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Tips on How to Avoid Copyright Strikes on YouTube

Jourdan Aldredge

Dec 20, 2022

We all know that YouTube has squarely cemented itself as one of the biggest online video sharing and social media platforms in the world. From self help videos for people locked out of their cars to indie filmmakers looking to launch their own lens review channels, everyone uses YouTube every single day.

But despite its huge popularity, there are still myths and misconceptions about how YouTube works in terms of using copyrighted assets and materials. And, in many instances, creators only do their research after they’ve received a copyright strike — or even worse — had their channel taken down.

So let’s answer some basic questions about how copyright strikes work on YouTube. And, in particular, how you can ensure that you’re using copyrighted music legally on YouTube with your own YouTube channel management.

So, how many copyright strikes on YouTube can you get?

To be as direct as possible here, the short and direct answer is 3. 

Getting 3 copyright strikes in the same 90-day period can result in your channel being permanently removed from YouTube. And it’s important to note that deleting any content with a copyright strike doesn’t remove the strike. Each strike you received will not expire until 90 days from the time it was issued.

This means that receiving 3 strikes in any 90-day period, regardless of whether or not you take the content down right away, or leave it up for several days, will still result in your account being permanently removed.

What happens when you get a copyright strike

So, now let’s move on to covering what happens when you actually get a copyright strike. Hopefully this is info you’ll never need, but in case you do find yourself in this scary situation, here’s what you should know.

Basically once you get a strike YouTube will send you an email. This message will include the following:

  • What content was removed
  • Which policies it violated
  • How it affects your channel
  • What you can do next

There’s also a chance that, depending on your strike and standing with YouTube, you might actually get a warning before you get an official first strike. However, if you do get a warning do not treat it lightly! If you violate the same rules (copyright or otherwise) you will not get another.

Here’s what will happen for each of the following copyright strikes:

  • First strike: you will not be allowed to upload or create new content for 1 week and other penalties will be evoked. After this 1 week period your full privileges will be restored, but the strike will remain on your channel for 90 days.
  • Second strike: if you get a second strike in the same 90 day period you will not be allowed to post content for 2 weeks. And if no further issues your privileges will be fully restored automatically.
  • Third strike: if you receive a third strike in the same 90 day period though your channel will be permanently removed from YouTube. 

That third copyright strike is quite scary indeed. As a YouTube creator, regardless of your level, having your YouTube channel permanently removed can be devastating. Copyright infringement is no joke, and any copyright claims with any videos uploaded should be treated with the utmost priority as you figure out how to follow copyright law and compensate the copyright holder.

What should you do when you get a strike or copyright claim

This is a great question and one which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even if you just get a warning, it’s imperative that you treat these strikes seriously as YouTube does not often go back on account removals.

From YouTube’s support page, if you do get a strike they suggest you remember to do the following:

  1. Learn about our Community Guidelines to make sure your content follows our policies.
  2. If your channel got a strike, and you think we've made a mistake, let us know. You can appeal the decision here.

From there it’s up to you to make sure your channel is following all of the community rules and guidelines, most specifically in terms of following the best copyright content practices which keep your account in good standing.

How to avoid copyright infringement on your YouTube channel?

So, here’s the question at the crux of this article: How do you avoid getting copyright (or other) strikes on your YouTube channel. The simple answer is to not use any materials which you did not create yourself, or you don’t own directly. And to follow the relevant community rules and guidelines for content of course.

At the end of the day, your YouTube channel will stay free of any copyright infringement, copyright strike, or copyright claim, only if you're sure your videos uploaded are 100% in the clear. So, avoid any copyright infringement liabilities by doing your diligence with your uploaded videos and video clips to make sure the copyright holder for any content is compensated — and avoid that dreaded third copyright strike.

However, it can indeed get tricky when you start trying to use different stock music, SFX, assets. But, luckily for you, we have some great resources available not only to help you understand what materials are allowed to be used, but we also have tons of awesome royalty free music and SFX which you can use by becoming a subscriber.