Content Manager policies

YouTube is committed to ensuring that our content management ecosystem is clean, fair, and free from abuse. To achieve this goal, we have created a number of policies governing the use of the features available to content managers through the Content Management System (CMS). All content managers are responsible for upholding these policies and standards for their content owners.

What happens if you violate our content manager policies

Losing access to CMS features

Partners who misuse or abuse CMS features will lose access to those features. This is usually temporary, and typically lasts for a set period of time which varies from policy to policy. Whenever possible, we’ll warn you when you’re at risk of a violation. If you violate one of these policies, you’ll also get an email about the violation. Your partner manager will have information about the specific details and next steps. If you do not have a partner manager, you can contact the Creator Support team for more information.

Repeated and egregious violations

We take these policies very seriously. Partners who repeatedly or egregiously violate our content manager policies will face harsher penalties. These penalties may include losing access to additional CMS features, losing specific features for longer periods of time, or losing access to CMS entirely and termination of any contracts with YouTube.

In some cases, we may issue a “final warning” to comply with our policies. Content managers who are issued an official final warning notification will lose access to most of their CMS features until they can pass an abuse audit sometime within the following year. Any additional violations of our content manager policies in the following year, as well as failing to request and pass an abuse audit will put their contracts at risk of termination.

Ownership of Multiple Content Owners

Note that if you have a controlling stake in multiple content managers on YouTube, violations incurred in one content manager could result in penalties across all content managers under your ownership. 

General Content Manager policies

These policies apply to every partner with access to the YouTube CMS

Channel accountability policy

Content managers are responsible for making sure that all linked channels follow YouTube’s content policies and guidelines. This policy applies to content uploaded to both Owned & Operated (O&O) and Affiliate channels. 

Policy requirements

  • Content managers must have less than 30 abuse events (such as terminations, suspensions, or demonetizations) over a 90-day period. This policy applies to channels in both your affiliate and non-affiliate accounts. 
  • Content managers must have less than 10 channel abuse events on their non-affiliate accounts over a 90-day period.

Policy violations

Exceeding this threshold will count as one violation of this policy. The first violation in a 90-day period will result in a 1-month suspension. During a suspension, you can’t create or link new channels to your Content Manager. 

The second violation in a 90-day period will result in a 2-month suspension. The third and final violation will result in penalties, which may include long-term suspension or termination of your contracts with YouTube.

What you can do to follow the policy

Channel entry policy
Content managers are expected to have relationships with creator channels before adding those channels to their network. Content managers who, among other things, onboard creators through spammy or dishonest means, or abuse channel linking privileges, may lose access to CMS features.

Policy requirements:

  • Content managers must maintain above a 90% acceptance rate for their channel linking invitations each month.
  • Content managers that fall below 90% acceptance rate may have channel invites throttled for their entire content owner family for 1 month.

What you can do to follow the policy:

  • Send your invitations early in the month.This gives your creators enough time to accept the invitation.
  • Only send invites to channels you know and with whom you actually have a business relationship.
  • Reach out to creators and remind them to accept their invitations, if needed.
Circumventing systems policy
We trust content managers to manage rights and content on behalf of their content owners, resolve issues in their network, and use the YouTube CMS responsibly. That trust extends to the features built into the YouTube CMS. Content managers who abuse these features to circumvent YouTube’s established systems or processes violate that trust and harm the entire YouTube ecosystem.

Policy requirements:

  • Content managers are prohibited from engaging in practices that attempt to go around or interfere with YouTube’s systems, processes, or policies.
  • Violating this policy is considered egregious abuse, and may result in termination of your entire content owner family.

Examples of violating this policy may include:

  • Using CMS to improperly monetize content that is ineligible for monetization on YouTube. This includes content that violates our community and brand safety guidelines, as well as content prohibited by any applicable laws and regulations.
  • Manually adding your ownership to Content ID assets that you do not have a legitimate intellectual property interest in, even temporarily.
  • Using manual Content ID claiming to circumvent the claim dispute resolution process.
Content Manager copyright strikes policy
When a channel receives a copyright strike, channel-level penalties are applied. Partners should avoid accumulating copyright strikes across their managed channels. Failure to do so will result in penalties applied to their content manager in addition to existing channel strike policies. Partner strike penalties limit access to features. This impacts both the content owner and associated content owners.

Policy requirements:

If a partner receives 10 copyright strikes across managed channels in a 90 day period, then the partner is subject to further review, the results of which may include loss of the ability to link channels, loss of the ability to upload videos, and termination of the partnership agreement. After 90 days, copyright strikes will expire and be removed from the channel and content owner’s total. YouTube also reserves the right to evaluate and address abuse at any time, at its discretion.

What you can do to follow the policy:

  • Use care when selecting new channels to manage. Avoid adding channels that might pose a risk to your strike total.
  • Most partners perform best when they keep the number of channels on an O&O content owner below 120.
  • Educate the channels you manage about copyright and ensure they act in accordance with YouTube’s policies.
  • Ensure you maintain proper internal controls as you increase the number of channels you manage.
You can always view your partner strikes within your YouTube account. If you believe any of the associated copyright strikes are invalid, you may wish to learn more about filing counter notifications or requesting claim retractions.
You can learn more about Copyright strikes in the Help Center.
Accountable access and acquisitions policy
In an effort to keep our ecosystem safe and healthy, YouTube may restrict, suspend, or terminate CMS accounts that it believes to be compromised by unaccountable or prohibited parties. 
  • Content managers are responsible for every action taken using their CMS account.
    • Make sure you have adequate safeguards monitoring your employees’ access and compliance with our policies. Companies are responsible for the actions of their individual employees.
    • This policy also applies to third-party companies hired to administer a CMS account.  
  • Giving unaffiliated or prohibited third parties access to your CMS account for compensation or other gain is strictly forbidden.
    • Do not rent, lease, or sell access to your CMS account.
    • If you have partnered with a third party to administer your CMS account on your behalf, that organization must have a direct partnership agreement with us. 
    • Do not give access to your CMS account to organizations (or associated individuals) that have a history of abuse.
    • If YouTube finds that an unaffiliated or prohibited party has gained access to your CMS account, YouTube may take action. For instance, YouTube may revoke an individual’s access or terminate any associated contracts.
As a content manager, you must notify YouTube if you’re being acquired by another company. If you’re acquiring a company with CMS access, you must also provide YouTube with notice. This must happen within 30 days of acquisition.

Policies for Content ID

These policies apply to partners with access to the Content ID matching system. You can find out more about qualifying for Content ID in the Help Center.

Content ID eligible content policy
The Content ID matching system is a powerful tool for managing your rights on YouTube. Because of its complexity and sensitive nature, content must meet certain requirements to be used as a reference. It’s your responsibility to follow these requirements and make sure that your reference only claims videos that contain your intellectual property.

Policy requirements

  • You must have exclusive rights to the material in the reference file for the territories where you claim ownership.
    • Examples of content that is ineligible for use as a reference:
      • Content licensed non-exclusively from a third party, such as regional broadcasts of a major sporting event
      • 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.
      • Content that is sold or licensed at scale for incorporation into other works, such as production music
  • All reference files must be sufficiently distinct to allow for accurate matching.
    • Examples of content that is ineligible for use as a reference:
      • Karaoke recordings, remasters, and sound-alike recordings.
      • Sound effects, soundbeds, or production loops.
      • Sound recordings of public domain content that is similar to other sound recordings of that content, such as classical music.
  • All reference files must represent an individual piece of intellectual property.
    • Examples of content that is ineligible for use as a reference:
      • Compilations of songs or short form video content.
      • Mashups or continuous DJ mixes.
      • Countdown lists or full album sound recordings.
  • All reference files used to monetize content must comply with YouTube’s content policies.

Special restrictions on video game content

  • Only video game publishers can deliver references with gameplay footage or video game original soundtracks (OSTs). 
    • Original video game soundtracks are defined as sound recordings created specifically for a video game, not tracks licensed for inclusion in a game.
    • This policy includes VODs of live streamed video game content. 
      • Use the Copyright Match Tool or manual claiming to protect this content.
  • All sound recording assets for covers of video game OSTs must use a route to review policy.
    • For these assets, melody matching to embedded compositions can result in many improper claims that may contradict the wishes of the video game publisher.
Content ID reference delivery policy
Content managers must only deliver reference files that are appropriate for Content ID matching. Invalid references are harmful to both creators and the YouTube rights management ecosystem. You can read more about what content is eligible for Content ID in the Help Center.

Policy requirements:

  • All content managers must keep invalid Content ID references < 1% of their content owner catalogue and not exceed 500 invalid references within a 30 day period.
  • Content owners that exceed this may have reference delivery throttled or disabled.
Content ID manual claiming policy

About manual claiming

Manual claiming is a feature that lets content managers manually place claims on videos that contain their content. It should only be used to fix gaps in claiming coverage. If a type of content can’t be claimed by Content ID’s matching technology, it shouldn’t be claimed with manual claiming. 
Only partners who’ve demonstrated a profound need are given access to the manual claiming tool. In order to maintain a healthy, fair ecosystem that is consistent with YouTube's four freedoms, manual claiming has strict requirements for its use.

Restrictions on what content you can claim

 Restriction  Details
Only claim videos that contain copyrighted content that you own exclusively. Only claim content that is present within the uploaded video.

Don’t manually claim content (or portions of content) that you don’t own.


Abusing manual claiming for censorship may result in immediate or permanent loss of the feature, in addition to other possible penalties.

Only use manual claiming within the scope of what’s potentially claimable with Content ID matching.
 
Content ID’s matching system only supports claiming audio, visual, and melody matches between an uploader’s video and partner-provided reference content. All manual claims must be aligned with this core functionality.

Don’t manually claim videos based on a thumbnail or still image.


Don’t use manual claims to manage trademark, privacy, or other non-copyright issues. 

Don’t manually claim videos containing uploader-created depictions of copyrighted characters.

Don’t manually claim fan recordings of live events (such as plays, comedy routines, or sports games) unless you own the rights to that specific recording or are a music publisher claiming a music composition. 

Content ID only supports rights management for music compositions, and not other forms of written or scripted works. 

For other use cases, we recommend submitting a legal takedown request or privacy complaint.

Don’t manually claim videos that are currently, or were previously, claimed by an asset for the same content. This restriction includes manually claiming videos that have successfully disputed a previous claim for the same content.

Manually creating duplicate, competing claims may be considered an egregious violation of our Circumventing Systems policy. 
Don’t use manual claims to create an invalid revenue sharing arrangement among existing claims on the video. Violating this policy may be considered an egregious violation of our circumventing systems policy.
Don’t manually claim videos if your ownership is, or should be, embedded in other assets. Don't make a manual composition claim on a segment of a video if it is already claimed by a sound recording asset containing your composition. Composition ownership should be embedded in sound recordings whenever possible.

Restrictions on how you claim content

Restriction Details
You’re required to manually review the content you are claiming before submitting a manual claim.
 
Automation of the manual claiming process is not permitted. See the manual action policy.
All assets that are used to make manual claims must have accurate, human-readable metadata and valid reference content. The only exception to this is where the reference material for the claimed content is unsuitable for matching or prohibited by our reference policy. 

While these assets do not require references, all claims must be for the same, distinct content and accurately described by the metadata. (e.g. no ‘bucket' or 'catch-all' assets).

Assets used in manual claiming must accurately reflect the scope of your ownership. For example, if you are a regional broadcaster claiming re-uploads of licensed content, you cannot use manual claiming to place a global block policy if you do not have global rights to that content.

Additionally, broadcasters may have rights to show licensed content in a region, but that does not always mean they have rights to claim videos containing that content in that region.
All manual claims must include accurate timestamps that identify where the claimed content exists in the video. Individual matching segments must be specified with discrete timestamps.

Deliberately or repeatedly providing misleading timestamps may be considered a serious violation of our policies.
Don’t manually claim content with a 'monetize' policy that violates YouTube’s community or brand safety guidelines. This may be considered a violation of our Circumventing Systems policy. Read more here.
Manual claims on audio content that is only present in a small portion of a video may only use a monetize policy in very limited circumstances. Generally, manual claims on short uses of audio content may only use a block or track policy unless the claimed content:
​Is part of a video compilation, music countdown, or music-themed challenge.
  • Is part of an intro/outro that is used to brand a channel.
  • Is in a video that already has an existing, valid Content ID claim with a monetize policy.
  • Is in a video uploaded to an Official Artist Channel represented by the claimant.
  • Comprises the majority of the video.
Manual claims on “unintentional use” of audio content may not use the 'monetize' policy, but you may still generally apply the 'track' or 'block' policy on any use of your content. For the purposes of this policy, we define “unintentional use” as instances where:
  • The content was not added to the video by the creator AND
  • There is no interaction between the creator and the content.

Some examples of “unintentional use” are:

  • Television heard from another room of the creator’s house or office.
  • Music from a passing car.

Examples of where use is not considered unintentional include:

  • Singing, dancing, or playing along to the music.
  • Any content that is added in post-production or editing software.
  • Background music in a place where the creator has direct control over the music, or the intent of the video is to capture the audio, such as a concert.
Content ID and political censorship
Using Content ID for political censorship is not allowed on YouTube. Any attempt to do so may result in termination of the content manager’s entire content owner family.

Tips for avoiding issues:

  • Keep an eye on your “block only” claims, and report any issues you find directly to your partner manager.
Content ID manual action policy
Content ID relies on several manual review actions from content managers. These actions include, but are not limited to:
  • Resolving unclear ownership of assets and reference material.
  • Reviewing potential and disputed copyright claims.

Policy requirements

  • Manual actions require human review and can’t be automated or scripted.
  • All manual actions, such as confirming potential or disputed claims, must:
    • Accurately reflect the scope of your ownership.
    • Abide by all relevant laws and regulations.
    • Comply with all of YouTube’s policies, such as monetization eligibility requirements.
Content ID responsible asset management policy
Incorrect, unreadable, or duplicate assets can create issues within the Content ID system. For this reason, YouTube expects content managers to practice good stewardship of the assets they own. Content managers who don’t may have their access to CMS features disabled or face other penalties.

Policy requirements

  • All assets must have accurate, consistent, human-readable metadata.
    • It should be clear to an uploader what content is being claimed and who the owner of that content is. The minimum amount of metadata you must include depends on the type of content:
      • Sound recording or music video: include the ISRC, title, artist, and record label.
      • Music composition: include the title and writer.
      • Television episode: include the show title and either the episode title or episode number.
      • Movie: include the title and directors.
      • Sports broadcast: include the competitor or team names and date of event.
      • Other web assets: should accurately describe the associated reference content.
    • Music partners are responsible for the accuracy of the metadata they include for the purposes of content delivery and Art Track creation.
    • If the metadata you deliver doesn’t meet our quality standards, we reserve the right to restrict or throttle content delivery.
  • Content managers must use the appropriate asset type.
    • For example, partners may not create web assets for music content. Music video assets can’t be used for recordings of live performances that a music label didn’t create.
  • Don’t create duplicate assets for content if an asset for that content already exists in the Content ID system. 
    • Add your ownership to existing assets instead of creating new ones.
  • Don’t add your ownership to an asset if you don’t actually have ownership of that intellectual property. 
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