You put your YouTube channel at risk every time you upload a video with media you don't own the copyrights to. But, here is your guide for how to minimize that risk in 2017.
Using copyrighted music, movies and video games on YouTube has always created challenges for creators facing potential content id claims and copyright strikes.
See how we are helping YouTubers grow their channels - http://clientsincoming.com/academy
Can you be sued for using copyrighted material? Yes, but it's not very likely as long as you follow YouTube policies and laws governing its use.
What's the first thing I should do when starting my channel?
Answer: Instead of asking "what?' Ask "why?" Why do you want to start a YouTube Gaming Channel?
Next, I recommend you do some heavy research to ensure you are making content that people want to see. You can have the greatest value proposition in the world along with the most professionally produced content and still not get many viewers or subscribers if you are making content that nobody wants.
Does [insert game developer or publisher] allow gameplay uploads and monetization?
Answer: Everything I know on this subject can be found at alloyseven.tv
What do I need to send to YouTube when I get a Content ID Claim or if they ask me to prove that I have permission from the copyright owner to upload copyrighted gameplay material?
Answer: The best information you can send YouTube is the actual permission language written by a copyright owner's legal team. Some developers and publishers are awesome enough to publish this on their website (Activision-Blizzard, Microsoft, etc.). When they do, copy and paste the pertinent language as well as the link to the page where it's published into YouTube's form. When copyright owners don't publish it, you can do one of four things:
1. Ask the copyright owner to send it to you in writing on their letterhead (email won't suffice)
2. Ask the copyright owner to publish permissions on their website
3. Dispute the claim stating that you have permission and the name of the person that sent it to you
4. Do not dispute and leave your video un-monetized.
How do other channels seem to get away with monetizing videos that YouTube won't let me monetize?
Answer: There are many reasons why this may be the case. They may have contact with the copyright owner that you do not have. They may be a managed partner at an MCN and thus not scrutinized as severely when it comes to monetizing their work. It may not be THEM that's monetized the video as the copyright owner could have claimed it and monetized it themselves.
Do my gaming videos have to include commentary for me to upload and monetize them?
Answer: This varies from copyright owner to copyright owner. Mojang (Minecraft), for example, require that you add something to your videos to make them your own. Other copyright owners do not enforce similar standards. Just be careful if you choose to go the "no commentary" route as YouTube may consider the video to be in breach of Fair Use and YouTube standards.
Can I upload and monetize game footage from really old games?
Answer: I think what you all really meant to ask here was, "do I still have to get permission to upload video game footage from really old games?" The answer is, "maybe." If your video adhere's to YouTube's policy outlined here, then you probably don't need to get explicit permission. But, having permission is always a plus if you are a new channel and YouTube's "trust" algorithm is still feeling out your content.
Can I upload gameplay videos if I don't monetize them?
Answer: Maybe. In short, monetizing and uploading are two separate issues. Your videos have to meet certain requirements whether you monetize them or not. YouTube's policy for uploading and monetizing without explicit permission is found here. You can also check out my Can You Upload Videos Using Copyrighted Material if I Don't Monetize them video below.
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