As part of YouTube’s updates to their YouTube Partner Program and Google Preferred programs this month, there is also an important change to how YouTube will treat user-uploaded videos that use your copyrighted content. Please read on for more details.
In an effort to alleviate advertiser concerns around brand safety, YouTube will no longer serve ads on claimed user-generated content (UGC) until it has been manually reviewed and confirmed as suitable for advertising by YouTube’s staff. This policy may have a negative impact on copyright holders that derive substantial revenue from other people using their copyrights in fan-uploaded YouTube videos. This would apply to record labels that have songs that are frequently used as video soundtracks, as well as video creators that see their videos frequently reused in reaction videos, mashups, and highlight reels.
Prior to being reviewed manually by YouTube, these videos will not serve ads though they will still generate subscription revenue through YouTube Red. Once they are reviewed and manually confirmed as brand safe, ads will be eligible to appear. YouTube will use a number of signals (primarily views and view velocity) to help prioritize these videos for manual review – so popular videos will get reviewed more quickly than long-tail videos that don’t accrue many views. YouTube will manually review these videos as they see fit, so no action is required by the owner of the copyrighted content. In other words, there’s nothing copyright owners can do to prompt a manual review of UGC using their copyrights.
If you earn a significant amount of revenue from UGC videos that don’t rack up a ton of views, this is likely to impact your YouTube earnings. While this new change will be a blow to companies that rely on fan-uploaded content to make money, it underscores why it’s important to build your own channel and create a comprehensive video strategy to keep viewers engaged with your content. We’ll keep you posted on additional details of YouTube’s monetization changes as details emerge, and in the meantime feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your video monetization strategy.