What kind of content is eligible for Content ID?

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

When you enable a piece of content for Content ID matching, YouTube automatically generates claims against other user's uploaded content that matches (portions of) the reference file you provide.

Not all content is appropriate for claiming through Content ID. You must not use the system to claim content in which you do not have sufficient rights. Further, you are responsible for avoiding erroneous results, such as claims resulting from misidentified content, or claims interfering with authorized uses of content.

YouTube takes action to address cases of abuse and error in the Content ID system. These include disabling specific reference files or segments of reference files and releasing all associated claims, requiring manual review for certain categories of references, disabling Content ID, or even terminating YouTube partnership.

Abiding by the following rules will help you avoid these problems. (Please note, the examples under each rule are provided for your information. This is not an exhaustive list of potential issues.)

You must have exclusive copyright rights to the material in the reference file for the territories where you claim ownership.
The following examples are ineligible for use in or as a reference:
  • Content licensed non-exclusively from a third party
  • Content released under Creative Commons or similar free/open licenses
  • Public domain footage, recordings, or compositions
  • Clips from other sources used under fair use principles
  • Video gameplay footage (by other than the game’s publisher)
All reference content must be sufficiently distinct.
The following examples are ineligible for use in or as a reference:
  • Karaoke recordings, remasters, and sound-alike recordings
  • Sound effects, soundbeds, or production loops
You must provide individual references for each piece of intellectual property.
The following examples are ineligible for use in or as a reference:
  • Compilations
  • Continuous DJ mixes
  • Mashups
  • Countdown lists
  • Full album sound recordings

Even if you exclusively own all of the content within these types of examples in all territories, you must separate them into individual components, songs, or videos.

Original Video Game Soundtracks are only valid references when owned by the video game's publisher.
Original Video Game Soundtracks are sound recordings created primarily for use in a video game, such as the original score or background music accompanying a video game. (This policy does not apply to licensed popular music, not originally created for the game.)

These references are only valid when delivered under the video game publisher's content owner. If you are a game publisher and have questions, please contact your partner manager.

Content that is sold or licensed at scale for incorporation into other works must be routed for review.
For example, matches against the following content types must be routed to manual review before claiming:
  • So-called "royalty free" production music libraries typically licensed for use in game, film, TV or other soundtracks.
Reference content must be accompanied with proper asset metadata.
Uploaders must be given sufficient information to understand what content is being claimed and who the owner of that content is. For example:
  • All assets must include an informative title (e.g., not “Track 4” or an internal serial number).
  • Recorded music assets must also include artist and record label information.

In addition to these rules, there are a variety of strategies to help you avoid and resolve improper claims.

Was this article helpful?
Decode YouTube Analytics

Analytics can help you see what's working and what's not on your channel. Learn how in our new boot camp running June 9-26. Register today