How to Protect your youtube videos from content theft? - eNidhi India Travel Blog

How to Protect your youtube videos from content theft?

It takes lots of effort to make a travel video.

  • We’ve to physically travel to a destination- cost of fuel, rental, toll, stay adds to thousands of rupees
  • We’ve to invest in a camera, drone etc- several thousand to few lakh rupees
  • We’ve to pay various fees- entry fee, camera fee (runs into 1000s of rupees per entry in Karnataka depending on lens size. 500 mm+ = 1000 INR entry fee)
  • We’ve to pay for editing software
  • We’ve to spend our time, effort in shooting, editing, uploading

After all this is done, there’re several people who would happily steal our video, photo or other content as if they own it. These content thieves include Govt hired tourism handles/agencies, individuals running aggregator accounts (who focus on a specific theme, lift any content on that theme and repost in their handle) or other individuals or companies who steal the video and post on their own because of various reasons of their choice.

This amounts to intellectual property violations and a social media platform which enables publishing such stolen content is required by law to take it down.

Companies like Youtube have a well defined process to prevent content theft and protection of someone’s intellectual property while Instagram doesn’t care.

In this post, I will explain the process of protecting your video in youtube

How to detect if someone is copying your video?

Youtube has an inbuilt solution for this-youtube’s software tracks other videos having same content as yours and lists them under “Copyright” section in Youtube Studio. Go to this section, accept terms and conditions and see if there are videos copying your content.

What to do if anyone is found copying your video:

Once you see that your videos are copied, do some basic checks before planning next action

  • Verify that content theft is correct. The other account has indeed copied your video. At times it is possible that two people attended the same event, same tourism destination and may have very identical footage. Probability is low but it can happen. If your video is unique, you have done some editing, added some text/effects etc then you can be 100% sure video is stolen. If brand has provided video in a pen drive many journalists use same video and it won't become your IP because you published it first. I did a mistake by not checking clearly- a video of Tata Nano superdrive, provided by Tata Motors and used by both me and Sankara Subramanian, youtube flagged as a copy and without checking all the details I included it in bulk submission of videos for removal and it got removed. Have sent an apology to Sankara as he was also an official blogger for Tata Nano superdrive and had every right to use the videos provided by Tata Motors.
  • You may want to check if the youtuber has given you any credit. If credit is given and if you are satisfied with it, you can ignore. Again, credit doesn’t pay, if credit is given in some remote corner in super small font it is of no use and giving credit doesn’t authorize anyone to steal your content. So you can still proceed to ask for removal of the content.
  • Check for fair use: Youtube permits usage of someone else’s intellectual property for “fair use”. For example a movie reviewer would have used few seconds worth of video from main movie, or your footage is used as a reference or example for a short duration in a large video focused on something else, or video has something to do with social awareness, community well being etc and is not exploited for commercial gains. In such cases youtube may not remove the video using your content.

Once you’re convinced you want the video gone you can file for their removal. This way youtube will remove such videos if your claim is found valid.

You can alternatively contact the person who stole your content and ask for credit or something else, but they are unlikely to respond. If they had any intention of giving you credit or taking your permission they would have done it in the beginning itself.

How to protect your videos from being stolen

1. Add a watermark: Including your watermark throughout the video is an easy way to deter content theft. Those who steal do not want to reveal it belongs to someone else. Include watermark in specific location from where it can’t be cropped off. If added in a corner in small size, thieves would still use it or crop it off.

2. Do not upload in maximum resolution: You don’t have to upload everything in 4k. 1k,2k is enough for most devices. Only those watching on big TV like screens can fully enjoy 4k. If you upload in lower resolution, those who try to steal it and edit it would find it unviable as the quality gets further compromised when they edit it.

3. Include personal objects: Be present in your video giving an introduction, or include something like your car or bike or some other object which can make the video very personal, include your own voice etc. If you make your video a bit personal, the person who steals it will have to reveal that video belongs to someone else (you) which these thieves do not like.

Things to ensure while editing and uploading your video

  •  Use loyalty free music and give credit to music owners. 
  •  Do not use someone else’s content
  • Add watermark

My personal experience

I have about 350 videos in my youtube channel and a few of them are very popular. Kambala video has 8 lakh views and is getting closer to a million views. Hexa off road video is also very popular. Other videos have varying levels of popularity.

Recently realized that over two dozen of my videos were copied by others. This was identified by none other than youtube itself. Thanks to youtube’s built in copyright protection system I was able to request removal of these copy cats and within a week youtube did remove them.

Copyright claims on my content.

Some of my videos also faced copyright claim. All of these were because of audio used in the video. I responded by replacing audio or removing the video if it was not important. Will be more careful now.

  1. I had uploaded a video shot in Kyoto Japan of a musical fountain. However  the music used in musical fountain was owned by someone and they filed copyright claim. I removed the video ( at that time I was not well versed that I could replace the audio with loyalty free audio from youtube)

  2. A few other videos had used loyalty free music but as per rules I was required to add a description giving credit to music owners. Because I missed doing it, they filed copyright claim. So I replaced these videos with youtube provided loyalty free music.

  3. Once I had got hold of Guddada Bhoota title video. This video was no where present online so I added. However production house who owned rights claimed right to this video so I took it down. It was a mistake on my side some 10 year ago

  4. A few of my videos were provided by brands, So even though youtube is suggesting it is copied, I am ignoring because the other person also would have got it from the brands

  5. Some people are using my video as a part of their video. Still thinking what to do for this.

  6. I am now putting clear watermarks on my videos, even if they are compromising user experience a bit. This should deter people from randomly copying my video.


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