Major players like TikTok, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitch have started cracking down on copyright infringement found on their platforms. Policies are getting stricter, and thousands of content creators have either lost advertising money, gotten their channels terminated, or even found themselves in court for copyright violation. While most cases are unlikely to get that far, understanding how each platform enforces its policies can help you protect your work in the long run.
Unfortunately, DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and copyright guidelines can be confusing and vague. There are a lot of gray areas, like live streaming, that leave creators confused and vulnerable to channel suspension. Even if you implement measures to avoid copyright issues on your videos, something can slip through the cracks and leave you vulnerable to legal action. Fortunately, there are precautions you may want to take to avoid sticky situations.
In this article, we’re going to run through copyright guidelines and policies for Youtube, Twitch, TikTok, and Meta (Instagram and Facebook). Slip.stream’s goal is to arm you with the knowledge, resources, and — of course — music so you can continue creating inspiring videos worry-free.
What Is Copyright Infringement?
Before we can dive into the policies of specific platforms, it is important to understand what copyright infringement is and how it can impact your channel. Copyright refers to the legal protection of original works, in this case, music. When someone uses copyrighted material without the appropriate permissions, they are infringing upon the original creator’s copyrights. Although there are exceptions to how you are allowed to use copyrighted content, violating a platform’s policies can result in muted or removed videos, as well as the termination of your channel in extreme or repeated cases.
How Do Social Media Platforms Enforce Copyrights?
Each platform has its own set of rules and procedures for enforcing the acceptable use of copyrighted material, but they all follow the same core principles. In most cases, you will receive a warning after the first copyright claim. The number of warnings and what happens after each will depend on where the video is posted and how much of the content is protected by copyright.
Compared to the other platforms listed in this article, TikTok is the newest on the scene. Its copyright policies are ever-changing as the app garners more attention. Unlike the other platforms in this article, TikTok was founded with an explicit tie to music (as the second iteration of the dance-app Musical.ly) so it has prioritized deals with distributors and labels to license music on the platform. However, that is not to say that the app is fully licensed. In fact, there are many independent artists that have filed DMCA claims directly to TikTok.
What Is a TikTok Copyright Claim?
A copyright claim is a notification that creators receive when they use copyrighted material without the proper permissions. When a copyright claim is submitted to TikTok, there is a board of IP (intellectual property) specialists that will review the claim and remove the content if they identify a violation.
How does TikTok enforce its copyright policies?
As a TikTok user, you are accountable for the content you post. TikTok has a music library that provides royalty-free music, but anything off-catalog used without the rights holder's permission is at risk. It’s unclear whether there’s a formal algorithm or process that warns users of any infringement before any takedown. Unfortunately, TikTok’s policy is also somewhat vague. What is clear is that TikTok accepts removal complaints for DMCA violations, but only those submitted from copyright holders, their attorneys, or agencies. If a rights holder files a complaint, TikTok is required to remove any relevant infringing content. If they see multiple violations on your page and deem you a continuous risk, they may terminate your channel with very little warning.
YouTube’s penalties are comprehensive and strict as they have one of the most advanced algorithms to track copyrighted content. YouTube has had years to develop and perfect a fingerprinting system called Content ID. This algorithm scans videos and streams for images, sounds, and songs that match those in its massive database. If it finds a match, it may take down your VOD(s), file a claim, or issue a strike on your channel.
How Does YouTube Enforce Copyright Policies?
Similar to a TikTok copyright claim, this is essentially just an automated ‘heads up’ that your video was flagged by Content ID. Based on the preference selected by the rightsholder, YouTube will either give the owner the right to track, monetize or block your video, but will not issue a copyright strike. If you think YouTube made a mistake, you can file a dispute.
A strike is more severe and comes straight from the rightsholder as a DMCA complaint. And a strike WILL have a negative impact on your channel since your video will be taken down. Your access to live streaming and monetization can be disabled for up to 90 days. If it's your first strike, these privileges are restored within a week and you'll need to complete YouTube’s “Copyright School”. But if you get a second strike, YouTube is likely to block your access for a longer period.
Aside from waiting it out, you also have the option to request a retraction from the rightsholder or submit a review in case you think your video qualifies for fair use (read more here.) It’s important to note that all strikes expire after 90 days.
If you receive a third copyright strike before the first two have expired, YouTube will terminate your account and delete all of your uploaded videos. You will also be prohibited from creating any new channels. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do in this situation, except submit a counter-notification if you think this is a mistake.
Because live streams happen in real-time, you won't get a Content ID claim until after your stream has ended (and if you keep it as a VOD). YouTube does, however, scan live streams for copyrighted content. If copyrighted content is detected, it may replace your stream with a placeholder, and warn you to stop streaming, or even interrupt or terminate your stream.
Instagram and Facebook
Meta’s equivalent of Content ID is the Rights Manager Tool. This essentially monitors copyrighted video content uploaded to all its social networks. Like Youtube, this system works to block, mute, or take down any videos that match content found in its reference database. This database is part of the platform’s Creator Studio which, like Youtube, gives rights-holders the opportunity to monetize, track, or whitelist various uses of their IP.
How Does Meta Enforce iIts Copyright Policies?
Meta is vigilant about monitoring live video as well as VODs. Using music without the right permissions often results in your broadcast being muted or even blocked. Remember, this can happen unintentionally if you have background music in your stream. It’s also worth noting that Meta has guidelines that factor into what warrants a muting (i.e how much of the total video has music, how many songs are featured, or feature duration of said song). The details of this, however, are unclear. Using royalty-free music does guarantee that your stream will never get muted.
When the Rights Manager identifies content that matches the copyrighted content of a rights holder, the video may be demonetized. In this case, your video could also be muted, but even if the mute is lifted, your video will remain demonetized. You can file an appeal if you think this is a mistake. Read more about demonetization here.
Meta’s strike system applies to any violations on the platform (copyright-related or not) so it can be a little confusing. But, if a rightsholder files a complaint against your content, Meta states that they will remove it, and apply a strike. But they also say “whether (they) apply a strike depends on the severity of the content, the context in which it was shared, and when it was posted.”
Generally, however, all strikes on your channel expire after a year and Meta’s strike system goes as follows:
One strike: Warning and no further restrictions.
Two strikes: One-day restriction from creating content, such as posting, commenting, using Facebook or IG Live, or creating a Page.
Three strikes: 3-day restriction from creating content.
Four strikes: 7-day restriction from creating content.
Five or more strikes: 30-day restriction from creating content.
If a person repeatedly posts content that violates IP rights (more than five counts), then their channel will be reviewed and at risk of termination.
Following a massive wave of DMCA takedowns in 2020 and 2021 — where thousands of videos with copyright infringement were suddenly deleted — Twitch updated its policies to be stricter in tracking copyright infringement on the platform.
They now rely on the third-party system Audible Magic to proactively detect any copyrighted material flagged in VODs. This software scans VOD and clips for copyright content, and if anything is flagged, that section of infringement is muted. That said, moments do inevitably slip through, which is why streamers continue to receive so many DMCA takedowns.
How Does Twitch Enforce Its Copyright Policies?
If Audible Magic detects multiple instances of copyrighted audio in your VOD(s) in 24 hours, you will receive a warning to your channel and email. These notifications aren’t strikes, although accumulating more than three could put your channel at risk.
Twitch’s enforcement of copyright is vague and difficult to navigate. The platform’s DMCA guidelines state that a repeated infringer is someone that’s received more than three copyright strikes, and accruing three strikes results in the termination of a user’s channel. However, the stages between a warning and a strike are unclear. What is clear is that if a rights-holder submits a DMCA complaint to the platform, Twitch is required to remove the relevant content and “may disable a live stream and/or suspend an account if the claimed infringement is continuing at the time (they) receive the rights holder’s notification.” As we said, confusing.
When it comes to Twitch the best option is to air on the side of caution. Relying on Slip.streams’ catalog means you can continue creating without the looming stress that your hard work could be suddenly deleted.
FAQs About Copyright on Tik Tok, YouTube, Twitch and Meta
What Happens If You Get a Copyright Claim on TikTok?
If your TikTok video receives a copyright claim, it will be reviewed and either muted or removed by TikTok. Both you and the rights holder will be notified if the video is a violation and action is taken.
How Do I Avoid a Copyright Claim?
You can avoid copyright claims on any social media platform by only posting original content. If you do use someone else’s content, be sure to get permission before posting. If there is any doubt, use royalty-free music to avoid copyright violations.
Does Copyright Claim Affect Views on TikTok?
Because a copyright claim can result in the removal of your video or sound, it can impact views. The rights holder can also restrict the video so that it will not appear on certain devices or in specific countries.
Slip.Stream Can Help
You’ve probably realized by now that copyright law is a dense and confusing topic. Not to worry - Slip.stream has 65,000 royalty free tracks to use 100% for personal creators, also offers affordable plans for business use and freelancers. Get started free today!