Why Did YouTube Flag My Video for Content ID Match?
Content ID Match is finally getting some much-needed changes, but it's still the bane of game streaming channels everywhere. You've probably seen notices that content has been “flagged for a content ID match,” and if you've been on the receiving end of that, you know it can be a confusing and frustrating process.
Let's talk about how Content ID works first, then go into why flags are thrown.
Content ID Match is an automated system, for the most part. Organizations and individuals can use Content ID Match to scan videos on YouTube (passively) for content (data, bits) which matches allegedly copyrighted and owned content. This is often abused, with actors completely unrelated to the game or content at hand attempting to lay siege to creator earnings with short-lived content ID claims. It's also legitimate at times, though. Using an unlicensed song in a kill-streak montage could get the content flagged on grounds of copyright infringement for the song's copyright holder. This will do one of two things:
(1) Remove your ads from the video and replace them with the alleging party's ads, giving them revenue for the video.
(2) Remove the video, if the offense is great enough and the alleging party demands this action.
Thankfully, content creators can respond by disputing a claim. It's often the case that the Fair Use section of Copyright law gets cited, but we won't discuss that here. If you challenge the claim, currently, that claim is held for a full month or until the alleging party backs off. At either point, the claim is removed, the flag removed from the account, and the content is allowed to be monetized again (but not restored by default, and requires your input manually to re-enable monetization). This is rough because content ID filers can receive all your revenue for a full 30 days, assuming you haven't actually infringed on content (again, music, re-uploading clips of movies or game trailers, etc.).
A Legitimate Claim Might Be Because...
Legitimate claims can happen because of, most commonly, matched music content (songs to which you hold no rights) or matched video / video game content (some game publishers require a revenue share to cover their games).
To some extent, partner networks will resolve some of these issues by often granting access to libraries of licenses that the partner network or MCN already holds. Generally, if you're monetizing your videos, it's a good idea to avoid using music or video content owned by somebody else. Try to keep it entirely original.
An Illegitimate Claim Might Be Because...
The system messed up and has flagged your content inappropriately (maybe you're under fair use, maybe it's just a false positive). Consider options to dispute or recreate the content, then move from there.
Someone has wrongfully claimed the content and is attempting to take monetization from videos using said content. This is common. Fight it and get your monetization reinstated. Unfortunately, until the new system rolls-out for everyone, this does mean that you'll briefly lose monetization during the period of the dispute.
The “Why?” boils down to the fact that Content ID is largely automated, and claims do not necessarily stem from someone who's out to get you – it could be a one-time ding from the “robot” system. The alternative explanation, of course, is that some people cheat the system for their benefit – but YouTube is making moves to resolve that:
“Today, we’re announcing a major step to help fix that frustrating experience. We’re developing a new solution that will allow videos to earn revenue while a Content ID claim is being disputed. Here’s how it will work: when both a creator and someone making a claim choose to monetize a video, we will continue to run ads on that video and hold the resulting revenue separately. Once the Content ID claim or dispute is resolved, we’ll pay out that revenue to the appropriate party.
“We’re working on this new system now and hope to roll it out to all YouTube partners in the coming months.”
Until that point, the above information will hopefully demystify the process to some extent.