How To Win Copyright Takedown Claims Without A Lawyer

How To Win Copyright Takedown Claims Without A Lawyer

There are content creators on YouTube wondering if they should fight their cases that will arise concerning a copyright takedown or copyrighted content used in their videos for commentary, parody, criticism, or educational/informational purposes only, and they still can not monetize the video.

Or if it was mistakenly removed for a copyright content ID claim by YouTube or a company outside of YouTube. The answer is yes, you should fight those cases, but only if your video follows particular guidelines that I will explain to you in detail. 

You can write all of this down or save this article as a favorite so you can constantly be reminded what to do if something like this happens. I see that there are content creators online explaining all of the different types of copyright claims that will happen to content creators on YouTube, and some will explain how there is nothing that you can do to fix the issues, but there are ways to improve it; however, you must understand what guidelines you must follow for the issues to be corrected in your favor. 

Now, you may be asking how I know what to do when you are looking at the subscribe count of my podcast channel, but don’t be fooled. My main channel has over five hundred thousand subscribers and is about seven years old at the time of this recording. 

Over the many years, I have been a content creator on YouTube, I have encountered times when YouTube would only remove my video from my channel with an explanation. At the beginning of my main channel, which I mentioned has over 500k subscribers, YouTube would pull my videos that accumulated millions of views without providing me a reason by email or any other type of communication. 

A year or so after that, YouTube began sending emails to content creators when their videos were removed from their channels, but they failed to explain why. The emails were just notifications stating that they had deleted your video. A year after that, YouTube improved its system a little bit by adding various reasons why it would remove a video. They made us take classes or acknowledged emails that detail why a video can and will be removed from a content creator’s channel. 

This was a good sign that YouTube was trending in the right direction, but there were still times when content creators would have their videos removed, and the explanation given by YouTube either didn’t make any sense or it did not fit the accuracy of the discrepancy or did not apply to the video in question, or the algorithm mistakenly judged it under a false pretense. 

I recall YouTube adding in what I call the street lights to inform uploaders if their content passes an algorithm check to see if their content does not violate any policy YouTube has. The street lights are small indicators beside the uploaded video, ranging from a green money sign to a yellow money sign, to a red money sign that is slashed, or just a red copyright sign. If they added another indicator that I didn’t mention, it is because I wrote this on November 11th, 2023. 

I take it that you all know what these street light signs mean; if not, then I’ll simplify it by saying that the green sign means go, the yellow sign means slow down to a stop, and the red sign means stop and do not go, just like a street light would mean the same thing. 

So, I want to go over the guidelines you should follow before sending in an appeal to a copyright strike or copyright takedown you received on your video uploaded to your YouTube channel. 

First, I can tell you right now that this does not work if you simply re-upload someone else’s content in full. You are not allowed to clone someone’s video or clone someone’s channel and think that it is fair use. It does not work that way, and your channel will be removed for impersonating someone else. 

Also, you are not allowed to re-upload someone’s copyrighted content or material on your channel without written permission from the copyright owner. YouTube will request to see your proof; otherwise, you will receive a copyright strike or a copyright takedown, and the video will be removed from your channel indefinitely. With that out of the way, let’s get to what you can do.

Suppose you have created a video, and 90% of that is all your content, but the rest features copyrighted content owned by a company or someone other than you. You added your voice to the video as commentary, and your voice is used throughout the video. You comment on a subject correlating with the copyrighted content you inserted into 10% of your video. 

In that case, you have created an entirely new video, also known as transformative, and the copyright owner can not claim that you are infringing their rights because the Fair Use Act protects your use of their copyrighted content. 

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The Fair Use Act allows the use of copyrighted content for limited or transformative purposes only. This means that only specific types of work or content can be considered fair use. These types of work are generally educational/informational, commentary, criticism, and parody videos. You must know this law by understanding what you can and can not do. 

The term “transformative” is a term that generally refers to the content creator making an entirely new body of work or content that did not replicate or duplicate the copyrighted content or material used within the content creator's work, content, or video. In other words, it must be an entirely new video in which the majority of the content consists of material the creator owns, not the copyright holder of the copyrighted material used in smaller portions of the video. For example:

Let’s say you are a content creator who reviews copyrighted movies, and you would like to upload your reactions to particular parts of a copyrighted movie. It would only be considered fair use if you, the content creator, provided commentary throughout the video in this situation.

Let’s say that only 10 to 60 seconds of the copyrighted movie was used to emphasize a point made by you, the content creator, and you received a copyright takedown or a Content ID claim for this particular video. 

You could file an appeal only if you know that:

  1. The video you created contains tiny portions of copyrighted material. This means you have made short clips of the copyrighted material edited inside your video.
  2. Your use of the copyrighted material does not display the work as it was initially shown to viewers. Meaning that you have made significant changes to the material used.
  3. It is not displayed in half the length or the entire length of your video. The length of copyright material you used is essential to note, and I will explain why in a second. 
  4. Your video falls into one of these categories: commentary, educational/informational, criticism, or parody. And there's nothing wrong with doing all of them simultaneously. 


Now, when you file the appeal, you must know that YouTube has changed its process over the years, and this may not be the same process if you are listening to this recording after this year, which is 2023; however, the information to use inside of your appeal can still be used, which is the essential portion to include in your appeal to YouTube. 

For a video that has been demonetized due to a Content ID claim, and only if you meet the guidelines I mentioned earlier, you want to file an appeal and include the following points inside of your statement to YouTube and to the Copyright Owner. 

Be advised that the Copyright Owner will see this statement, but that is what you want to happen anyway because it forces them to choose whether they want to take you to court for copyright infringement or release the rights for using their copyright material to you.

Inside your statement, you want to write that your statement constitutes a counter-notification and that you are the video's uploader. You want to mention how your video was disabled from monetization due to a mistake and misidentification of the content, which violates the legal doctrine of the Fair Use Act per United States copyright law. 

You want to write out the categories of the law by saying that copyright material may be used for teaching, research, or criticism without permission of a copyright holder. Then, describe your video in a brief analysis style, up to two sentences. 

State that the video includes small portions of copyrighted material that may be owned by the claimant, and insert their company’s name, then say, however, that the content was strictly used for research, teaching, and critiquing purposes only.

You want to mention the length of the entire video, then provide them with the length of the copyrighted material by saying that the…however long video…includes copyrighted material by the claimant, which is a brief clip or clips ranging from whatever seconds to whatever minutes during a short portion of your commentary.


Reassure them that your video is, for example, commentary by explaining what subjects you would typically comment on strictly for critiquing in one sentence. Then, state how the erroneous claims made by the claimant violate the principles and purposes of the doctrine of Fair Use, which provides means for teaching, research, and commentary and critique utilizing small portions of copyrighted material. 

Then state that Fair Use principles allow the reproduction of minor amounts of published work for teaching and researching and that Fair Use protects all of the material used in your video per U.S. copyright law. 

And that’s it. Seriously. That’s it. The copyright owner has seven days to respond to YouTube with a lawsuit filed against you, risking hundreds of dollars just for a judge to throw out the claim because of the Fair Use Act, or they will allow you to monetize your video with their copyrighted material inside. 

This method also works for a Copyright Takedown made by a large corporation.  Do not be intimidated to do this with large companies either; I recently did this same thing against a large television show production company called BBC Studios that had my video immediately removed, claiming that it can not be shown in the United States, and I filed my appeal, they released their claim in less than 48 hours. 

Learn you; YouTube forces these companies to have lawsuits filed in seven days, or the video will be reinstated automatically; that’s not to say that companies can not move fast with filing a copyright lawsuit; that’s to say that these companies will see that they will not win in court once they are forced to review your video to know that you are following the guidelines of the Fair Use Act to the fullest. You are protected by U.S. Copyright law, which forces them to release that demonetization or copyright takedown claim, and you’re back to making ad revenue from that video. 

And no, I am not a lawyer providing legal advice; I am just a seasoned content creator on YouTube providing educational and informative content to viewers like I usually do. 


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