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Mastering YouTube: How to Avoid Copyright Infringements

SongTub Admin | December 2, 2023
how to avoid copyright on youtube

If you’re striving to succeed as a content creator on YouTube, knowing how to avoid copyright on YouTube is indispensable. With the complexities of copyright laws and the ever-evolving digital landscape, understanding the rules and regulations is crucial for a thriving channel. This comprehensive guide aims to help YouTube creators to protect their work against potential legal hurdles, providing insight into copyright infringement prevention and empowering you to craft content that complies with YouTube’s copyright policies.

Key Takeaways

  • Familiarize yourself with YouTube’s copyright rules, regulations, and policies.
  • Understand the concept of fair use and how it applies to YouTube content creation.
  • Utilize copyright-free music resources and platforms to enhance your video content.
  • Know the importance of proper attribution when using third-party content in your videos.
  • Learn how to effectively handle and respond to YouTube copyright claims and strikes.

Understanding Copyright on YouTube

Before diving into the strategies for avoiding copyright strikes on YouTube, it is essential for creators to grasp the concept of copyright as it applies specifically to the platform. Copyright is a form of intellectual property that grants legal rights to creators, ensuring that their work is protected from unauthorized use. On YouTube, these rights apply to a wide range of content, including videos, music, images, and more.

Learning the YouTube copyright rules is a foundational step to creating content that respects intellectual property rights and avoids infringements. To help YouTube creators navigate this complex landscape, let’s explore some key aspects of copyright on the platform:

  1. Ownership: The original creator or rights holder has exclusive control over the copyrighted work and is entitled to decide how it is used, reproduced, or distributed.
  2. Licensing: The rights holder may grant others the right to use their copyrighted material through a licensing agreement, allowing creators to legally incorporate such content into their videos.
  3. Infringements: Unauthorized use of copyrighted material in a YouTube video can result in copyright claims, strikes, and even legal action against the creator.

Understanding the scope of copyright protection is crucial to avoid any infringements inadvertently.

One of the major challenges faced by YouTubers is knowing whether their usage of copyrighted material falls within the rules governing the platform. There are some exceptions, such as fair use, which allows creators to utilize copyrighted materials under certain conditions. However, navigating these exceptions can be tricky, which is why it is always advisable to obtain the necessary permissions or licenses from the rights holder.

By acquiring a solid understanding of YouTube copyright rules and the various nuances of intellectual property rights in the digital space, creators can protect their channels, grow their audience, and maintain strong relationships with other content creators. Avoiding copyright strikes on YouTube is not only about staying on the right side of the law, but also about fostering a healthy and respectful creative community.

The Basics of YouTube Copyright Rules

To effectively navigate the complicated world of YouTube copyright, it’s important to understand some fundamental concepts. In this section, we will discuss the types of works protected by copyright law, the lifespan of those protections, and how to identify content that requires permission for use.

YouTube Copyright Rules

Protected Works and Copyright Lifespan

Copyright law protects a wide range of creative works, including but not limited to:

  • Audiovisual content (e.g., video footage, films, and animations)
  • Music (e.g., melodies, lyrics, and sound recordings)
  • Images (e.g., photographs, illustrations, and graphics)
  • Literary works (e.g., novels, non-fiction books, and manuscripts)
  • Computer software and code

In the United States, the duration of copyright protection typically extends for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years after their death. For works created by corporations or pseudonymous authors, copyright protection lasts for 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter. After this period, works become part of the public domain and can be used freely without permission.

Knowing What Content Requires Permission

Using copyrighted material without proper authorization can lead to YouTube copyright claims against your channel. To avoid these claims, it’s crucial to know when content requires permission. Examples of content that necessitates permission include:

  • Video footage from copyrighted sources (e.g., movies, TV shows, or other creators’ videos)
  • Music tracks, even if they’re only a small portion of the composition
  • Images or illustrations created by others
  • Proprietary sound effects or samples

If you’re unsure whether a specific piece of content requires permission, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and obtain the necessary authorization. The process of securing these permissions varies depending on the rights holder, and in some cases, may necessitate copyright licensing for YouTube to legally use the material in your videos.

“When in doubt, it’s always better to secure proper permissions rather than risk the consequences of a YouTube copyright claim.”

By understanding the types of works protected under copyright law and being cognizant of the lifespan of those protections, creators can proactively avoid potential copyright claims and build their channels on a solid foundation of legally compliant content.

Fair Use on YouTube Explained

The doctrine of fair use allows creators to use copyrighted material in limited situations without obtaining permission from the copyright holder. YouTube embraces fair use principles, which helps creators in leveraging copyrighted content for commentary, criticism, reporting, teaching, and other purposes. However, understanding the four factors of fair use is crucial for copyright infringement prevention on the platform.

  1. The purpose and character of the use
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work

Fair use on YouTube

Factor 1: The purpose and character of the use indicate how transformative the new work is compared to the original. The more transformative the work, the more likely it falls under fair use. Transformative works often include parody, satire, and critique.

Factor 2: The nature of the copyrighted work considers whether the original content is creative or factual. Factual works and less imaginative content tend to have greater leeway for fair use compared to purely creative content such as novels or artistic works.

Factor 3: The amount and substantiality of the portion used in the new work depend on both the quantity and the quality of the original material. Smaller portions of copyrighted content with low qualitative value are more likely to fall under fair use guidelines. It is important to use only what is necessary for the new creation, and not to use the “heart” or core elements of the original work.

Factor 4: The effect upon the potential market measures any economic impact the new work might have on the original content. When a new work acts as a direct substitute for the original or significantly impacts its market, it is less likely to be considered as fair use.

“Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances.” – YouTube Help Center

While fair use on YouTube can help creators in using copyrighted materials, it is crucial to consider the four factors mentioned above. Since fair use is a case-by-case determination, it is essential for creators to continuously educate themselves on this doctrine and its application for effective copyright infringement prevention.

Utilizing Copyright Free Music for YouTube

Utilizing copyright free music for YouTube videos is an excellent way to prevent potential copyright infringement issues. Creators can enhance their content and elevate the user experience by incorporating royalty-free tracks sourced from various libraries and platforms. This section highlights the different avenues through which creators can find and integrate copyright free music into their videos.

Copyright free music libraries for YouTube

Below are some popular platforms and resources that offer copyright free music for YouTube creators:

  1. YouTube Audio Library
  2. Free Music Archive
  3. Audio Jungle
  4. Bensound
  5. Incompetech
  6. Purple Planet Music

Each of these platforms varies in its collection of musical genres, quality, and licensing options, so it is essential to delve into their offerings and identify the best fit for your videos.

Tip: Always double-check the licensing terms for individual tracks to avoid any potential copyright infringements.

Another approach for creators is to develop collaborations with independent musicians and composers. This not only provides access to original, royalty-free music but also benefits both parties by mutually promoting their respective works.

Platform Pros Cons
YouTube Audio Library Extensive collection of music and sound effects; specifically designed for YouTube creators. Some tracks require proper attribution; may not always find unique or niche tracks.
Free Music Archive Wide range of genres and curated content by independent artists; suitable for various video styles. Less strict quality control; some tracks may require a Creative Commons license and proper attribution.
Audio Jungle Thousands of hand-picked, high-quality tracks and sound effects; extensive library for creators to explore. Tracks are not free; prices may vary depending on the track and usage.
Bensound Coverage of all popular genres; high-quality music perfect for different video themes. Some tracks require a paid Pro-License for usage without attribution; limited library size.
Incompetech Wide variety of genres; option to search for music based on project type. Tracks require proper attribution; limited library size.
Purple Planet Music Original tracks in various styles; suitable for different types of videos and presentations. Requires attribution for free usage; paid licensing options available for a broader selection.

In conclusion, utilizing copyright free music for YouTube videos can help creators avoid copyright infringement issues while enhancing their content. By exploring various resources and platforms, YouTube creators can find suitable tracks that align with their creative vision and strategy.

Best Practices for Copyright Infringement Prevention

Understanding and implementing effective measures to mitigate the risk of copyright infringement is crucial for every content creator on YouTube. To ensure that your videos do not trigger YouTube copyright claims, consider adhering to these best practices:

  1. Checking content against YouTube’s audio library
  2. Providing proper attribution for third-party content

Checking Content Against YouTube’s Audio Library

YouTube offers a comprehensive audio library that can help creators identify and steer clear of copyrighted music and sound effects. By utilizing this invaluable resource, you can minimize the likelihood of unwittingly infringing upon copyrighted material in your videos and avoiding copyright strikes on YouTube.

To make use of the YouTube audio library, follow these simple steps:

  1. Navigate to the YouTube Studio dashboard
  2. Select ‘Audio Library’ from the left sidebar menu
  3. Browse or search for music and sound effects to suit your video content
  4. Review the licensing information for each track to ensure it aligns with your intended use
  5. Download and insert the audio into your video project accordingly

The Importance of Proper Attribution

When using third-party content in your videos, it is essential to give credit where it is due by providing proper attribution. Failing to acknowledge the original creator of the copyrighted content could result in a YouTube copyright claim.

Consider the following tips when attributing third-party content:

  • Include the creator’s name, the title of the work, and a link to their website or social media profile (if applicable)
  • Always follow the specific attribution guidelines provided by the content owner or specified in the licensing terms
  • Display the attribution prominently in your video, either as an overlay text or in the video description

“When it comes to attributing content, it’s better to be overly cautious than to risk infringing on someone else’s rights. Proper attribution not only respects the original creator’s ownership but also protects your channel from potential legal issues.”

In conclusion, ensuring that your YouTube content complies with copyright rules is necessary to avoid repercussions like copyright claims or strikes. By routinely checking your content against YouTube’s audio library and providing proper attribution for third-party content, you can mitigate the risks of copyright infringement and maintain a reputable and thriving YouTube channel.

Handling a YouTube Copyright Claim

Receiving a YouTube copyright claim can be concerning for creators, but it’s essential to approach the situation calmly and with a clear understanding of how to manage and respond to the claim. This section offers step-by-step guidance on handling YouTube copyright claims, providing insights into the implications for your channel and how to challenge claims if necessary.

When you are notified of a YouTube copyright claim on one of your videos, it is crucial to review the details and follow the appropriate steps:

  1. Assess the claim: Carefully examine the information provided in the claim, including the copyrighted material in question and the claimant’s information. Ensure that you understand the grounds for the claim before proceeding.
  2. Review your video: Re-watch your video, paying close attention to the segment containing the copyrighted material identified in the claim. Determine if you have a valid basis for disputing the claim, such as fair use or licensing rights.
  3. Contact the claimant (optional): If the claim seems incorrect or inaccurate, consider reaching out to the claimant to discuss the issue. They may have misidentified the content or be willing to resolve the matter outside of YouTube’s formal processes.
  4. Dispute the claim (if applicable): If you believe that the claim is unsubstantiated, you can file a dispute through YouTube’s claim management system. Be prepared to provide an explanation for your dispute and any supporting evidence or documentation.

In addition to these steps, it is vital to understand the potential consequences of a YouTube copyright claim on your channel:

Consequence Description
Monetization The claimant may opt to monetize your video, meaning that they would receive a share of the any ad revenue generated by the video, instead of you.
Content removal In some cases, the claimant may choose to have your video removed from YouTube, which could lead to a strike on your channel if you do not successfully dispute the claim.
Restricted features If your channel receives multiple copyright claims or strikes, you may lose access to certain channel features, such as live streaming capabilities and the ability to upload long videos.

Proactively adopting copyright infringement prevention measures, such as using royalty-free music or obtaining necessary permissions and licenses, can help YouTube creators avoid the challenges associated with copyright claims. By staying informed and adhering to platform guidelines, you can create content that respects intellectual property rights and fosters a thriving creative environment.

Navigating Copyright Licensing for YouTube Creators

As a YouTube creator, obtaining proper licenses for copyrighted content is an essential aspect of ensuring your content is legally compliant. This section will outline the process of obtaining these licenses and clarify the differences between various types of licenses and permissions that creators might need for their videos.

Always verify the licensing terms and conditions before using copyrighted content in your YouTube videos.

In general, licenses grant permission to use copyrighted material in specific ways, often limited by certain conditions or stipulations. Here, we’ll discuss three common licenses that you may need to be familiar with as a YouTube creator:

  1. Royalty-free licenses
  2. Creative Commons licenses
  3. Public Performance licenses

Royalty-free Licenses

Royalty-free licenses allow creators to pay a one-time fee for the rights to use copyrighted content, such as music, images, or videos. This content can then be incorporated into your YouTube videos without worrying about future royalty payments. Royalty-free content can often be found on websites that specifically offer copyright free music for YouTube and other copyright-friendly assets.

Creative Commons (CC) licenses are customizable permissions that enable content creators to share their work with others under specific conditions. There are several different types of CC licenses, each with its own set of rules and restrictions. Some licenses allow for only non-commercial use, while others may require attribution. It’s crucial to understand the specific license terms associated with any content carrying a CC license before using it in your YouTube videos.

Public Performance Licenses

Public Performance licenses grant permission to play copyrighted music publicly, whether in a physical location or through digital channels such as YouTube. To secure licensing rights for copyrighted music, you may need to work with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) or directly with the copyright owner. Acquiring a Public Performance license allows you to avoid potential copyright claims or lawsuits while incorporating popular music into your content.

As a YouTube creator, you should always consider the following steps when obtaining licenses for copyrighted material:

  1. Identify the copyright owner of the content in question.
  2. Contact the copyright owner or representative to discuss potential licensing arrangements.
  3. Review the offered licensing terms and conditions thoroughly, ensuring that they align with your intended use.
  4. Select and acquire the appropriate license to ensure compliance with copyright laws.

In summary, when navigating copyright licensing for YouTube, creators must be aware of the different types of licenses and their specific terms and conditions. Ensuring that you have obtained the necessary licenses for copyrighted material used in your videos helps prevent copyright claims, strikes, and potential legal complications.

Avoiding Copyright Strikes on YouTube

YouTube copyright strikes can be detrimental to your channel’s growth and reputation. It is important to familiarize yourself with the common triggers of these strikes and learn how to navigate the process of rectifying them. This section will help you understand the causes of copyright strikes and how to address them, ensuring you stay within the guidelines of fair use on YouTube.

What Triggers a Copyright Strike?

There are several factors that can lead to a YouTube copyright strike. The most common triggers are:

  • Unauthorized use of copyrighted material: Using copyrighted content such as video clips, images, or music without proper permissions or licenses can result in a strike.
  • Failure to comply with fair use standards: Misinterpreting or ignoring the criteria for fair use can attract a copyright strike, even if you believe your content is transformative or educational in nature.
  • Inaccurate attributions: Incorrectly attributing content or omitting attribution altogether can lead to disputes and subsequently, copyright strikes.
  • Unlawful reuploads: Republishing other creators’ content without their permission or without significant transformation can also result in copyright strikes.

Understanding and avoiding these common triggers is essential for maintaining a successful YouTube channel and protecting your content from being taken down.

Rectifying a Strike: Steps to Take

If you have received a copyright strike, it is important to address it as soon as possible. Follow these steps to rectify the situation:

  1. Evaluate the legitimacy of the strike: Review the details of the copyright claim and ensure that it is valid. Sometimes, mistakes or fraudulent claims can occur.
  2. Contact the rights holder: If you believe your content has been mistakenly claimed or falls under fair use, reach out to the rights holder to request a retraction of the strike.
  3. Submit a counter-notification: If the rights holder declines to retract the strike, you can file a copyright counter-notification through YouTube’s Copyright Complaint webform. This process involves providing your contact information, contesting the claim, and agreeing to a possible court filing.
  4. Learn from the experience: Reflect on the situation and identify ways to avoid future copyright strikes. For instance, consider using copyright-free materials, obtaining permissions or licenses, and being more cautious with fair use applications.

Rectifying a copyright strike can be a complex and time-consuming process. By understanding the triggers, learning how to address them, and practicing fair use on YouTube, you can operate your channel without inadvertently infringing upon intellectual property rights.


In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, understanding how to avoid copyright on YouTube is paramount for all content creators. This guide has covered various aspects of copyright law, fair use, and the importance of proper attribution. Implementing these strategies and best practices can effectively contribute to copyright infringement prevention and ensure that your work remains unblemished by legal disputes.

As a YouTube creator, it is crucial to stay up-to-date with the platform’s copyright rules and regulations. By respecting intellectual property rights and leveraging royalty-free resources like YouTube’s audio library, you can confidently produce content that adheres to all legal requirements. Additionally, being aware of fair use principles and how they apply to your work can help you create transformative and informative content without infringing on others’ copyright.

Lastly, should you ever encounter a copyright claim or strike, understanding how to respond appropriately and navigate the licensing process is essential. With the insights provided in this guide, you are now better equipped to maintain a thriving YouTube channel that respects creativity and upholds the intellectual property rights of fellow creators.


What types of works are protected under copyright law on YouTube?

Protected works include audiovisual content, music, and images. Copyright protection typically lasts the lifetime of the creator plus an additional 70 years after their death before entering the public domain.

How can I determine if the content I am using requires permission from the copyright holder?

To identify content that requires permission, research the copyrighted materials you plan to use, such as footage, music tracks, and proprietary content. Using unauthorized content could lead to copyright claims against your channel.

What is fair use, and how does it apply to YouTube?

Fair use is a doctrine that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the copyright holder. It is based on four factors: purpose and character of the use, nature of the copyrighted work, amount and substantiality of the portion used, and effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Where can I find copyright-free music to use in my YouTube videos?

You can find copyright-free music from various libraries and platforms offering royalty-free tracks. In addition, YouTube has its own built-in audio library for sourcing music and sound effects that do not violate copyright rules.

How can I ensure that the music or sound effects I use do not breach YouTube’s copyright rules?

Use YouTube’s built-in audio library to cross-reference content with their database and ensure that it is free from any potential copyright breaches.

How do I properly attribute third-party content to prevent copyright issues on YouTube?

Acknowledge and credit the original creators of the content when incorporating their work into your videos. Follow guidelines provided by the copyright holder and use proper citations as needed.

What steps should I take if I receive a copyright claim on my YouTube channel?

Upon receiving a copyright claim, review the details and take necessary action, such as obtaining the appropriate licenses or removing the infringing content. Alternatively, you can challenge the claim if you believe it is unjustified, by filing a dispute through YouTube’s platform.

How do I obtain proper licenses for copyrighted content on YouTube?

To obtain necessary licenses for copyrighted content, reach out to rights holders and inquire about the type of license needed. Understand the differences between various licenses and permissions, such as sync licenses, master licenses, and Creative Commons licenses.

What are the common reasons for receiving a copyright strike on YouTube?

Common reasons for copyright strikes include unauthorized use of copyrighted material and failure to comply with fair use standards. It is essential to strictly adhere to YouTube’s copyright rules to avoid strikes.

What should I do if I receive a copyright strike on my YouTube channel?

If you receive a copyright strike, contact the rights holder to potentially resolve the issue and follow YouTube’s copyright counter-notification process if you believe the strike is unjustified. Moreover, familiarize yourself with YouTube’s copyright rules to prevent future strikes.

Written by SongTub Admin

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