How to Protect and Monetize Your Videos With Youtube Content ID

A young woman watching videos on her tablet

Westend61/Getty Images

Internet marketers are known for producing great content for their fans, subscribers, and customers in a number of media formats. Increasingly, YouTube marketing is becoming a popular internet marketing trend, but some entrepreneurs remain reluctant to post video content online. They fear that their original and copyrighted videos will be stolen, plagiarized, or otherwise used by others without their permission.

In response, YouTube has created a system known as Content ID that seeks to protect video creators from being cheated. It allows you to manage your content as you want. Interestingly, Content ID has enough built-in flexibility to give you the final say on how your videos are spread.

The Basics

When your videos are uploaded, YouTube scans them into their huge database and compares them to content submitted by other content providers. Whenever there is a match, i.e. someone has uploaded a video that includes your material, you decide on the appropriate action to take. YouTube issues the offending party a Content ID claim, and you do one or several of the following:

  • Block a whole video from being viewed. As a copyright owner, you have the ability to block offending videos in specific countries or worldwide. Keep in mind that a global ban can affect the account standing of the offender, and limit that person's access to certain YouTube features. If you don't want your videos shared for any reason, this is a viable option.
  • Mute audio and various sounds. In the case of speeches, presentations, original songs, or background music, you can mute out anything and everything you want. It leaves the offender powerless to profit from your work and should encourage them to get rid of the video. If you are using watermarks with links back to your site -- this could be a good strategy to let people see the video with your link, but not be able to hear any of the content.

Note: Blocking can be platform-specific as well. For example, you can choose to block these videos from appearing on mobile devices, while leaving their availability through other applications and computers alone.

  • Monetize the video by running ads against it. It's only fair that you monetize videos with your material, at least until they are deleted or retired. You may even choose to leave these videos alone if you earn a steady income from them (see statistics below). If people want to repost your videos, get more traffic, and earn you more money -- all the power to them!
  • Track the video’s viewership statistics. In special circumstances, you may conclude that the extra views from unauthorized use of your video material are of net benefit. Use YouTube analytics to help you decide on the best course of action. Again, if other people are going to help you spread your marketing content and reach more people -- then why not?

Eligibility Criteria

Granted, not every internet marketer will need the Content ID program, nor be eligible to enforce it within YouTube. However, as you build up original content in your specific niche market and upload videos more frequently, this program does offer insurance that your branding and financial interests will come first in any copyright dispute.

What does a YouTube video marketer have to do to be eligible for Content ID? As defined by YouTube, here are the main criteria:

  • Evidence that the material is actually your copyrighted content, for which you maintain exclusive rights.
  • Completion and signing of an agreement with YouTube that only video with exclusive rights will be eligible for the program. This may include provisions for geographical viewing limitations (e.g. U.S. copyrighted, but not in Europe). For example, news websites like CNN may not allow non-U. S. browsers access to parts of their website.

Please note that other YouTube options like its copyright notification form or Content Verification Program (CVP) may be more appropriate for your situation.

Final Thoughts

YouTube Content ID can be considered a safety mechanism for owners of great video content against improper and unauthorized use. At the same time, it makes video marketers aware of the pitfalls associated with reusing another person's work. Hopefully, the end result of such measures is to encourage respect for marketing originality and creativity.

From a marketing perspective, if you're putting videos on YouTube then you are probably doing so because you want to reach more people and spread your message out into the world. If that's the case you may not need to be so worried about others reposting and sharing your content as it only aids you in achieving those goals.

If you're using YouTube video marketing as part of your online marketing mix then you'll also be interested in learning how to use YouTube Cards in your video marketing.