How to Avoid YouTube Copyright Strikes

So you want to make sure your YouTube content doesn’t infringe copyright. If you’re going to make YouTube videos, it’s important you don’t incur the wrath of the dreaded YouTube copyright strike. Three of those babies and your channel will be closed. So let’s talk about three ways in which you can ensure that you’re making use of creative commons and royalty free content in your videos.

How to Avoid YouTube Copyright Strikes

First things first, Music. This is perhaps the most problematic issue facing many content creators on YouTube. If you need royalty free, creative commons music, there’s tons of tracks available in the YouTube creator tools’ audio library. Lots of good tracks with all sorts of genres included. You could also consider buying high quality tracks from the likes of

These are the kinds of tracks you can use and still monetise your video. However let’s say for example, you want to make a beautiful music montage video and you’ve got the perfect pop music track in mind to use by a well known artist, but you’re worried that you’ll get a copyright strike. First thing to understand is that if you use a pop song by a mainstream artist, you can’t enable it for monetisation. You won’t make a penny off it.

But the question is, which popular tracks can you use that won’t land you a dreaded copyright strike. YouTube now has a new ad-supported music tab in the audio library that lets you see hundreds of famous songs you can use without gaining a strike. You will however get a Content ID match, which is really just a gentle warning saying that you acknowledge this track isn’t your own. Think of it as the little brother of the YouTube copyright strike. Your account will remain in good standing.

Not all tracks can be used in all regions, some are blocked in certain countries, so click on the track to learn more about its playback status. The copyright owners will also slap ads of their own on your video, meaning they will earn money from it and not you.

Next up, if you need to use images in your videos that you don’t own, make sure they are from the public domain, that means that they are free for you to use in your videos. The use of Public domain, creative commons content ensures that you can proceed with monetising your video without any fear of getting a YouTube copyright smack down.

You can consider purchasing royalty free images from the likes of shutterstock, Big stock photo or iStockphoto. Alternatively, if you want to go down the free route, there are websites such as Pixbay, which offer some free creative commons images. Their selection isn’t huge so it’s worth buying some photos and images occasionally. In addition, you could go to Google Images, under search tools, navigate to usage rights and select “labelled for reuse or reuse with modification”. These images are good for you to use in your YouTube videos.

Finally if you need creative commons video sequences, do a search on YouTube for the kinds of videos you need and under the search filter, select “creative commons”. You can download these videos and use them in your video and even monetise the video afterwards.

However, be advised, some loose-moraled individuals steal videos, reuploading other peoples videos as their own and place them in the status “Creative commons”. So be careful and always check and double check that the creative commons video you’re downloading really belongs to that particular channel. Check out some of their other videos on the channel, cross-reference the channel name to any other identifying elements in the video like an intro etc, or contact them directly to confirm. When you use any creative commons videos from YouTube, make sure to always include a credit or a link to the original video creators in the description box.

Thank so much for reading this article, if you’d like to get my help personally with developing your YouTube channel and growing your YouTube business, contact me at to arrange a professional 1 hour Skype session with yours truly.

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