Posted December 10, 2013 3:17 pm by with 8 comments

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youtube monetizationI don’t post a lot of videos to YouTube but what I do post is almost always related to TV. I post videos of TV show swag, clips of actors at conventions and sometimes I post DVD or website reviews. I don’t use unauthorized clips, photos or music. I monetize my videos like any good marketer should and I’ve never had a problem.

Until now.

Last week I got this email:

We have not been able to confirm your commercial use rights to all the elements of your video.

We may consider your video(s) for further review provided you verify that you are authorized to commercially use all of the elements of your content. This includes all video, images, music, video game footage, and any other audio or visual elements. Learn more

Please note that YouTube reserves the right to make the final decision whether to monetize a video, and we may disable monetization for partners who repeatedly submit ineligible videos. All videos are subject to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, and may be removed from the site if they do not meet those standards.

Please submit your additional information below:

Remember that a variety of factors, such as video performance, may affect review time. We may not be able to process every submission, but we continually monitor these factors and prioritize accordingly.


The YouTube Team

The video in question is just me using a screen-recorder as I visit a few of my favorite Etsy stores. That’s against the rules? And how can I prove I have “commercial use rights” to a video I made? Do I actually need the permission of the Etsy store owners in order to legally post images of their public pages? And even if I’m in the right, the last paragraph makes it clear that it might not matter. I’m not a big fish so they’re not likely to get to my rebuttal soon.

No biggie. I moved on.

Then I found another one. This time there was no email. There was simply a green exclamation mark in the video manager. This video was an overview of Pretty Little Liars swag that ABC Family sent me. I’m sure it’s my use of TV show names in the titles that are causing the flag to run up the pole – but if that’s the case then I might as well give up now. If I can’t monetize the videos that go with my TV site. . . well, it won’t be the end of the world for me but apparently I’m not alone in this.

TubeFilter posted this today: “YouTube Is Suddenly Flagging A LOT Of Videos For Copyright Claims.” They believe it’s related to a previous announcement about YouTube pre-scanning all partner videos for violations before okaying monetization. (I guess before now they were doing it after the fact.) But I’m not affiliated with any YouTube partner program so clearly this issue is more widespread.

To make matters even hinkier, TubeFilter says that popular video game channels are getting flagged by third-party people who aren’t even the copyright holder. That sounds like a declaration of war between channels.

Copyright holders have a right to protect their materials. I’m on board with that. I understand the problems with using someone’s music or video or images without permission. But the line between okay and not okay is simply too blurry. ABCFamily hands out swag to promote the show. I film the swag. That’s not a violation of their copyright. Do I have a right to make two cents on that video? Why not. I took the time to create a presentation and post it.

Am I missing something here? As it stands, if YouTube doesn’t do a better job of defining the rules, all I can do is keep posting my videos and hope for the best. Yuck.

If I was making a living on YouTube, I’d be very worried right now.

  • Apollinarius

    Youtube needs some competition really badly… This would never fly if there was another video site people could upload to.

    • They do, its call dailymotion which has been around since 2005 and was the #1 video site between 2005-2009, but now in second place and still going strong and they have copyrighted agreements where if only the owner contacts you , it will be removed. Just come to dailymotion 🙂 also DM has customization , something youtube does now. Just click on my profile to see my link and how nice it looks.

      • I discovered DailyMotion after getting the above email when I used Creative Commons licensed music in my videos. Seems like I get more views and revenue on DailyMotion than YouTube.

      • Viliami Tuanaki

        Are you sure it was the #1 video site between 2005-2009?

        • Viliami im celebritygamer, and yes it was i believe. Now its second place and still holding on strong. customization, banners, colors, groups, video spotlights, better quality, faster playback, site is just overall better.

          • Viliami Tuanaki

            I only found out about it in 2013, YouTube was the only site I knew. I just thought that if YouTube was the #2 video streaming site then I would’ve known about #1.
            Youtube’s content ID system is really bad now and YouTube’s customer service is impossible to contact so I hope everyone on YouTube moves to another site(like dailymotion), so that YouTube knows what it’s done wrong.

    • Heartofdarkness

      Here is another new video site – site is mostly for the South Asian visitors though.Its a moderated site and only allows premium contents.

  • James Cobalt

    The system is full of abusers. It’s effectively ineffective and a huge waste of time and loss of money for content creators.