This guide is to help you understand the rules of copyright. Please note that this is not considered as legal advice. The following information is just a guide to help you understand the do-s and the don't-s of copyright.
- Thumbnails: Do not add people or graphic content to your video thumbnails without the person’s or content provider’s permission. For example, a picture of a celebrity placed on your thumbnail to attract viewers is not acceptable without that person's permission.
- Remixes: Remixes are not acceptable. Never use commercial songs, clips, or remixes. Your videos cannot contain any part of the original sound recording (even 1 second). Changing the tempo of the original work, adding a different beat, or editing a small part of the song does not make it okay to use that content. Remixes are only acceptable if permission (to upload and monetize) is obtained from the artist or record label with the original song as well as the artist who remixed the song.
- Free Downloads: It is not acceptable to use free downloaded music from websites like Sound Cloud without written permission (to upload and monetize) from the content owner. For example, iTunes has free downloads, but that does not mean that you can upload and monetize that content.
- Licensed Music in a Game: Licensed commercial music, even if it is embedded into the product, is not acceptable. In-game audio is okay, but only if that music is not licensed from an artist. For example, the Grand Theft Auto series would not be okay to upload due to the radio station feature they have and they embed real artists within their content which may not be okay for users to upload and monetize. There is a difference between in-game music composed by a game developer and music recorded by an artist and used in a game. Having music recorded by an artist within your video may result in a copyright strike or an automated content ID match.
- Mix and Match Music within Games: It is not acceptable to mix and match music from one game to another. For example: It is not allowed to use Super Mario music in a Battlefield 3 video.
- Real Life Sports: Sports clips are not acceptable, not even for a few seconds! Adding commentary does not make it okay. Companies pay big licensing fees to show sports clips in their videos.
- TV, Movies, and Trailers: It is not acceptable to upload TV or movie content unless you have explicit written permission from the content owner to upload and monetize the content. Game trailers are absolutely not acceptable to use unless you have written permission from the content creator to upload and monetize all of the content that you are uploading.
- If you upload content that is not yours, you need to have written permission to distribute that content. If you want to claim content that is not yours, you need written permission for both distribution and commercialization of that content.