YouTube channel monetization policies

Updated October 2020: There are no changes to our processes with this article update. We have updated this page to improve transparency about our enforcement policies as well as our commitments to inform you of actions or changes that may affect you, such as future changes to our policies.

If you’re monetizing on YouTube, it’s important that your channel follows YouTube monetization policies, which include YouTube’s Community Guidelines, Terms of Service, Copyright, and Google AdSense program policies. These policies apply to anyone in, or looking to apply to, the YouTube Partner Program. 

If you want to monetize videos with ads, they must also meet our Advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

Here’s a quick overview of each major policy. Make sure you read each policy thoroughly, as these policies are used to check if a channel is suitable to monetize. Our reviewers regularly check to see if monetizing channels follow these policies. Learn more about how we enforce our policies.

What we check when we review your channel

Our reviewers check content that best represents your channel against our policies. Since our reviewers can’t check every video, they may focus on your channel’s:

  • Main theme
  • Most viewed videos
  • Newest videos
  • Biggest proportion of watch time
  • Video metadata (including titles, thumbnails, and descriptions)

The above are just examples of content our reviewers may assess. Note that our reviewers can, and may check other parts of your channel to see if it fully meets our policies. 

Follow the YouTube Community Guidelines

These guidelines help keep YouTube a great community for viewers, creators, and advertisers. Content that violates YouTube’s Community Guidelines is not eligible for monetization and will be removed from YouTube.
Anyone on YouTube needs to follow our Community Guidelines. Monetizing creators should know that our guidelines don’t just apply to individual videos, but to your channel overall. Below are the Community Guidelines that are most relevant to channels that can already, or want to monetize: 

Keep in mind that any content you post must follow all our Community Guidelines.

Follow AdSense program policies
AdSense allows YouTube partners to get paid for monetizing their videos. Make sure to follow the AdSense program policies and YouTube’s Terms of Service. AdSense content policies are extensive and include quality guidelines from the Webmaster/Search Console policies. We’ve highlighted some of the most relevant policies for YouTube creators below.

Repetitious content

Repetitious content refers to channels where the content is so similar, viewers may have trouble spotting the difference between videos on the same channel. This policy is based on the Search Console portion of AdSense program policies. We’ve put it in a context that’s more relevant for YouTube creators.

This policy applies to your channel as a whole. In other words, if you have many videos that violate our guidelines, monetization may be removed from your entire channel.

What is allowed to monetize

This policy makes sure monetized content offers viewers something appealing and interesting to watch. In other words, if the average viewer can clearly tell that content on your channel differs from video to video, that’s generally OK to monetize. We know many channels create content that follows a similar pattern. What’s important is that the substance of each video should be relatively varied.

Examples of what is allowed to monetize (including but not limited to): 

  • Same intro and outro for your videos, but the bulk of your content is different
  • Similar content, where each video talks specifically about the qualities of the subject you’re featuring
  • Short clips of similar objects edited together where you explain how they’re connected

Content that violates this guideline

When a channel’s content consists of very similar content, that can frustrate viewers who come to YouTube for appealing and interesting videos. That means channels where content is only slightly different from video to video are not allowed to monetize. In other words, your channel shouldn’t consist of content that’s automatically created or produced using a basic template. 

Examples of what’s not allowed to monetize (this list is not exhaustive): 

  • Content that exclusively features readings of other materials you did not originally create, like text from websites or news feeds
  • Songs modified to change the pitch or speed, but are otherwise identical to the original
  • Similar repetitive content, or mindless content with low educational value, commentary, or narrative
  • Templated, mass-produced, or programmatically generated content
  • Image slideshows or scrolling text with minimal or no narrative, commentary, or educational value

Reused content

Reused content refers to channels that repurpose someone else's content without adding significant original commentary or educational value. This policy is taken from the AdSense Search Console portion of AdSense program policies. We’ve put it in a context that’s more relevant for YouTube creators.

This policy applies to your channel as a whole. In other words, if you have many videos that violate our guidelines, monetization may be removed from your entire channel.

What is allowed to monetize

The spirit of this policy is to make sure we’re monetizing original content that adds value to viewers. If you put a funny or thoughtful spin on content you didn’t originally create, you’ve transformed the content in some way. It’s generally OK to have this type of content on your channel, but individual videos may be subject to other policies like copyright. In other words, we allow reused content if viewers can tell that there’s a meaningful difference between the original video and your video.

Note: While these examples do not violate the reused content monetization policy, other policies, such as copyright, still apply. 

 
Examples of what’s allowed to monetize (including but not limited to): 

  • Using clips for a critical review
  • A scene from a movie where you’ve rewritten the dialog and changed the voiceover
  • Replays of a sports tournament where you explain the special moves a competitor did to succeed (or fail)
  • Reaction videos where you comment on the original video
  • Edited footage from other creators where you add a storyline or commentary

Content that violates this guideline

Taking someone else’s content, making minimal changes, and calling it your own original work would be a violation of this guideline. This policy applies even if you have permission from the original creator. Reused content is separate from YouTube’s Copyright enforcement, which means it’s not based on copyright, permission, or fair use. This guideline means sometimes, you may not get claims against your content, but your channel may still violate our reused content guidelines.

More examples of what’s not allowed to monetize (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Clips of moments from your favorite show edited together with little or no narrative
  • Short videos you compiled from other social media websites
  • Collections of songs from different artists (even if you have their permission)
  • Content uploaded many times by other creators
  • Promotion of other people’s content (even if you have permission)

Creator influence on YouTube

The success of your channel and the YouTube Partner Program is dependent upon the willingness of advertisers to associate their brands with YouTube content, and the earnings of all YouTube creators are negatively impacted when advertisers lose trust. 
We don’t allow egregious behavior that has a large negative impact on the community. This policy means you should be respectful of your viewers, your fellow creators, and our advertisers -- both on and off YouTube.
If you violate this policy, we may take action ranging from temporarily turning off your monetization to terminating your accounts.
Learn more about Creator influence on YouTube

How we'll inform you of policy changes

YouTube is constantly changing and improving the Service, and adapting to the world around us. We may need to make changes to the terms and conditions or policies that apply to your use of the Service - including the Terms of Service, and the YouTube Partner Program Terms, our policies, and other contractual documents - to reflect changes to our Service or for legal, regulatory, or security reasons. 

We’ll let you know in writing when we make changes that might impact you. If you do not agree to the modified terms, you may stop using the relevant feature, or terminate your agreement with us. 

To help you stay up to date with our policies, we also maintain a permanent log of updates. View our changelog here.

How we enforce YouTube monetization policies

Anyone who earns money on YouTube must follow YouTube's channel monetization policies. If you violate any of our policies, YouTube may take the actions outlined below.

Turn off ads from your content

As a member of the YouTube Partner Program, you have the ability to turn on ads for your videos if they meet our advertiser-friendly content guidelines. However, if your videos are found to not meet our advertiser-friendly content guidelines, or if they violate other policies, such as our age restriction or copyright guidelines, we may turn off ads from your content.

For more information about reasons why content may not be eligible for monetization, see: Monetization icon guide for YouTube Studio

Suspend your participation in the YouTube Partner Program

Violation of our YouTube channel monetization policies may result in monetization being suspended or permanently disabled on all or any of your accounts. If it’s determined that your channel is no longer eligible for monetization, your channel may lose access to all monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program.

For more information about suspensions, including troubleshooting tips and details about how to re-apply to join the program, see: Monetization is disabled for my channel

Suspend or even terminate your YouTube channel

In exceptional circumstances we may need to terminate a channel, account, or disable a user’s access to the Service in order to protect the integrity of the platform or protect our users from harm. Learn more about channel terminations and disabled Google accounts including what you can do if you believe your channel or account was terminated by mistake.

How we'll inform you of actions that affect your monetization

We’ll inform you in writing by email or in product when we have to enforce our policies. We will also let you know what options are available to you. 

How to get help with issues that affect you

If you're in the YouTube Partner Program, you can get access to our Creator Support team. 

Whether you're facing a specific problem or you want to find out how to get the most out of YouTube as a creator, we're here to help you:

  • Optimize how you use YouTube
  • Get tips on technical or service aspects of YouTube
  • Find out how to navigate policy and copyright guidelines
  • Get answers on account and channel management questions
  • Resolve content ID and rights management issues
  • Troubleshoot and fix bugs or issues with your account

You can find more detailed instructions to contact Creator Support and how to get help as a YouTube Creator.

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