Did Someone Steal Your YouTube Video?

It’s undeniable that YouTube has grown to become an incredibly powerful and popular platform. This is true not only for “YouTubers” who are concerned about demonetization and remonetization, but for anyone who uploads videos to the site. We’ve talked at length about all sort of features, like how you can write a great video description and how to use cards. We’ve even looked into how you can spy on the competition, but what happens when someone else rips off your video and reuploads it as their own?

While you may have been on the receiving end of a copyright notice as a content creator, what happens when you’re on the other side of that relationship? It would be impossible for you, as a single human being, to scour the millions of videos uploaded to YouTube every day to see if anyone stole your content. You can submit a DMCA takedown notice when you see another site scrape your blog content, but what about your YouTube videos? How do you go about doing that?

As it turns out, this feature is already built right into your YouTube dashboard.

How to Check for Content Thieves

The first thing you’ll need to do, obviously, is log into your account on YouTube if you’re not already logged in. Navigate to your YouTube Studio dashboard, as you normally would. By now, you should be somewhat familiar with the basic layout. All the main navigation is along the left side. If you scroll a bit down this list, past the analytics, comments and subtitles, you’ll find Copyright. Click on that.

When you access this part of the dashboard for the first time, you’ll be presented with an information page that explains what this tool is all about and how it works. Agree to continue on to the next step.

YouTube Studio will then show you a list of all the videos where a content match has been identified. By default, the videos with the most views are shown at the top of the list. You’ll see the title of the offending video (with the title of your video below it), the total views the offending video has received so far, the date it was uploaded, the channel where it was uploaded, and the percentage match, as well as a few key frames from the video so you can see what the matched content looks like.

I’ve had a YouTube account for many years with varying levels of success, so it’s not at all surprising that some of my videos have been copied. A few of these are okay, as they’re videos I actually made for a previous client (mobilemgazine). The others are completely unauthorized. As you can plainly see with the second video on the list, there’s a 100% match on some Russian channel, completely ripping off my video tour of the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

How to Request Video Removal

To the right of the frame images are a few icons. The first one is a folder. Click on that one and the copyright match will be archived. The second one is an octagon with an exclamation on it. That’s the one you click to request video removal. The third icon is an envelope. That’s the one you use if you want to contact the channel’s owner directly and work out your arrangement with them directly.

You can select multiple videos to request removal all in one go, or you can do them individually. The process is identical. Once you click on the blue “Request Video Removal” button, you’ll be taken to this short form to fill out about your copyright claim.

It’s pretty straightforward. Indicate that you are the copyright owner, enter your name, phone number and address, confirming that you want to proceed with the copyright claim.

Toward the end, you have the option to choose between a standard (default) or a delayed takedown. With standard removal timing, the infringing video will be taken down immediately after YouTube validates the claim. The other channel may receive a copyright strike. With scheduled timing, the other channel owner is given 7-day notice.

Type in your name as a digital signature, submit the form, and you’re done.

Check for Scrapers Regularly

It’s very important to note that it doesn’t really matter how popular your YouTube channel or videos are. The people who go about scraping blog content do the same thing with YouTube videos. They just want the “free” video to put up on their own channels.

To this end, depending on how many videos you have and how frequently you upload, you will want to include this copyright check as part of your regular process. I’d check in at least once every few months, if not more frequently if you see it pop up more often than that.