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9. Copyright, Fair Use, and Content ID

As you might imagine, a site that lets you upload videos and make them publicly viewable has issues related to copyright and Fair Use.

Copyright Enforcement

When you upload a video to YouTube, you see a warning about not violating copyright laws. This warning, however, does not prevent you from going ahead with uploading a copyrighted video that you do not have permission to post. YouTube does not screen the videos for copyright violations. Instead, the copyright holder must issue a DMCA takedown notice. If this takedown succeeds three times against a given user account, YouTube deletes the account along with all of its uploaded videos.

Content ID

Content ID is a system created by YouTube for the purpose of detecting videos that violate copyright. The system creates a database containing the ID of each copyrighted file. When you upload a video, YouTube checks the database and flags the video as infringing copyright if a match is found in the database. When such a match is found, the copyright holder can either block the video, track its viewing statistics, or add advertisements to the video.

Fair Use

Under the Fair Use Law, certain educational, news, and artistic (parody) uses can be considered fair. If the Content ID system blocks a video upload that you consider to be fair, you can submit a form disputing the rejection. Instructions are at the YouTube Copyright Center.

Creative Commons

When you upload a video to YouTube, the default settings will retain a copyright on the video for the uploader. You can change this default to a Creative Commons license that allows other users to reuse and remix your video if it is free of copyright. For details, follow this YouTube Copyright Center link to Creative Commons.