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What if I receive a takedown notice from YouTube?

The Church of Ireland Press Office has prepared the following guidance on responding to takedown notices from YouTube.

What if I receive a takedown notice from YouTube?

This is likely to have occurred as a YouTube algorithm has identified content within your video as infringing copyright – this action is known as a copyright strike and can naturally cause confusion if a parish has obtained all the relevant licences to help it comply with copyright law in its jurisdiction.

If you have used material without seeking permission from the owner (e.g. a commercial music video or a recording of music performed outside your parish), please be aware that this action will have broken copyright law and you will need to find another approach.

We have advised that parishes use local musicians who can perform works covered by copyright licences obtained by the parish (obtained from CCLI or other official licensing sources). Asking local musicians to perform will encourage them and help them to develop their talents and abilities, and neighbouring parishes can help each other in this regard.

It is otherwise very important that a parish disputes these notices as – after three copyright strikes – YouTube will:

– Consider terminating the parish’s account;
– Remove all the videos uploaded to the account; and
– Stop you from creating new YouTube channels.

When a video is uploaded to YouTube, the platform will run the video through software which is designed to recognise a particular melody, to check if this is infringing on someone else’s copyright.  At times, it will pick up a familiar hymn or song tune and identify the same tune in its database – even though the words or the language may differ from the version that it has on file.

The algorithm will not have recognised that the music used in your service or reflection is a different recording, and it may therefore automatically flag the use of the music as an infringement.

A parish can dispute a copyright strike through the process outlined here and in the video below:

When logging an objection, you will need to assert that you have permission from the copyright owner of the recording (which is usually provided through your copyright licence), and that the words and music are in the public domain.  It is helpful to suggest that a mistake has been made, and also to bear in mind that this has probably been caused by an electronic process rather than any personal objection to your parish’s worship or ministry.

YouTube will refer your objection to the copyright owner for a response.  Sometimes, the owner will release the music relatively quickly but, at other times, the objection will be logged for 30 days; the owner’s rights will lapse if they do not dispute their rights during this time.

If a significant number of people challenge a particular takedown notice, YouTube will recognise that the process is being unfair and develop a more selective algorithm.  So, by disputing a strike, even if this has to be done repeatedly, you can help to improve the way in which YouTube works for all parishes and other local churches which have come across the same problem.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Christian Wiediger

More guidance on online services and audio–visual content is available on our website here.  If you have any queries, please email press@ireland.anglican.org


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