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Usage policies and match policies

The features described in this article are available only to partners who use YouTube's Content ID matching system.

There are two categories of policies:

  • A usage policy is a policy you associate with a video that you upload yourself or manually claim.

  • A match policy is a policy that YouTube’s Content ID system associates with a video it identifies as matching the reference file for one of your assets.

If you are not registered for YouTube’s Content ID system, all of your policies are usage policies.

Usage policies and match policies differ in how they get associated with the video (by you or by Content ID), not in what they do. Both consist of if-then rules that determine whether to monetize, track, or block the claimed video. In many cases, the very same policy serves as a usage policy for your partner-uploaded videos and as a match policy for user-uploaded videos.

Using auto-claim criteria

Because Content ID associates match policies automatically, a match policy can include auto-claim criteria in its rules. A match policy can monetize, track, or block a claimed video based on:

  • The location of the viewer (the only criteria available for usage policies)
  • The type of content that matches your reference file: audio only, video only, or both
  • The amount of the uploaded video that matches your reference file, specified as a length of time like 2:13 (two minutes and 13 seconds) or as a percentage like 80%
  • The amount of your reference file that matches the uploaded video, as a length of time or a percentage

Policies can also route the claimed video for a manual review.

Only match policies can use auto-claim criteria. You can’t associate the policies with videos that you upload, nor with user-uploaded videos that you claim manually using the descriptive search tool.

Example custom policies

The sections below describe the policies to create in different scenarios.

Set different usage policies in different territories

I want to monetize my video in the US, block it in Australia, make it available for free in Japan, but don’t own it anywhere else.

First, make sure that you set ownership of your asset to the US, Australia, and Japan, and set Block outside of ownership on the claim for your uploaded video. Next, create a custom policy that has three if-then rules, all based on the condition Viewer location

Condition Action
(1) If the Viewer location is United States Monetize the video
(2) If the Viewer location is Australia Block the video
(3) If the Viewer location is Japan Track the video
Create a reference file for Content ID matching only, with no publicly viewable video

I am uploading a reference for Content ID to claim user-generated content, but I don’t want anybody to be able to view the file I upload.

You don't need a policy in this scenario. Deliver the reference video using a Reference Only spreadsheet template or the Content and Rights Administration XML feed. Alternatively, you can set the uploaded video to Private

Allow short fan-uploaded clips

I want to run ads on fan-uploaded videos containing clips shorter than five minutes and block videos containing longer clips.

Create a custom policy that has two if-then rules based on the condition User video match amount.

Condition Action
(1) If User video match amount is less than 5 minutes Monetize the video
(2) If User video match amount is 5 minutes or more Block the video
Avoid claiming based on non-exclusive content

I want to upload a talk show or documentary film that includes clips that I don't own (public domain or owned by someone else).

There are two strategies for ensuring that Content ID claims videos based solely on the content you have exclusive rights for:

  • Create a custom policy that only matches videos that include a longer portion of your reference than the non-exclusive clips. For example, if the non-exclusive clip runs for 30 seconds, create a policy that only matches clips of at least 45 seconds.

  • Add reference exclusions for the non-exclusive content. 

Claim dubbed versions of my content

In most cases, you don't need to create special policies to claim dubbed versions of your audiovisual content. By default, match policies encompass both video and audiovisual matches.

You only need a special policy if you want to treat dubbed content differently from full matches; for example, if you want to set a different match threshold or apply a different action to dubbed versions. In this case, create a policy that has separate if-then rules for (full) audiovisual matches and for (dubbed) visual matches.

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