I 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.
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.