What To Do If You Get A DMCA Notice For Your YouTube Video

What To Do If You Get A DMCA Notice For Your YouTube Video

Getting a DMCA takedown notice can be scary for any YouTuber. A DMCA notice means someone has requested your video be removed from YouTube for copyright infringement. If you get one, it’s important not to panic. There are steps you can take to address the notice properly while minimizing disruption to your channel.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know if you receive a DMCA notice from YouTube. We’ll cover:

Common Issues

Copyright infringement

The most common reason for a DMCA notice is including copyrighted content in your video without permission or a legal defense like fair use. This includes music, video clips, images and more. Using small amounts under fair use is usually fine, but larger usages can trigger notices.

Disputing fair use

Sometimes you may believe your video falls under fair use, but the copyright holder disagrees and files a DMCA notice. Determinations of fair use can be complex.

False claims

In some cases, DMCA notices are sent in error or even fraudulently. However, you must still respond properly.

Channel strikes

Receiving multiple DMCA notices can result in channel strikes from YouTube. Three strikes in 90 days leads to your channel being removed.


Check if the notice was valid

Confirm the notice contains the required elements: identification of the copyrighted work, a statement of good faith belief of infringement, and contact information for the complaining party.

Remove the infringing content

To comply fully with the notice requirements, you must remove the infringing content claimed in the notice. This also minimizes further action from the copyright holder.

File a Counter-Notice

If you believe your video was removed incorrectly, you can file a counter-notice with YouTube after removing the content. This initiates a legal process under the DMCA between you and the copyright holder.

Consult an attorney

Speaking with an intellectual property attorney can help you strengthen your fair use arguments or defense against invalid DMCA claims.

Be careful re-uploading videos

Even if you file a counter-notice, re-uploading identical or similar content can lead to additional notices or channel strikes. Consider modifying videos to address the copyright concerns.

Prevent Channel Strikes

Channel strikes don’t expire, so accumulating multiple DMCA notices can put your channel at risk even if they are spread out over time.

Respond promptly

The faster you act, the less likely the copyright holder is to escalate to giving your channel a strike.

Stay organized

Keep track of DMCA notices you receive, your responses, and details about the videos in question. This creates helpful documentation if disputes continue.

Informal resolution

You can try reaching out politely to the sender explaining your position in hopes of reaching an informal resolution and getting the notice retracted.

Preventative Measures

Understand fair use thoroughly

Familiarize yourself completely with fair use principles and best practices for your content area before incorporating copyrighted material.

Audit existing videos

Review your current video library for any that could draw infringement complaints and consider proactively removing or modifying them.

Dispute invalid notices quickly

Don’t allow false claims to remain in place unchallenged, or the copyright holder may continue targeting you.

Give proper attribution

Even with fair use, properly crediting any copyrighted material makes your case stronger and prevents many notices.

Purchase licenses

Services like music libraries allow you to access and license copyrighted songs legally for your videos for a fee.

Leverage free use content

Billions of works are in the public domain or released under Creative Commons licenses allowing reuse with certain rules.

Insure yourself

Media liability insurance can cover costs arising from copyright disputes over your videos, but excludes intentional infringement.

Consult an attorney

Getting guidance from a qualified attorney can help ensure you stay within your rights and have a strong defense against overreaching DMCA takedowns.


What are the penalties for copyright infringement?

The penalties for willful copyright infringement beyond DMCA notices include fines up to $150,000 and jail time up to 5 years for a first offense. However, most disputes never reach this level if handled promptly and reasonably.

Can I get sued over a DMCA notice?

Yes, some copyright holders choose to escalate from DMCA notices to filing a federal lawsuit. Fair use and other defenses may still apply in court. Receiving a lawsuit does not necessarily mean you are liable for damages.

Are DMCA notices on YouTube public?

No, DMCA notices themselves are only visible to the recipient and YouTube. However, if you share a video stating it received a notice, that would make the situation public.

Can I get a “strike” removed?

No, copyright strikes on YouTube channels do not expire or get removed. This is why properly responding to DMCA notices immediately is vital to avoid accumulating channel strikes.

What happens after I file a counter-notice?

After filing a complete counter-notice, YouTube forwards it to the original claimant. They then have 10-14 days to provide proof of filing a federal lawsuit against you, or YouTube is required by law to reinstate the video.

I hope this comprehensive guide gives you greater confidence in addressing any DMCA notices that come your way! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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