You post a review of a movie on your YouTube channel, and next thing you know, 

you’re  hearing from  the studio’s lawyers  about how you’ve infringed  on their 

copyright and you’re about to get sued if you don’t take the video down.

What can you do?

More than you think.

One experienced YouTuber offers his advice on how to handle YouTube copyright 

disputes. 

How long have you been on YouTube and how many copyright claims have been 

filed against you?

I’ve  been on  for 10 years  full time, and  I’ve been hit with  over 1,000 copyright 

claims. Most people are shocked by this and think this many claims would put me out 

of business. 

videodashbb

But here’s the thing – I’ve successfully beaten every single claim that I disputed. 

Notice I said I won everyone that I disputed. When I was just getting started, I made 

some stupid mistakes, using copyrighted songs. Instead of disputing those, I simply 

deleted the videos. 

Why have there been so many copyright claims against you?

I do movie reviews – a LOT of movie reviews, and sometimes I like to use movie 

clips inside my reviews. 

Are there certain types of clips that tend to be flagged more often than others? 

YouTube uses a program called Content ID Match to help users discover if their 

content  is being  used by someone  else. I’ve found that  audio triggers Content ID 

match claims 4 times more often than video segments. 

And interestingly, footage from trailers always gets tagged. Which is why I’ve been 

hit so many times.

If  you want  to show copyrighted  work in a fair use context – avoid  pulling the 

source material from YouTube itself, like using a movie trailer clip.

Are some studios more aggressive than others? Which ones have been the hardest 

to deal with?

MGM rejects every dispute of mine automatically, without reviewing. This forces 

me to risk an actual copyright strike by appealing it. But at that point, they’ve always 

backed down.

There’s  another company  in Europe, GRUPA  BB MEDIA Ltd, that  handles 

international licenses for some American movies. They don’t understand fair-use law, 

so I’ve had to call them out on it and basically give them an education. 

It’s important to realize that you can still defend trailer footage as fair use. I’ve done 

it  probably  a thousand  times. But it  will almost always  trigger Content ID match 

claims, which forces you to go through the dispute and appeal process to defend 

your content. 

How do you successfully contest these claims? What’s the basis upon which you 

contest them?

When you get the copyright notice from YouTube, the next step is to file a dispute 

– it only takes about a minute and it’s really simple and easy. 

But here’s the thing – when you do this, you have to check a box that’s next to bold, 

intimidating, scary looking letters that say,” I understand that filing fraudulent disputes 

may result in a termination of my YouTube account.” 

This  is the  point where  a lot of YouTubers  get scared and back down  without 

defending themselves against what I think of as the content bullies. If you’re in the 

right and you know you’re in the right, you need to file your dispute. Don’t let these 

big companies steal your money or your hard work.

The weird part is, movie reviews – at least positive ones – HELP the studios to sell 

movie tickets. Yet their automatic systems are continually telling us to stop, and so 

we have to continually tell YouTube that what we’re doing is 100% legal. 

So, when you get to that scary, bold sentence about fraudulent disputes, and you 

know you’re in the right, just click the box that says, “I am sure that my video meets 

the legal requirements for fair use and I want to dispute the claim.”

What do you do after you tick that box?

Next,  you click  “continue,” and  on the next page  I copy and paste my  “fair use 

defense,” sometimes slightly modified for the particular case.

if-free-trial

I can’t tell you what to write here, because what you fill in will depend on what’s in 

question – a song? A video? Something you have a license to? Or simply a short video 

clip? 

You can find plenty of examples online for how to defend your particular case. 

Tailor  your defense  to what’s appropriate  for the claim. And save  that defense, 

because you will likely be able to use almost the exact defense the next time one of 

your videos is disputed.

After you do that, type in your digital signature and click “continue.”

Now you’re on a confirmation page. Click “Submit” and “Ok” and you’re done.

It’s that simple.

Can claims lead to termination of my channel? 

Absolutely not. I’ve routinely carried dozens at a time. You might stand accused, 

but according to YouTube, you are still innocent until proven guilty, and if you’re not 

guilty, then you have nothing to worry about.

How much time does it take for each dispute?

About 1 minute for each. That takes care of about 60-70% of them. The rest get 

denied at the dispute level, necessitating an appeal, which takes another minute or 

two. 

Over the course of 10 years, I’ve probably spent 24 hours total on these things. 

Generally, I just set aside a half-hour each week to stay on top of them, and that’s 

plenty.

Is there a lot of misinformation about YouTube’s copyright laws?

Yes,  I think  so, because  blaming YouTube  for a “broken system”  is easier than 

admitting it works remarkably consistently on millions of videos every day. 

Also, a lot of people confuse “receiving a match claim” with something far more 

serious, like an actual strike – which would require losing both the dispute and appeal.

Any last words of advice?

If you’re using something like a song for your background video music, make sure 

you’ve got permission. And keep good records of that permission, too.

If you’re using just a few seconds – basically sampling someone else’s video and 

giving attribution to the original creator, you should be fine. Mind you, I’m not a lawyer. 

But  ten years  on YouTube does  show that the system –  however scary to a 

newcomer – works.

Never be intimidated by a big company. They send out those notices automatically 

because the computer program flagged something in your video. You just have to 

respond appropriately, and you’ll be fine.

Study up on YouTube’s Content ID Match so you know how it works. It’s best to be

informed, so when you get your first dispute, it doesn’t scare you into deleting your 

video. 

I knew one guy who was so terrified to receive a dispute, he deleted his entire 

channel. Don’t be that guy.