You put in all of the work of producing a video for YouTube, posted it and then spent lots of time spreading it around so that people know it is there. You are happy with the amount of views, and are seeing that YouTube videos are a great way of advertising your products and services. Then one day you search on YouTube for something that describes your video and are horrified to find your video has been copied and is on other people's YouTube channels. Worse yet, they are monitized so that they show ads on the videos, and they are ads for your competitors! What do you do now?
Video copyright theft is actually far more common than you would think. Basically the view of the thief is "why should I spend the time and effort to produce something of my own, when I can just copy another person's work and earn clickthrough revenue from it?" The process of copying YouTube content is literally as simple as going to any number of websites and filling in the address of the video, then uploading the content to your own channel. It is also completely illegal.
When a company that does YouTube video marketing for clients, they know a thing or two about the process of making videos for marketing purposes, and as a result we are quite protective of the work that is done for clients. The process is painstaking, from video production to editing to viral seeding. If the video does "go viral" as is the dream for any marketing campaign, then it gets seen by far more people, and far more people who want to steal it for themselves. Our company produced some of the most popular waxing videos in YouTube history for Wax Hair Removal Bar, a small waxing salon in Las Vegas and Vancouver. Even though the video is age restricted by the client's own choice, because the service itself is only available to those over 18, it professionally shows their services in a promotional way. With more than 100,000 views every month and more than two million views in less than six months, the series of videos that was produced over the course of a six hour video shoot is very popular, and has been being copied many times since the videos "went viral." What follows the work of producing the videos is the work of protecting your copyrighted content. Luckily, YouTube makes copyright violation reporting very easy for video owners. The process of reporting copied videos may be easy, but owners must be diligent to search for copies of their videos online in order to report them. YouTube does not know the video is a copy of yours until you tell them.
The procedure for reporting copyright violations on YouTube is very simple. When you find another channel has copied your video simply go to the video and let it play. Under the video and below the title and number of views you will see a small flag on the right hand side. If you mouse over the flag it will say "report." Clicking on the flag will bring up a series of options, with different issues. If you choose "infringes on my rights" then one of the next options will be about infringing on your copyrighted material and copying your video. Go through the series of options to best describe the situation and then fill in the fields where it asks for the url of the infringing video as well as your own url of the video that was copied. You can also add more videos to the list if you have found many copies floating around (we will find upwards of five copies every month of our most popular videos.) The last part of the process is to check the boxes that you understand that you are submitting a legal request and then digitally sign the request with your name.
YouTube is very serious about copyright violation on it's space, and will generally address the issue within a few days, either following up with you or simply removing the violating copies of your video from their server. This will not stop the process, as more people will continue to copy your work if they think they can make money off of it. It is good to do a scan of YouTube about once a month to see if any new violations have popped up.
Raymond Santopietro is the lead strategies for Focus Internet Services, providing video marketing, web design and seo for businesses.