’s for sure. That’s why many YouTubers from my country have been stealing BTV’s contents for quite a long time now, without having to face any legal actions. I, for one, never stole BTV’s content until recently.
There was a program on BTV on the occasion of Eid which was too mouth-watering for me, I just couldn’t hold the temptation. I recorded that using my TV set top box and uploaded on my ‘experimental’ channel (I run this channel only to stay updated on latest YouTubing trends). Within 48 hours of time, I just had a copyright notice (content id match) from certain channel. Well the thing is that this content could no way belong to them, because it is rightfully BTV’s. I came to see that this particular channel illegally uploaded not only BTV’s contents, but other private TV channels’ contents as well and they are still getting away with that.
The steps I followed to file a dispute
Well, I might be an occasional content-thief, but one thing is for sure – I didn’t download it from their YouTube channel and it didn’t legally belong to them either. So I have decided to file a dispute on that, here’s how I’m going to proceed. While I’m on video manager, I click on the blue link that reads ‘includes copyrighted content’.
Then I reach a page where I have to choose one option out of a few given. I chose ‘The content is in the public domain or is not eligible for copyright protection’, because this option best describes my case.
After I hit the blue ‘Continue’ button, I have to go through the following confession:
Then I have to explain in my own words why I think I haven’t violated anyone’s copyright and how I have uploaded the content rightfully. It’s on the next page. I put the following explanation (just for you to see/observe, should you ever have to go through this process).
“The YouTube channel which claims the copyright has uploaded the video wrongfully in the first place. This video is a property of BTV, the state-owned television station of my country and they don’t protect their contents with copyright. So I have the same right to upload this video as them.”
A few words on content id
Content id is one way to detect whether or not someone is uploading your content on YouTube. If someone has, then there are a few options for you to choose from: (1) you can block the content on their channel so that people won’t be able to view it from there (2) you can let the video play on their channel while you get partial/full revenue from that video. In order to create cover songs and videos like these, if someone takes your content and mixes with their own, you get partial (probably half of the) payment. If your whole video was simply reuploaded by them, then you get the full revenue/payment.
Be careful while submitting a copyright infringement claim
In case you’re not a company and don’t have ‘content id’ service activated for your YouTube channel, you have to manually find any probable copyright infringement of your contents. If you found any such, you may choose to submit a video takedown notice to the uploader via YouTube. The whole process is described neatly in the following article. But you need to be careful while doing that. If YouTube authority suspects that this copyright claim of yours is fraudulent in any way (like the content doesn’t really belong to you, or you have provided wrong info even if the video is rightfully yours), then they will not process the request.
You may now read: Youtube copyright claim: Learn how to do that
They will then tell you to either send them further proof and basis on your copyright claim, or retract that. If you still choose to proceed when it seems like a ‘bluff’ to YouTube authority, they might decide to terminate your channel/account as a punishment; so that as a YouTuber you never dare to do that (‘apparently’ false copyright claim) again. This is also meant to be exemplary for other YouTubers. So my suggestions is that when you receive the mail from YouTube saying that they’re suspecting you of having submitted fraudulent copyright claim, you should immediately retract that claim instead of proceeding further. That way you could at least save your channel.
My ‘NOT so cool’ experience regarding this
Now once again I’m going to share with you guys another experience of my YouTubing career which states why I think YouTube’s copyright infringement claim system is far from being perfect. The thing is that once I submitted a copyright claim against one channel. The next day I received a mail from YouTube like the one stated above. I was confident that I should proceed as it was solely my content; I had previously created it. But when I showed my confidence with some further explanation, it was not received cordially by YouTube authority, they rather decided to terminate my channel once and for all. The bottom line is that – my content was stolen and I didn’t get compensated, on the contrary they simply took actions against me, how rude!
Original content creators, beware!
One grave problem for YouTube content creators is that once they have their channel terminated, they may not file a copyright notice to people who wrongfully re-uploaded/used their contents. Suppose one of your YouTube videos was reuploaded by certain individual on their channel on September 20. Then for some reason your own channel got terminated on September 21 and you created a new one on September 22.
You then uploaded all your videos that were on your previous channel. The irony is that although you’re the rightful owner of your videos, still you now can’t send video takedown notice to that individual any more. On the contrary, they can send you this if they want to; since according to YouTube their online video was uploaded earlier than yours. Now don’t just pull at your hair and get your head overheated by thinking these awful facts; considering me, who for one, had to go through this horrible situation himself.
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