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TIPS & TRICKS

Do YouTubers Need a Business License?

Many YouTubers find themselves caught off-guard by the realities of their success. It is one thing to get millions of views on a viral video and achieve a brief moment of Internet fame, but it is quite another to start making good money as a result of that success.

As much as people in certain parts of the political spectrum may be unhappy about it, we each live in a society that requires certain things of us, namely contributions to that society in the form of taxes. In an ideal world, we would all voluntarily contribute, but the reality of human nature means that governments have to take steps to make sure we all do our part, and business licenses are part of that system.

What is a Business License?

Before we get into this, we should point out that business licences are primarily a United States thing, with India also using them. We will do our best to explain the purpose of a business licence, and for those of you living in countries or regions that don’t use them, you should be able to identify the equivalent systems where you are.

Business licences are required for any… well… business. The precise nature of these licences will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as well as depending on what the business actually does. Businesses are required to pay business taxes, and licences—which are essentially permits—are part of establishing what taxes that business should pay.

Do YouTubers Need a Business License?

There are three answers to this question; yes, no, and yes with an asterisk. Let’s start with the easiest one of these to answer.

If your YouTube channel does not make any money, you are not required to have a business licence for it. There may be some uncommon situations where this is not the case, however.

For example, if your YouTube channel involves owning or renting premises, or any kind of disruption to the local area, you will almost certainly need a business licence regardless of whether you make any money.

The chances of any of that being the case for a YouTube channel that is not already established and profitable, however, are very slim. For most people if, their channel is not making money, they won’t need a licence.

Now, onto the definite yes.

If your channel is making a lot of money, you almost certainly will need a business licence if you are in a part of the world where business licences apply.

But what about that yes with an asterisk?

Now, let’s be absolutely clear; this is not a business advice blog.

You should absolutely check the laws in your locality before making any decisions about things like business licences. That being said, it is worth noting that there has to be a reason for a government agency to come after you. If you make enough without paying taxes, they will notice. If you cause disruptions for your neighbours, and they report you to the authorities, you may bring attention to your YouTube shenanigans. In most laws, if you have a venture that makes any money at all, you should be getting a business licence for it, but the reality is that it is unlikely you will get in trouble if you are only making pennies.

But just to reiterate, the law typically doesn’t deal in likelihoods. If you get caught making pennies that the authorities don’t know about, you will still get in trouble.

Other Systems

There are, of course, many different systems in place across the world—the United States alone has different rules from state to state—so naturally, we can’t cover them all. One particularly relevant example for an English-speaking YouTube audience is the United Kingdom. Here there are no business licences, but you would be expected to declare yourself as a sole trader if you are making money, and become VAT registered if you are making a lot of money.

Do YouTubers Get Paid for Views?

What Counts as Making Money on YouTube?

This may seem like a bit of a silly section to include, but it is worth pointing that government organisations do not let you off if you play dumb or claim that you have only committed a minor crime.

All of the money you make is, legally speaking, supposed to be declared to your government. It doesn’t matter to them whether that money came as result of the YouTube Partner Programme, Super Chats, merchandise, Patreon, or anything else.

In other words, if you get a business licence for your YouTube channel, you can’t just declare the earnings that come directly from YouTube and hope to play ignorant if the government finds out about your Patreon.

Should I Apply For a Business Licence Straight Away

If you are not making money or doing anything that would warrant being classified as a business, there is no sense in rushing to getting a business licence. They are not prohibitively expensive, but they do cost money. And the process of getting one is rarely long or complicated. After all, business licences are essentially a means for taxing you, and governments aren’t in the habit of making it harder for them to get your money.

How Do I Make Money on YouTube?

All of the above may feel a little like getting ahead of yourself if you’re not sure how to make money on YouTube in the first place. Broadly speaking, it is a case of more views equals more money, but there are a few steps along the way to making that happen.

YouTube Partner Programme

Unless you have a compelling reason not to, your first goal should be to become part of the YouTube Partner Programme. There some requirements for doing this, but one of the advantages is that qualifying for the Partner Programme means you have reached certain milestones that show you are on the right path. Those requirements are;

  • Adhere to YouTube monetisation policies
  • Be in a region where the Partner Programme is available
  • Have at least 4,000 hours of valid public watch time over the last year
  • Have at least 1,000 subscribers
  • Have a linked AdSense account

Once you meet that criteria, you will be able to apply to the Partner Programme and, in the vast majority of cases, you will be accepted. From then on, YouTube will begin showing ads on eligible videos, and splitting the revenue generated from those ads with you.

Memberships

If and when you manage to build up a loyal audience, you can start to look at memberships as an option. If you are eligible, you can use YouTube’s built-in membership platform to do this, but there are also services like Patreon that can enable you to do this as well.

The premise is simple enough; users contribute a recurring amount to you to support your content, and as an added sweetener, you can offer exclusive content and other perks to encourage viewers to become members.

Merchandise

Merchandise isn’t for every channel, but for those that it is a good fit for, there are plenty of third party options, as well as YouTube’s own partnership for eligible channels. On-demand services mean you can offer merchandise without having to buy the stock in advance yourself, which significantly reduces the barrier to entry.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a way in which you can leverage your existing content by providing links and offers to your viewers which you get commission for. The most commonly used example of this is Amazon, where channels that review products or talk about new tech or similar can link off to those products through their Amazon affiliate links and earn a little money any time someone buys something through those links.

Affiliate links are handy because they can be used in a range of situations by a variety of channels. For example, a channel about improving your YouTube content might not have anything to sell, but they can leave a list of the equipment they use as affiliate links for people who are interested in using the same gear.

Final Thoughts

Business licences (or the equivalent for your jurisdiction) are the kind of thing that, practically speaking, won’t apply to most YouTubers. Sadly, the vast majority of YouTubers either don’t make any money from their channel, or they make so little that they’re probably never going to have to worry about the IRS paying them a visit.

That being said, if you earn any money from your YouTube channel, you will almost certainly be expected to declare that money to the government. While it’s true that you probably won’t have to worry if you are only making a few dollars here and there, you are still technically obliged to declare that money, and as such, legally in the wrong if you don’t.

Given the reach of YouTube and the many differences between states and countries, it is impossible for us to fit all of the relevant laws and regulations into one post. Always check your local laws and make sure you adhere to them. If you take your chances by not getting a business licence when you should, you do so at your own risk.

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.

Categories
TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

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.

Conclusion

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.