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A copyright strike on YouTube

A YouTube copyright strike is a copyright policing practice used by YouTube for the purpose of managing copyright infringement and complying with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[1] The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is the basis for the design of the YouTube copyright strike system.[1] For YouTube to retain DMCA safe harbor protection, it must respond to copyright infringement claims with a notice and take down process.[1] YouTube's own practice is to issue a "YouTube copyright strike" on the user accused of copyright infringement.[1] When a YouTube user has three copyright strikes, YouTube terminates that user's YouTube channel, removes all of their videos from that user's YouTube channel, and prohibits that user from creating another YouTube channel.[1][2]

YouTube assigns strikes based on reports of copyright violations from bots.[3]

Some users have expressed concern that the strike process is unfair to users.[4] The complaint is that the system assumes guilt of YouTube users and takes the side of copyright holders even when no infringement has occurred.[4]

YouTube and Nintendo were criticised by Cory Doctorow, a writer for the blog Boing Boing, due to them reportedly treating video game reviewers unfairly by threatening them with strikes.[5]


Reasons for strikesEdit

Disagreements about what constitutes fair useEdit

Fair use is a legal rationale for reusing copyrighted content in a limited way, such as to discuss or criticize other media. Various YouTube creators have reported receiving copyright strikes for using media in the context of fair use.[6]

Suppression of criticismEdit

Various YouTube creators have reported receiving copyright strikes on videos which are critical of corporate products. They claim that a claim of copyright violation is actually a strategy to suppress criticism.[7]

Strikes for posting own workEdit

Copyright strikes have also been issued against creators themselves.[8] Miracle of Sound's channel was hit with multiple copyright strikes as a result of automated strikes by the distributor of their own music.[9]

Strikes for works in Public DomainEdit

In a similar incident to such strikes, though in another forum, Sony issued an automated copyright strike against James Rhodes for a video on Facebook of him playing part of a piece by Bach, on the grounds that they owned the copyright on a similar recording, and when the strike was challenged, asserted that they owned the rights to the work, before finally admitting that Bach's compositions are in the public domain. [10]

Strikes for unknown reasonsEdit

Lots of publishers on YouTube report not understanding why they have received strikes.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Electronic Frontier Foundation (6 February 2009). "A Guide to YouTube Removals". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Copyright strike basics". YouTube. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  3. ^ Douglas, Nick (24 January 2018). "You Can't Fool YouTube's Copyright Bots". Lifehacker.
  4. ^ a b staff (21 May 2010). "Is YouTube's three-strike rule fair to users?". BBC News. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  5. ^ Cory Doctorow (Mar 27, 2015). "Youtube and Nintendo conspire to steal from game superfans". Boing Boing. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  6. ^ Alexander, Julia (3 April 2018). "YouTubers voice concerns over hefty Universal Pictures copyright strikes". Polygon.
  7. ^ Eordogh, Fruzsina (1 September 2018). "TikTok's Owners Falsely Copyright Strike Criticism Of App". Forbes.
  8. ^ Weiss, Geoff (6 July 2018). "YouTube Guitarist Claims He Got A Copyright Strike For Infringing Upon His Own Song - Tubefilter". Tubefilter.
  9. ^ Doctorow, Cory (5 September 2018). "The future is here today: you can't play Bach on Facebook because Sony says they own his compositions". BoingBoing.
  10. ^ Klepek, Patrick (27 October 2015). "Atlus Keeps Hitting Tiny YouTube Channels With Copyright Strikes". Kotaku Australia.

External linksEdit