Best practices for references

For Content ID to match content as efficiently and effectively as possible, it’s important to maintain active and valid reference files. Without this maintenance, you run the risk of account penalties, negative PR for your company, and time-consuming clean-up projects.

Use the best practices listed below to successfully maintain your reference files:

Deliver proper, distinct reference files

You must have exclusive rights in one or more territories to the reference files you deliver. If a reference is identified as potentially invalid and risks generating invalid claims, you’ll get a notification in Studio Content Manager. Learn how to validate potentially invalid references.

Keep in mind that the following content types aren’t eligible for Content ID matching:

  • Embedded third-party footage
  • PD content
  • Non-exclusively licensed content
  • Sufficiently indistinct or sound-alike content (like karaoke recordings or remasters)
  • Overly generic content

Learn more about content eligible for Content ID.

Include complete and valid asset metadata

When a YouTube uploader gets a Content ID claim, they need sufficient information about what content is being claimed and who the content owner is. Because of this, references must have complete and valid metadata.

  • All assets must include an informative title (not “Track 4” or an internal serial number, for example).
  • Recorded music assets must also include artist and record label information.

Exclude segments with third-party content

You must have exclusive rights to the references for which you turn on Content ID matching.

If your reference includes third-party content, such as public domain footage, you should exclude those segments from Content ID match consideration. Other examples of third-party content can include short clips used under fair use principles, commercial breaks, or non-exclusive audio loops.

You can deliver reference exclusions using either a CSV template or a DDEX feed.

Set up custom match policies

Match policies specify what action Content ID should take with claimed videos. You can set up custom match policies that tell Content ID to automatically claim videos based on the:

  • User video match amount: Length or percent of the uploaded video that matches your reference file.
  • Reference match amount: Length or percent of your reference file that matches the uploaded video.

You can also select the option to route claimed videos for manual review so you can manually process any potentially questionable matches. Going through this process can also help you identify any potentially invalid references. Learn more about creating policies.

 Use full-length files

It’s recommended you use full-length files, rather than clips, as your reference files. Full-length references result in higher monetization rates and more effective Content ID matches.

If your full-length reference includes third-party content, such as public domain footage, you should exclude those segments from Content ID match consideration.
Note: You can deliver a full-length reference even when you don't want the entire content viewable on YouTube. The reference is not a publicly viewable YouTube video.
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