YouTube False Copyright Claim Report Reveals 4.4 Million ‘Incorrect’ Claims a Year

YouTube false copyright claim report
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YouTube false copyright claim report
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Photo Credit: Daria Volkova

YouTube false copyright claims approached 2.2 million in six months – or nearing 4.4 million annually.

A new copyright transparency report published by YouTube reveals the numbers. Those 2.2 million videos were later reinstated after YouTube determined the copyright claims were ‘incorrect.’ Those incorrect claims represent less than 1% of the more than 729 million total copyright claims issued in that six-month period (Jan. -June 2021).

99% of those claims were originated from Content ID, YouTube’s automated copyright enforcement tool. When users disputed these claims, the case was resolved in favor of the uploader around 60% of the time.

YouTube creators have long complained about the appeals process, which can be long and drawn out. YouTube is accused of being overly aggressive in how it handles false copyright claims, since videos are automatically blocked until the complaint is resolved. That’s often the intent behind the false claim, to block the video from public view.

In 2019, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said her company would explore more improvements in the copyright appeals process. “When disputes take place, the process provided by YouTube provides real recourse, and over 60% of these disputes were resolved in favor of the uploader,” YouTube claims.

How Does YouTube Deal with False Copyright Claims?

YouTube says there are three copyright management tools that work together on the site. YouTube works with rights holders to match these tools to their specific needs.

  • Webform Tool – This public tool is available to everyone to submit a claim. It is typically accessed by rightsholders who hold limited copyrights and rarely submit takedown requests.
  • Copyright Match Tool – This tool supports over two million YouTube channels that deal with frequently reposted content and need to submit frequent takedown requests.
  • Content ID – This system supports rightsholders in the most complicated rights management environments, like movie studios and music labels, who experience heavy reposting of copyrighted material.


Over 722 million copyright claims were made through Content ID in the first half of 2021. Over 1.6 million removal requests were made using the Copyright Match tool in the same period. Copyright claimants have 30 days to review the dispute and decide whether to release the claim, uphold the claim, or issue a removal request. If they don’t respond within 30 days, the claim expires.

Meanwhile, channel operators can submit a ‘Copyright Counter Notification.’ That’s a legal request for YouTube to reinstate a video that was taken down for alleged copyright infringement. There are some requirements that must be fulfilled before you can submit this request.

One Response

  1. Johnny

    YouTube makes more money from my music than I do! Thanks Google and thanks music fans! Great Platform! Get your free music on YouTube and Spotify and watch all the Pro musicians become homeless!