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What’s the Difference Between a Copyright Strike and a Copyright Claim?

Carla Marshall
July 20, 2022

YouTube just announced it is rolling out a new partnership deal with Shopify, enabling all eligible creators If you’re a creator, you will have probably heard of copyright strikes and claims but may not know the difference between the two digital rights violations. The consequences of copyright infringement can vary depending on the circumstances, but you must be aware of your responsibilities and obligations as a YouTube creator. Ignorance is no defense, even if it was done from a place of innocence.

The copyright process assigns ownership to the original creator for any and all of their work. On YouTube, that covers audio, video, or images, and the rights owner can take tangible and swift action if the above media has been used without their permission.

More specifically, the one who creates a digital or other product becomes a copyright owner. With that warning in mind, let’s take a more detailed look at claims and strikes.

Disclaimer: This post is an overview of how copyright works on YouTube. Please consult a legal representative if you need advice on a specific case.

A copyright claim happens when one party asserts that their content, whether that be a video clip, an image, or a piece of audio, without consent. That party can then decide whether to submit a claim to deal with the issue.

Copyright owners have complete control over their Content ID policy. Some creators and media publishers always opt to stop certain content from being uploaded to YouTube, like TV, movie clips, or music videos. Others allow their content to remain published on the uploader’s channel but only if some or all of the advertising revenue is funneled back to the copyright owners as compensation.

For a Content ID claim, the rights owner has the following options to deal with a violation:

  • They can block the entire video from being viewed on YouTube
  • They can monetize the video by placing ads against it and keeping the revenue
  • They can track the viewership stats, which disables any monetization and lets the owner see how well the video is performing.

YouTube has a complete guide to the options here.

To resolve and remove a copyright claim, the uploader will need to dispute it. Once the uploader has formally disputed the claim, the rights owner then has 30 days to respond to that appeal.

If the rights owner doesn’t respond within 30 days, the Content ID claim is automatically released. But if they reject the dispute, the claim gets reinstated once more. The uploader can again appeal and fight their case, and the rights holder has 30 days to respond. In the meantime, the ad revenue holding account kicks in again, as does the lift on any viewing restrictions.

At this stage in the dispute, the rights owner can either release their claim, choose to take down the video, or set up a “delayed takedown.” Suppose the owner opts to go down the delayed takedown route. In that case, the uploader will be notified that they have just seven days to retract their appeal, or the video will be automatically taken down and disappear forever from YouTube.

Copyright Claims have the following consequences for creators on the receiving end:

  • Claims have slightly less impact on your YouTube channel and your ability to monetize
  • If you receive a claim, you can still monetize your other videos
  • Claims won’t lead to the termination of your channel
  • However, for repeat offenders, 50 copyright claims lead to 1 copyright strike
  • A creator can dispute the claim if it can be proven false
  • The rights holder can claim the revenue from your video if you have used their content
  • The copyright holder can place ads on your video to generate that revenue
  • The copyright holder can restrict your video in some countries or regions
  • The copyright holder may also choose to take no action (but don’t rely on that option)
  • ContentID claims come with a monetization, tracking, or viewing restriction rule

YouTube has some specific advice on what to do if you receive a copyright claim on your video, so take a few minutes to watch when you can:

Unlike claims, strikes can only be raised manually by the rights owner. There’s currently no available tool to help you automate the process.

A copyright strike is much more severe for a creator as your YouTube channel can be closed down forever for repeated copyright offenses.

A strike is issued when a copyright owner requests the legal removal of a video on YouTube because the uploader didn’t have permission to use their images, audio, or video clips. 

When a copyright owner identifies that another creator has used a portion (or all) of their original work without express permission, they can request a copyright strike via a specific process on YouTube, which will remove the offending video.

The rights owner can file a DMCA takedown request, but the owner must supply YouTube with specific information regarding the takedown, which includes:

  • The rights holder’s contact information
  • A thorough description of the material the owner wants to protect
  • A sworn statement of good faith belief that the material has been used without  full, written permission

After the rights owner files a takedown request, YouTube moves to remove the video in question from the uploader’s channel. However, that creator is notified, and they can either file a counter-notice or accept the takedown decision.

Attention: Deleting the offending video will not resolve the strike!

The Impact of a Copyright Strike on Your YouTube Channel

If you receive a copyright strike against a video, please take it very seriously. The first copyright strike received will negatively affect some channel features, like stopping any live streaming or monetization. If your channel gets a second strike before the first strike has even expired, you will have to wait another 90 days until the second strike has expired. 

If you receive a third copyright strike before the first two strikes have expired, YouTube will automatically terminate your account and remove all your uploaded videos. You’ll also be banned from creating any new channels.

The terrible news about copyright strikes is that you may still face legal action and be prosecuted in court. You could face significant legal bills and a hefty penalty if you lose the case. Copyright violations are no joke.

YouTube’s Policy on Copyright Violations

YouTube is very serious when it comes to copyright infringement. It has solid and non-negotiable guidelines that match copyright laws in the USA (and beyond). The platform states that:

“Creators should only upload videos they have made or are authorized to use. Users should not upload videos that they didn’t make or use content in videos that someone else owns without necessary authorizations.”

You should ALWAYS ask permission before posting somebody else’s work. If you want to avoid copyright claims or strikes, the best practice is to hold a license to use the content or to own the content yourself.

Carla Marshall Author

Carla Marshall

Carla Marshall is the Content Marketing Manager at TubeBuddy. She has 11+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, & SEO

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