Understand YouTube rights management
The YouTube system for managing your intellectual property consists of three major components:
- The YouTube rights management system identifies the owners and administrators of your intellectual property and defines the policies used to enforce your rights
- Content ID automatically scans YouTube videos for content that matches your intellectual property and applies the defined rights policy to the matching video
- YouTube videos are the (optional) public representation of your intellectual property, available to users on youtube.com
When you upload a piece of intellectual property to YouTube, you need to create a representation of it in each of these components separately. In other words, a single piece of intellectual property has up to three representations in the YouTube system:
- An asset is the representation of your intellectual property in the rights management system. You specify ownership and rights information as part of the asset.
- A reference is the representation of your intellectual property for Content ID matching. You provide a digital media file that Content ID compares to uploaded video content.
- A video is the representation of your intellectual property on youtube.com. The video’s metadata describes the content and specifies how it appears on youtube.com. The video uses the same media file as a reference.
The asset is the heart of the system, the object with which the other objects are associated. You must create an asset for every piece of intellectual property; references and videos are optional.
You link references to assets by defining a relationship between the reference file and the asset. An asset can have more than one reference associated with it. For example, a movie asset could have separate references with 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios.
You link videos to assets by claiming the video on behalf of the asset. You claim videos that you upload, and may also claim other users’ videos when they include content that matches your asset.
When using the YouTube Content and Rights Administration feed to upload your intellectual property, you create assets, references, videos, and the links between them. You also create other supporting objects, such as:
- Ownership objects provide information about the owner(s) of an asset or group of assets, such as the percentage of the asset that is owned and the territories where the asset is owned. You use ownership objects to declare who owns the rights to your assets.
- Rights policy objects define the conditions and rules for monetizing claimed videos. For example, you could define a policy that displays advertisements to viewers in the United States but only tracks viewers in the rest of the world. You associate policies with assets.
See Structuring the content feed file for more information about uploading your content.
How Content ID works
Copyright owners can choose different actions to take on material that matches theirs:
- 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
Any of these actions can be country-specific. A video may be monetized in one country, and blocked or tracked in another.
YouTube only grants Content ID to copyright owners who meet specific criteria. To be approved, they must own exclusive rights to a substantial body of original material that is frequently uploaded by the YouTube user community.
YouTube also sets explicit guidelines on how to use Content ID. We monitor Content ID use and disputes on an ongoing basis to ensure these guidelines are followed.
Content owners who repeatedly make erroneous claims can have their Content ID access disabled and their partnership with YouTube terminated.
If you are a content owner and believe your content meets the criteria, you may apply for Content ID.
- What is a Content ID claim?
- Keep your YouTube account in good standing
- Who claimed my video?
- Dispute a Content ID claim
- How does Content ID work on live streams and Hangouts on Air?
What kind of content is eligible for Content ID?
Not all content is appropriate for claiming through Content ID. You must not use the system to claim content in which you do not have sufficient rights. Further, you are responsible for avoiding erroneous results, such as claims resulting from misidentified content, or claims interfering with authorized uses of content.
Abiding by the following rules will help you avoid these problems. (Please note, the examples under each rule are provided for your information. This is not an exhaustive list of potential issues.)
- Content licensed non-exclusively from a third party
- Content released under Creative Commons or similar free/open licenses
- Public domain footage, recordings, or compositions
- Clips from other sources used under fair use principles
- Video gameplay footage (by other than the game’s publisher)
- Karaoke recordings, remasters, and sound-alike recordings
- Sound effects, soundbeds, or production loops
- So-called “royalty free” production music libraries typically licensed for use in game, film, TV or other soundtracks.
- All assets must include an informative title (e.g., not “Track 4” or an internal serial number).
- Recorded music assets must also include artist and record label information.
In addition to these rules, there are a variety of strategies to help you avoid and resolve improper claims.
YouTube Content ID Handbook
Click the link below to download a manual that outlines the concepts behind YouTube’s Content ID system and explains how to manage Content ID using YouTube Content Manager and the youtube.com user interface.