If your company invests time and money in the creation of professional business videos representative of its brand, imagine the frustration of discovering those videos stolen, re-uploaded without authorization, and monetized. Whether you’ve recently used the often said phrase, “Someone uploaded my video to YouTube!” or want to take proactive steps in protecting the copyright of your videos before there’s a problem, it’s time to take action.
Why would someone re-upload my business videos to YouTube?
Money. When your company creates videos people want to watch, whether because the videos are informative, entertaining, or for some other reason, someone else can steal and monetize those videos. Anyone can easily download your video, re-upload it to another channel or website, and monetize it. Unless you see the stolen video and report it, the person will continue generating advertising income each time it is viewed.
Why should I care if someone uploaded my video to YouTube?
Maybe you don’t mind someone else making money off of videos you worked hard to create but if the videos represent your company’s brand, you certainly care about your brand image.
As part of my work as an SEO Specialist, I optimize and monitor the performance of client videos. While doing so I recently discovered someone had re-uploaded numerous client videos to a YouTube channel. Some of the videos had the wrong titles, creating a poor viewer experience. Others showed the video content twice in each, making those videos appear poorly created. All of the videos were monetized.
You don’t want another company’s advertising shown before someone can view your video. Nor do you want your stolen videos on YouTube or any other site damaging the credibility and trust of your brand.
What can I do if someone uploads my company’s videos to YouTube?
It is illegal for someone to download your video and re-upload it without authorization. If the video is uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook, you can easily report it
To make a copyright claim on YouTube, click “More” next “Share” under the stolen video and then select “Infringes on my copyright.” This takes you to a YouTube page where you can submit a copyright takedown notice. Alternatively, you can scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page and click “Copyright”, and then submit a copyright infringement notification.
You must log in to your YouTube/Google account (YouTube is a subsidiary of Google) to submit the form. If you submit the form correctly with all information required, YouTube will remove the stolen video.
Service Providers Take Video Copyright Infringement Claims Seriously & Act Quickly
As part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), YouTube and other online service providers receive substantial protection from copyright infringement liability if they meet certain requirements, including implementing a system for reporting copyright infringement and terminating the accounts of repeat infringers.
YouTube removed more than 180 million videos in 2014 alone for violating its policies. Each time a video is removed from an account for copyright infringement, a “strike” is placed on the account. After 3 strikes, the account is canceled and all videos are taken down.
Only submit a copyright claim if you or the company you represent owns all of the video’s content. Also keep in mind you are initiating a legal process. If the person disputes the complaint by filing a counter notification, you could be headed to court to resolve the dispute and get the stolen video removed.
Sometimes a copyright owner can get a video removed by simply contacting the person infringing on the copyright. If you can find contact information, try it.
How will I know when someone uploads my video to YouTube or another site?
Often copyright owners never learn about the infringement. Occasionally, people familiar with a brand will notice an infringement and notify the copyright owner. But more often than not, it is up to you, the owner, to monitor and discover any video copyright infringement.
You can perform manual searches for your brand, video titles, and descriptions, but that would be too time-consuming to do on a regular basis. More practical methods include the use of social monitoring tools or signing up for Google Alerts.
You can create Google Alerts based on keywords, including your brand terms and any terms highly specific to your videos. When Google finds new results for those terms, it sends you email notification. Google offers several options for customizing your alerts, including limiting the results to videos, and offers tips for creating alerts here.
If your business is not already monitoring its brand mention, it’s time to start! Protect your rights and protect your brand online.