What is YouTube Content ID?

If you’ve been around the creator side of YouTube for long enough, you will undoubtedly have heard the term “Content ID”, but what is YouTube Content ID? YouTube Content ID it is an automated system for detecting copyrighted content being uploaded to YouTube. There are many ways of using this system to protect your videos and earn more money from other uses using your content.

Content ID came has been in use on YouTube in some form or another since the early days of the platform, with it first being pressed into service in 2007.

As of 2016, tens of millions of dollars of development had been sunk into Content ID, which had, by then, overseen billions of dollars in payments to copyright holders.

Why is YouTube Content ID Necessary

The world of intellectual property has, it’s fair to say, struggled to keep up with the changing landscape of technology. Unfortunately, the fallout from this is often tech companies having unrealistic expectations placed on them by outdated copyright law.

Digital platforms that feature user-generated content—like YouTube—have towed a precarious line over the years. They are not presently considered legally responsible for copyright infringements on their platform. If that were to change, the landscape of YouTube would change with it, and dramatically so. If YouTube were to be legally (and, by extension, financially) responsible for copyright infringement by its users, they would have to severely restrict what could be uploaded.

Fortunately, this has not come to pass. And, in an effort to ensure it never does, YouTube does what it can to ensure copyright infringements are dealt with. Of course, with mover five hundred hours of video being uploaded every minute, being proactive on the copyright infringement checking front is not exactly something you can assign a team of vigilant curators to.

YouTube does adhere to the US 1988 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which allows copyright holders to notify YouTube of infringements so that they can be taken down (with a right to appeal), but this is not a workable solution for large scale copyright holders—like record labels and movie studios—who would have to sink considerably resources into looking for these infringements.

Unfortunately, these large scale copyright holders are also the ones with the financial and political power to bring about the kinds of changes that would see YouTube made responsible for copyright infringement, and so it is those whom YouTube essentially need to mollify.

Enter Content ID.

What is YouTube Content ID?

What is YouTube Content ID?

Essentially, Content ID works by creating a digital fingerprint of the content uploaded to the platform. This fingerprint can then be easily compared against new content being uploaded, and if that new content is identical or sufficiently alike, it is flagged as a copyrighted material.

We’ll get into what happens next below.

The road to Content ID was not a smooth one. Over the years, several large corporations have sued YouTube with claims that the video platform has not done enough to combat copyright infringement.

In the most well known of these cases—a lawsuit from Viacom demanding $1 billion in damages—YouTuber were forced to hand over twelve terabytes of data about the viewing habits of viewers who had watched content on their site.

Who Can Use Content ID?

In order to make use of Content ID, you have to meet a series of specific criteria that, in practice, make this functionality only available to large corporations, though being a large corporation is not an explicit requirement.

Part of the criteria is that the content you wish to run through the Content ID system is content that can be identified by Content ID. And you will be required to provide evidence that you do in fact have copyright ownership of the content in question.

What Happens if an Upload is Flagged by YouTube Content ID?

The first—and possibly most important—thing to clarify is that Content ID instances do count against the uploader. This is probably the single most significant benefit for YouTubers who find themselves on the wrong end of a copyright claim. Previously, an upheld copyright claim would result in a strike against the channel, and enough strikes would result in things like demonetisation, suspensions, and even bans.

This is still the case for content that does not fall under the Content ID umbrella, but for those that do, the uploader is warned before the content goes live, and no punishment is carried out against the channel.

From there, the uploader has a few options. They can delete the upload altogether, perhaps to reupload a modified version at a later date. They can let YouTube try and remove the copyright infringing material from the video (this is not always successful), or they upload anyway and let the copyright holder’s choice of action take precedent.

As for the copyright holder, they also have a few choices for how to deal with Content ID’d content. They can choose to block the content, which will prevent the upload from going public. They can choose to allow the upload but monetise it, meaning they will receive the revenue from the video. Or they can choose to let the upload go ahead and let the YouTuber keep the revenue, but the copyright holder gets access to the viewership statistics.

All the above assumes that the Content ID is correct. If the ID was erroneous, the uploader can appeal it and, usually, the Content ID flag will be withdrawn, though the system is not perfect, as we shall get into next.

Problems With Content ID

As with any sufficiently large system, Content ID is far from perfect. There have been many instances over the years of the system failing in notable ways, either through unfortunate oversights or malicious intent.

For example, there have been reports of alleged instances where malicious actors have managed to gain use of the Content ID system and used it to claim the revenue of channels and content that belong to someone else.

Perhaps one of the more notable instances of Content ID going wrong was a situation in which Sony Music asserted copyright claims on over a thousand videos featuring compositions by the classical composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. Needless to say, Sony Music—whose parent company were founded in 1946—did not have the copyright to Bach’s compositions, given that he had died some two hundred years earlier.

There have also been instances that fall somewhere between the two above examples. As seems to be all-too-often the case with large corporate copyright holders, Deutsche Grammophon decided to abuse their position of financial power.

A professor uploading several classical music performances—all of which featured compositions whose copyrights had expired—received several copyright violation notices from YouTube. Most of them were successfully appealed, but Deutsche Grammophon decided they wanted to enforce the copyright which they no longer had (if they ever did).

The Main Flaw for Creators

This situation highlights possibly the biggest problem from a creator’s perspective; the decision-making process. Essentially, YouTube wants to be as hands-off as they can get away with.

Everything they do regarding filtering and guidelines is not driven by some all-encompassing goal to make YouTube a particular way, it is driven by certain business interests. In this case, the primary interest is keeping powerful corporate copyright holders happy so that they don’t come after YouTube and try to force them into a position of culpability for the copyright infringements on their platform.

The net result here is that the Content ID system can be used by anyone who meets the criteria, and any Content ID flag can be appealed by the uploader. However, if the alleged copyright holder enforces their claim, YouTube immediately steps out of the equation.

The alleged copyright holder is presumed to be in the right, and it is then on the uploader to seek legal vindication before YouTube will consider overturning the Content ID flag. Needless to say, when the uploader is an individual professor and the “copyright holder” is a corporate entity, the corporate entity usually gets their way.

What is YouTube Content ID? 1

Final Thoughts

Content ID is far from perfect, but unfortunately, it’s the best solution there seems to be at the moment.

It’s worth remembering that people and companies who take someone to court will often sue for the most they can get, and when the person on the other side of the copyright dispute is an average individual who might have uploaded one infringing item, there isn’t much in it for the copyright holders to justify going to court, so they settle for blocking or taking YouTube revenue.

However, if YouTube were responsible, and it was they who would be taken to court in a copyright infringement case, the copyright holders would be rubbing their hands together at the thought of a substantial pay day.

And if the infringing uploads weren’t stopped, YouTube would soon turn into a black hole of legal expenses.

In other words, without Content ID, we could be looking at a bleak future where uploading on YouTube is so restrictive that the platform would be a shell of its former self, if not closed down altogether.


Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books?

“The video was taken down due to copyright infringement”. This is a phrase we have heard any number of times about a video that is no longer available on YouTube.

What does it usually mean? Why do videos get taken down? If I read a book on BookTube, will the video get taken down?

Wait, BookTube?

You read that right. BookTube is the unofficial name for YouTube channels that discuss everything bookish.

BookTubers upload videos about their favorite books, favorite authors, characters, reading habits, and anything related to books. Book clubs like Bookmarked have channels that discuss books monthly.

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books?

BookTube is now so popular that publishing houses have even taken notice of it and they use it when considering what marketing strategies they will use for their books.

Coming up with something creative takes up a lot of time, energy, and even money. Original work is often like a child to the creator and they naturally feel very protective of it as a lot of work has gone into producing it.

Often, creators don’t mind sharing their work for no pay, as long as they get credit for it. However, many people intend to make money or make a living out of their creations and therefore they protect it as one would protect a house or a car. It is their intellectual property.

This applies to films, songs, and written materials like books. This is where copyright comes in.

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books? 1

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a collection of rights automatically owned by a person who originally creates an original work, for instance, a song, movie, book, or even software.

The rights include the right to distribute the work, make copies, reproduce it, derive other works from it, and make money from it. Copyright law exists to encourage creators to produce work by ensuring that their work is protected from theft and that they can make money from it.

It encourages creativity and makes available these creative works to the general public. For a piece of work to be protected by copyright, it has to be:

Creative: It must be innovative.

Original: It must belong to the person. It cannot have been copied from somewhere else.

Fixed: It must be affixed to some medium of expression. It should be available for viewership and should have the ability to be reproduced.

If you came here finding an answer to whether you can make videos from published books, you have come to the right place.

So, Can I Make YouTube Videos from Books?

Published books are copyrighted material, and so you are bound by the very grey areas of law. By the strict black and white wording, blindly reading a book on camera – no. But if you get permission from the owner to make an audio/video version of the work, then – yes!

So really the question should be: to what extent can I use this book in my channel without breaking the YouTube copyright regulations?

Remember that original work is important to the creator and you have to respect their intellectual property rights.

Still it is sometimes possible to use copyrighted material without infringing on the owners’ rights. Before we get into this, we should understand a few concepts about copyright.

Fair Use

Simply put, fair use is a set of exceptions to copyright restrictions. It’s like an open backdoor into a locked room.

These exceptions allow people to use copyrighted material without attracting the ire of copyright police. The fair use lines are, however, blurred, and sometimes it takes a judge to define whether a particular case is a fair use or a violation of copyrights.

To be on the safe side, if possible, get a lawyer to look at your content if you can. Note that the information given here does not constitute legal advice.

Some common guidelines usually given when considering whether something is fair use are:

What You Are Doing With the Content

If you are going to change the content substantially, you may fall into the fair use category. For example, parodies can get away with using copyrighted material, because they change the original content by ridiculing it.

Sometimes parodies even generate more views for the original content. Mashups of songs involve combining different songs in a creative way to make up a relatively new song, so they can also fall under fair use as they significantly change the original versions.

Criticisms or reviews of books or movies can also be fair use provided the critic uses very short clips of what they are reviewing.

The same goes for giving a video or book tutorial with commentaries. However, it all still boils down to creators. They can still complain to YouTube if they feel that their rights have been infringed on. If you aren’t so sure, ask a lawyer.

The Nature of the Content

Non-fictional or factual material is more frequently allowable under fair use than fictional, original material.

How much of the Original Material you are Using

You should use just enough of the material to make your point. Too much would be a violation.

Still, according to YouTube, sometimes even a small amount of the original work can be considered a violation if it constitutes the very core of the work.

For example, if you wrote a work of fiction based on a powerful evil ring that must be destroyed, you would be using the central theme of JRR Tolkien’s entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, even if your story is completely different.

Will it Substitute the Original?

If your work will lead to reduced sales or views of the original material it will definitely be considered as an infringement and will not be protected under fair use.

As mentioned earlier, fair use is complicated. Videos that have complied with fair use can still get reported for infringement and the uploader usually has to defend their work. They have to be really sure of their case.

Some myths about fair use exist and it is important not to get taken in by them in order to avoid an infringement claim.

It’s not Infringement if I Give Credit

Crediting the original creator does not protect you from copyright violation. This cannot be your only claim to your video’s eligibility.

Still, even if your work falls under fair use and is not an infringement, it’s always good to credit the original creator.

It’s Alright if I Use Less Than 30 Seconds of Copyrighted Material

There is no specific amount of duration of content used given for something to fall under fair use. As mentioned earlier, it just has to be reasonable.

It’s Not Fair use if I’m making money out of it

As long as your content falls under fair use, you can still make money out of it.

It’s Fair Use If It’s Only For Entertainment or For Non-Profit

This does not automatically give you fair use status. A court will look at each situation before deciding, always with the interests of the content owner in mind.

If your content reduces the creator’s target audience it won’t matter whether or not you intend to profit from it. Out it will go.

Adding My Original Material to Someone Else’s Copyrighted Work Makes It Fair Use

Adding some original material of your own to someone else’s work does not automatically make it fair use. This is because it still may not substantially change the original, and may in fact make it look worse, hence affecting the creator’s target market or reputation.

I can Decide Fair Use for Myself

Fair use has many grey areas, so it would be risky to push your boundaries as this may get you into trouble with YouTube.

In certain cases, however, when copyright owners demand for videos to be taken down, YouTube protects the content creator under fair use guidelines, for the purposes of encouraging creativity and educating on fair use. This video is an example of such a case.

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books? 2

So, Can I Use Books on my YouTube Channel?

When YouTube was formed, it was originally meant to be a content sharing platform. For years, users uploaded videos containing both original content and content owned by third parties.

Although this attracted a lot of backlash from creators, it took quite some time for YouTube to develop its copyright policy. In the meantime, many people became famous for videos that contained third party content.

One example is Alex Day, who would post videos of himself reading large chunks of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books and making funny and sometimes derisive comments about them.

A blatant copyright violation.

His videos eventually got taken down once the platform’s copyright policies came into effect. These policies changed how people uploaded content about books as they could no longer read out texts without violating the policy. Even if they credited the authors.

However, some channels have managed to maintain their success. KidTimeStoryTime and Brightly Stories are two such examples.

Their success is due to the fact that they have collaborated with the copyright owners when producing their content. Both channels do read-along of books on their videos but with consent and in collaboration with publishers or authors of the books they feature.

It then becomes a win-win situation.

The channel can make money from the content they use, and the copyright owners benefit through the marketing of their books.

What Happens If I’m Accused of Copyright Infringement?

One of two things can happen if you violate someone’s copyright. These are discussed in the lines to follow.

Content ID Claim

Companies that own copyrights like music and film production companies issue Content ID for all the material they produce. This enables them to quickly identify their content on YouTube. YouTube has a system that scans every video uploaded against an existing database submitted by copyright owners.

If a match is found, YouTube will automatically file a copyright claim for the original content owner. If it was a mistake on your part, you can appeal on those grounds to YouTube. Still, the final verdict will lie with the copyright holder.

If they insist and can prove you have infringed their copyright, you will have to take down the video, or have it taken down by YouTube.

Is It Legal to Make YouTube Videos from Books? 3

Some content ID claims will only prevent material from being available in some parts of the YouTube community, or may allow it to remain on the platform but insist on directing any revenue earned by the video to the copyright owner rather than the uploader.

Sometimes the phrase “included copyrighted content” will be displayed with the video to track the video but not actually block it. It also does not negatively affect your YouTube status.

You’ll know of a claim against you in the copyright notice section of your channel’s video manager. In some cases, you get notified via email.

Take-down Notice

This happens when a copyright owner notifies YouTube of a copyright violation with legal consequences. If the complaint satisfies all legal requirements, YouTube takes down the video.

The video will display the phrase “Video taken down: copyright strike”. If you get three copyright strikes, you get a lifetime ban from YouTube. Yikes. Worse, even after that, you would not be able to recover your videos.

Once you get a copyright strike, YouTube requires you to take a short course and do a quiz on copyright regulations to refresh your memory. Something else to note is that a strike doesn’t last forever.

It usually lapses after six months, and once that happens your slate is clean. Still, you don’t want to have a reputation as a copyright violator. Lastly, you can still negotiate with the copyright owner to keep your video up with certain conditions, such as limiting viewership in certain regions.


Always keep in mind that the YouTube algorithm is very good at finding copyright violations, including something as simple as background music.

Although you can licence music much easier with companies like LickD who have a wide library of tracks to use – check out their site.

So even if the original owner doesn’t notice it, YouTube definitely will.

To have good standing in the YouTube community, make sure you avoid getting caught on the wrong side of this law. It’s usually fairly easy to get permission from a content owner to use their content if you ask nicely and can prove that your use of their content will not in any way hinder the distribution of their work.

So go ahead and make those books, but be careful, and remember, when in doubt, ask a lawyer.

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.


What Is Fair Use On YouTube? – Copyright Fair Use For Dummies

What Is Fair Use On YouTube? — Fair Use For Dummies // Fair Use on YouTube Explained. Fair Use is a US loophole that allows you to use clips of copyrighted material as long as you follow certain guidelines. Fair Use explained and simplified into 3 core points.

1–80/20 Rule — Use more of your OWN content than anybody else’s.

2 — USE MULTIPLE SOURCES — If you can reference more than just one person or clip to illustrate your point then that shows them you are being fair.

3 — CREDIT THE OWNER — Make sure you name drop or name the original content creator in the video or description.

YOUTUBE TIPS — FACEBOOK SUPPORT COMMUNITY GROUP — https://www.facebook.com/groups/1887378077953745/


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Alan Spicer YouTube Tips Channel — YouTube Tricks, YouTube Tips & YouTube Hacks to Help Grow Your YouTube Channel. I make YouTube Training Tutorials based on my personal experience on How To Increase YouTube Views, How To Gain YouTube Subscribers and How To Grow A YouTube Brand Online.

I have been on YouTube since 2013 growing an Entertainment and News Channel, MrHairyBrit. Within that time I have made many mistakes but have also learnt many YouTube Hacks that I want to share with you to help you Rank Your YouTube Videos On YouTube, Grow Your YouTube Channel and Get Your Brand Noticed On YouTube.

I also have a background in Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, and Web Design & Development.

We can grow together, We can learn together… Start Creating!

NEED HELP GET IN TOUCH — Alan@HD1WebDesign.com


Note — Some of my links will be affiliate marketing links. These links do not affect the price of the products or services referred to but may offer commissions that are used to help me to fund the free YouTube video tutorials on this channel — thank you for your support.