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YouTube Question Confused about reuse content for monetisation

Peter Cowie

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In my Channels early days I used some videos or parts of videos under creative commons. I also earlier this year uploaded a documentary which got me over a million views in a few months. Then I get the message from YouTube that my channel has been demonetised for a month due to violating reuse content around the YouTube Partner Program. I do understand this and have since removed all such videos so I can hopefully get monetisation back shortly.

What I don't understand is other much bigger channels than mine are constantly uploading documentaries in FULL with no alterations and still they are monetised with seemingly no problems. One particular channel I know of has been doing this for a couple of years and just this past week alone has uploaded several.

Am I missing something here, or is it different rules for different people or perhaps this channel I speak of has just avoided detection for so long?

Any thoughts are most welcome.
 

SILTHW

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OK, I cannot answer your question specific to YouTube, but I do have a lot of experience with IP and IP rights.

I'm confused as to who released under Creative Commons. You or the original content owner? What were the rights to the documentary? Did you verify the license of everything you reused? Did you reach out to the producers and verify the reuse rights? For Creative Commons licenses there is usually an email or contact you can use to verify your right to reuse. Seems like a small effort to prevent large problems.

You need to be careful of trying to make an equivalency argument. The argument that you were demonized for something you did wrong when other people were also doing something wrong doesn't matter. Wrong is wrong even if other people are doing the same thing. There is no legal precedent that says since you weren't the only one doing something wrong its now OK. It doesn't matter why they haven't been caught. You mentioned a million views. That would certainly catch the attention of the large number of services that validate ownership.
 

Stanley | Team TB

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yup, i think @SILTHW nailed it. In simple terms: just because someone uploaded a video as 'creative commons' or 'license free' doesn't mean they didnt include something that wasn't actually license free. If you used it before they got taken doen then you will also fall victim to the same takedown.

This is one example of several possibilities, all with the same set of rules: if you use someone elses content you had better have the rights. Otherwise you run the risk of being demonitized or worse. And don't think for a second that because someone else did it that it is ok for you to do it too.
 
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Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie

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OK, I cannot answer your question specific to YouTube, but I do have a lot of experience with IP and IP rights.

I'm confused as to who released under Creative Commons. You or the original content owner? What were the rights to the documentary? Did you verify the license of everything you reused? Did you reach out to the producers and verify the reuse rights? For Creative Commons licenses there is usually an email or contact you can use to verify your right to reuse. Seems like a small effort to prevent large problems.

You need to be careful of trying to make an equivalency argument. The argument that you were demonized for something you did wrong when other people were also doing something wrong doesn't matter. Wrong is wrong even if other people are doing the same thing. There is no legal precedent that says since you weren't the only one doing something wrong its now OK. It doesn't matter why they haven't been caught. You mentioned a million views. That would certainly catch the attention of the large number of services that validate ownership.
Thanks for your reply. I do understand that monetisation rules are separate to rules for channels not monetised. In other words if your channel isn't monetised you can use creative commons videos on your channel. I did get permission from the owner of the documentary to use it but YouTube advised even though you have permission it still is not allowed under the YouTube Partner Program which I now understand.
My confusion is why other much larger channels have been uploading similar or even the same documentaries for the past couple of years and are still monetised who have millions of views for those documentaries.
 
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Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie

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yup, i think @SILTHW nailed it. In simple terms: just because someone uploaded a video as 'creative commons' or 'license free' doesn't mean they didnt include something that wasn't actually license free. If you used it before they got taken doen then you will also fall victim to the same takedown.

This is one example of several possibilities, all with the same set of rules: if you use someone elses content you had better have the rights. Otherwise you run the risk of being demonitized or worse. And don't think for a second that because someone else did it that it is ok for you to do it too.
Thanks for your reply. I did have permission to use the documentary from the owner and they received the revenue from it while I received the views. YouTube sent me a email that did clearly explain that even though I had permission to use it, under the YouTube Partner Program you can not use it for monetisation.

So what confuses me is how other channels upload similar and even the same Documentary and get million of views over the past couple of years and yet they are still monetised?
 

SILTHW

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Thanks for your reply. I did have permission to use the documentary from the owner and they received the revenue from it while I received the views. YouTube sent me a email that did clearly explain that even though I had permission to use it, under the YouTube Partner Program you can not use it for monetisation.

So what confuses me is how other channels upload similar and even the same Documentary and get million of views over the past couple of years and yet they are still monetised?

I'm not saying this is what happened, but I own multiple trademarks and lots of copyrights. I am approached frequently by services that you pay for that simply search for misuse of my trademarks and copyrights. While I don't personally use them, many people do. These services aren't perfect. They all have different proprietary ways of finding content.

Once they've found the content they can take different actions - report the content to the platform, try to copyright-strike on the platform, file a DMCA (US) takedown request, send a cease and desist notice, etc.

Someone or some service could have filed a complaint and YouTube would have had a duty to respond. They may not have filed the complaint about documentary specifically, but the complaint could have caused YouTube to investigate and audit your entire channel for compliance and discover the issue with the documentary.

So I'm going to stress that I'm not an expert at how YouTube handles these things. But I am very knowledgeable on IP rights, protections and enforcement.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

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Thanks for your reply. I did have permission to use the documentary from the owner and they received the revenue from it while I received the views. YouTube sent me a email that did clearly explain that even though I had permission to use it, under the YouTube Partner Program you can not use it for monetisation.

So what confuses me is how other channels upload similar and even the same Documentary and get million of views over the past couple of years and yet they are still monetised?

There are far too many variables to be able to give you a single, solid answer. They may have contacted license owners. They may just be using it without permission and just havent been caught yet. Also possible they are using creative commons or have access to a library of media, who knows. But the best answer here is that this is your channel. You know the rules and the consequences of breaking them. So be mindful of that when considering using other people's work.
 
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Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie

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I'm not saying this is what happened, but I own multiple trademarks and lots of copyrights. I am approached frequently by services that you pay for that simply search for misuse of my trademarks and copyrights. While I don't personally use them, many people do. These services aren't perfect. They all have different proprietary ways of finding content.

Once they've found the content they can take different actions - report the content to the platform, try to copyright-strike on the platform, file a DMCA (US) takedown request, send a cease and desist notice, etc.

Someone or some service could have filed a complaint and YouTube would have had a duty to respond. They may not have filed the complaint about documentary specifically, but the complaint could have caused YouTube to investigate and audit your entire channel for compliance and discover the issue with the documentary.

So I'm going to stress that I'm not an expert at how YouTube handles these things. But I am very knowledgeable on IP rights, protections and enforcement.
Thank you very much. I appreciate the information which all makes sense.
 
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Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie

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There are far too many variables to be able to give you a single, solid answer. They may have contacted license owners. They may just be using it without permission and just havent been caught yet. Also possible they are using creative commons or have access to a library of media, who knows. But the best answer here is that this is your channel. You know the rules and the consequences of breaking them. So be mindful of that when considering using other people's work.
Thanks again. And yes I now know the rules around monetisation and I have taken off any videos that contravene these rules, so Hopefully I will get monetisation back soon.
 
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Beanie Draws

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In my Channels early days I used some videos or parts of videos under creative commons. I also earlier this year uploaded a documentary which got me over a million views in a few months. Then I get the message from YouTube that my channel has been demonetised for a month due to violating reuse content around the YouTube Partner Program. I do understand this and have since removed all such videos so I can hopefully get monetisation back shortly.

What I don't understand is other much bigger channels than mine are constantly uploading documentaries in FULL with no alterations and still they are monetised with seemingly no problems. One particular channel I know of has been doing this for a couple of years and just this past week alone has uploaded several.

Am I missing something here, or is it different rules for different people or perhaps this channel I speak of has just avoided detection for so long?

Any thoughts are most welcome.
They aren't monetised, it's simply a case that the original owner of the content are claiming the ad revenue from those videos. It's up to the original owner weather they strike your channel, or simply claim the video, and that's well within their right.

There's a pretty big channel in the YouTube space that seems to get away with re-using old interviews, my guess is he either has a licence to use it (you can purchase licences that allow you to use other people's videos from larger networks) or he's just too big to touch, but I think it's more along the lines of him having a licence to use them.
Just like technically speaking, musicians need a licence from a music lable before they cover or remix a song.

The thing I despise the most, and you MIGHT be talking about the same channel (but maybe not) is the channel I've seen reuse content on a LARGE scale, is also good friends with many in this space, so people seem to overlook his use of interviews as fair use, meanwhile smaller channels get hit with claims.

At the end of the day though, you don't know the business behind each person's channel, so you can't just assume someone has a licence to use content or not. I have to keep reminding myself that, but it certainly gives a bad impression to smaller channels not knowing you need licence rights to use content. And these media licences can sometimes cost several thousands of dollars.
 
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Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie

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They aren't monetised, it's simply a case that the original owner of the content are claiming the ad revenue from those videos. It's up to the original owner weather they strike your channel, or simply claim the video, and that's well within their right.

There's a pretty big channel in the YouTube space that seems to get away with re-using old interviews, my guess is he either has a licence to use it (you can purchase licences that allow you to use other people's videos from larger networks) or he's just too big to touch, but I think it's more along the lines of him having a licence to use them.
Just like technically speaking, musicians need a licence from a music lable before they cover or remix a song.

The thing I despise the most, and you MIGHT be talking about the same channel (but maybe not) is the channel I've seen reuse content on a LARGE scale, is also good friends with many in this space, so people seem to overlook his use of interviews as fair use, meanwhile smaller channels get hit with claims.

At the end of the day though, you don't know the business behind each person's channel, so you can't just assume someone has a licence to use content or not. I have to keep reminding myself that, but it certainly gives a bad impression to smaller channels not knowing you need licence rights to use content. And these media licences can sometimes cost several thousands of dollars.
Thank you for your reply, it is appreciated. What you say makes a lot of sense and yes I don't know what that particular channel is doing around licences. This is YouTubes Monetisation policy around Reused content which YouTube sent to me. I read it as even if one has permission to reuse their content if you dont put a significant spin on it, then it's still not allowed if your monetised. I may be reading it wrong?

Reused content
Reused content refers to channels that repurpose someone else's content without adding significant original commentary or educational value. This policy is taken from the AdSense Search Console portion of AdSense program policies. WeΓÇÖve put it in a context thatΓÇÖs more relevant for YouTube creators.

This policy applies to your channel as a whole. In other words, if you have many videos that violate our guidelines, monetization may be removed from your entire channel.

What is allowed to monetize
The spirit of this policy is to make sure weΓÇÖre monetizing original content that adds value to viewers. If you put a funny or thoughtful spin on content you didnΓÇÖt originally create, youΓÇÖve transformed the content in some way. ItΓÇÖs generally OK to have this type of content on your channel, but individual videos may be subject to other policies like copyright. In other words, we allow reused content if viewers can tell that thereΓÇÖs a meaningful difference between the original video and your video.


Examples of whatΓÇÖs allowed to monetize (including but not limited to):

  • Using clips for a critical review
  • A scene from a movie where youΓÇÖve rewritten the dialog and changed the voiceover
  • Replays of a sports tournament where you explain the special moves a competitor did to succeed (or fail)
  • Reaction videos where you comment on the original video
  • Edited footage from other creators where you add a storyline or commentary
Content that violates this guideline
Taking someone elseΓÇÖs content, making minimal changes, and calling it your own original work would be a violation of this guideline. This policy applies even if you have permission from the original creator. Reused content is separate from YouTubeΓÇÖs Copyright enforcement, which means itΓÇÖs not based on copyright, permission, or fair use. This guideline means sometimes, you may not get claims against your content, but your channel may still violate our reused content guidelines.

More examples of whatΓÇÖs not allowed to monetize (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Clips of moments from your favorite show edited together with little or no narrative
  • Short videos you compiled from other social media websites
  • Collections of songs from different artists (even if you have their permission)
  • Content uploaded many times by other creators
  • Promotion of other peopleΓÇÖs content (even if you have permission)
 

SILTHW

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That actually makes a lot of sense. Generally speaking, you can reuse copywritten content for criticism or for quotation. For both of those the general test is "are you using the minimal amount to make your point", which would mean that your original content is more than the reused content.
 
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Peter Cowie

Peter Cowie

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That actually makes a lot of sense. Generally speaking, you can reuse copywritten content for criticism or for quotation. For both of those the general test is "are you using the minimal amount to make your point", which would mean that your original content is more than the reused content.
For sure. I read it that you can't use for example documentaries or TV series without significant change. Therefore I do wonder how channels can get away with doing it for so long. I guess that inconsistency really gives the wrong impression to many of us and it does seem that the set rules don't apply evenly across the board. But anyway, best I just focus on my channel and leave the rest to YouTube to manage. Thank you for your help :)