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What happens if you get 3 copyright strikes on YouTube?

Published on | 18 min reading time
What happens if you get 3 copyright strikes on YouTube?

Holding a degree in Business Administration and Programming, Pablo established Legis Music in 2016. With a focus on the royalty-free music industry, he has contributed extensively to the field, authoring over 150 articles on various aspects of music licensing. His efforts have been instrumental in developing one of the most straightforward and liberal music licensing frameworks available today.

As creators produce content on YouTube, they must be mindful of copyright laws to avoid facing legal consequences and restrictions on the platform.

This means they must obtain permission or licenses to use music, images, movie clips or other copyrighted content in their videos.

Failure to comply with these rules can result in what are known as “copyright strikes“.

In this article we will explore in detail what happens when a creator accumulates 3 copyright strikes on YouTube; analyzing the consequences of receiving these strikes, how to avoid them and strategies for maintaining a successful and legal YouTube channel.

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It is a penalty applied to a channel or creator when a copyright infringement has been committed in one or more of its videos.

This infringement occurs when the content of a video uses copyrighted material without proper authorization or license from the owner.

The process begins when a copyright owner, usually a record company, movie studio, book publisher or other holder, identifies a video on YouTube that contains its unauthorized protected content.

The rights holder then submits a notice of copyright infringement, known as a “DMCA takedown notice“, to YouTube.

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This notice must include specific details about the infringement, such as the exact location of the infringing content in the video in question.

Once YouTube receives a notice of copyright infringement, it takes steps to investigate the claim.

If this claim is deemed valid, a copyright strike is applied to the channel of the creator responsible for the infringing video.

Here are some common situations that may lead to the application of a copyright strike:

  • Unauthorized use of copyrighted music. - Use of movie clips, videos, TV shows or third-party content without permission. - Copying content from other creators without attribution or permission. - Use of copyrighted images, illustrations, or photographs Publication of pirated content, such as e-books or software.

It is important to note that a copyright strike not only affects the video, but also has implications for the channel as a whole and can have serious consequences if multiple strikes are accumulated.

The consequences can range from the removal of a video to account restrictions and a significant impact on monetization and channel growth.

Moreover, they increase in severity as more copyright strikes are accumulated.

Here we explain the consequences of each of them:

Strike one

  • Removal of the infringing video. The first copyright strike involves the removal of the infringing video from the platform. Therefore, viewers will not be able to access it. - Warning by YouTube. This warning is a written notification informing the creator that a copyright infringement has been detected on their channel and stresses the importance of respecting copyright in future content. - Temporary restrictions on the creator’s account. These restrictions include the impossibility to upload new videos and the loss of access to the live streaming function for one week.

It should be noted that this penalty ends after 90 days.

Strike two

  • Increased account restrictions. With the second strike, the restrictions on the account become stricter. The creator may face a suspension of video uploads and other restrictions on account functions for two weeks.

Third strike

The previous strikes could be said to be a warning to the creator, but this last one constitutes the limit of infractions: there is no turning back.

It implies:

  • Permanent closure of the channel. When a channel accumulates 3 copyright strikes on YouTube, it is closed for life.

In short, getting copyright strikes on YouTube not only affects the infringing video, but also has an impact on the creator’s account and its ability to generate revenue and grow on the platform.

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This last point is of great relevance, because while some Youtubers only use the platform as a hobby, for many others it is their livelihood or main business.

Thus, we have created a section dedicated exclusively to how strikes affect the income and reputation of content creators.

Impact on revenue and reputation

When a creator on YouTube accumulates copyright strikes, the impact on revenue and reputation can be profound and long-lasting.


One of the cornerstones for monetization on YouTube is the Google AdSense advertising program, through which content creators can run ads on their channels and receive financial compensation.

When a creator accumulates strikes, especially the second one, monetization through display ads is suspended for the restricted period.

This means that the creator stops receiving revenue from the ads displayed on their videos, which can significantly affect their earnings.

In addition, if the channel offers YouTube memberships, such as “Channel Memberships” or “Sponsorships“, subscribers may decide to cancel their memberships due to the lack of new content during the restrictions.

This may result in additional lost revenue for the creator.

However, the impact of copyright strikes goes beyond the financial consequences.

The creator’s reputation can be affected in several ways:

  • Loss of audience trust. Viewers value honesty and integrity on YouTube. When a creator accumulates copyright strikes, it can give the impression that they do not respect copyright laws or that they do not adequately verify the content they use. This can undermine the trust viewers have in the creator, which could lead to a decrease in followers and views. - Negative comments and reviews. Viewers and other creators may express negative criticism in video comments or on social media when a channel is found to have received copyright strikes. These criticisms can be detrimental to the creator’s image and affect their interaction with the community. - Impact on collaborations and sponsorship opportunities. Creators seeking collaborations with other channels or seeking sponsorship opportunities may encounter difficulties if they have a history of copyright infringement. Companies and other creators may be reluctant to partner with channels that have had legal problems in the past.

It is essential that creators are aware of the implications of copyright infringement and take steps to avoid it, which will not only protect their account, but also strengthen their relationship with the YouTube community.

To avoid copyright strikes on YouTube, creators must take precautions and adopt legal and ethical practices when using copyrighted content in their videos.

Here are some key strategies and tips.

Use of original content

The best way to avoid copyright infringement is to create original content.

This includes music, images, videos and any other material that is used in the videos.

By producing your own content, you ensure that you are not violating the copyrights of others.

However, this is not always possible, but stock or royalty-free music and videos exist for this.

Use licensed content

If you want to use music, images or other copyrighted elements in your videos, make sure you obtain the proper license or permission from the rights holder.

There are numerous licensed music sources (discussed at the end of this article) and image banks that allow legal use of their content for a fee or under certain conditions.

Knowledge of “Fair Use” laws and their enforcement

Familiarize yourself with Fair Use laws that allow limited use of copyrighted material under certain circumstances, such as for educational purposes, criticism, parody or commentary.

Understanding when Fair Use applies is critical to avoiding copyright disputes.

Specific examples of situations where it might apply include the inclusion of film clips for critical analysis or the use of music excerpts for parodies.

However, it is important to remember that “Fair Use” is a complex legal concept and its application can be difficult.

In short, the key to avoiding copyright strikes on YouTube is knowledge of and respect for copyright laws.

In any case, numerous tools and resources are also available to creators to help them avoid making mistakes.

Resources and tools for creators

Licensed music platforms

One of the best ways to avoid claims is to use royalty-free music, that is, music for which you do not have to pay royalties to the artists or rights holders each time it is played.

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However, the companies that offer this royalty-free music do not always own each and every one of the rights to the music.

This implies that you will not have total freedom to use their songs and that you could receive copyright claims from other rights holders and lose the right to monetize the content when it is published.

To avoid these concerns, there are platforms like Epidemic Sound, which offer a so-called direct license.

Epidemic Sound

Epidemic Sound is a portal known worldwide for being one of the best in the field of royalty-free music.


They exclusively own the rights to all the music in their library of over 40,000 songs and 90,000 sound effects.

This allows them to offer a subscription with a direct license that includes all the rights necessary to safely publish content.

One account – be it a channel, profile, page or social network – can be used per platform.

In this way, content published with their songs will be on what they call a “safe list” as long as an active subscription is in place.

Even if the subscription has ended, content created and published within your active period will remain on the safe list.

In addition to this, Epidemic Sound not only has your songs sorted by genre, mood, albums… But it also has several tools (including the new AI powered features) that make the user experience really convenient and fast.

Many content creators benefit both to avoid all the problems arising from copyright infringement that we discussed above, and the quality of their music.

So much so that if you decide to sign up for a plan with them, you can be sure that they will keep you up to date with any legal changes in the territory in which you reside, and even as a company you can opt to have a manager on their own team to help you clean up your content.

Clear Videos

In addition to all the tools that facilitate the search for music, this platform has one specially designed to avoid copyright claims, called “clear videos“.

Through “clear videos” you literally seek to clear your own videos -or those of your clients- of copyright claims to avoid the whole process of justifying the use of the music afterwards.

This is achieved very easily: once you have an account in Epidemic Sound and having requested the Commercial Plan (which we’ll talk about later), in the control panel must be added in the “clear videos” section the exact URL of the video that has been uploaded to YouTube.

And that’s all there is to worry about.

They also offer “clearing invitations“, with which any user of the Commercial Plan can send individual invitations to their customers to participate in the platform and can take care of cleaning up their videos themselves.

So, what does the Commercial Plan consist of?

Epidemic Sound ‘Commercial’ Plan: for companies, agencies and freelancers.

Created specifically for freelancers and marketing agencies.

With it, you can publish content on any online platform, podcasts and social networks.

However, it does not include commercial streaming services like Netflix.

One of its great advantages is that you can use the music the way you want: just the voice or just instrumental; or you can also cut and select the scrubbing you want and need, all automatically from its own platform, without the need to use external sound editors.

To all this, we must add the possibility of using the music in digital ads, such as Google Ads, Instagram Ads or Youtube Ads, for marketing or promotion of a company.

Thus, the main advantages of this plan are:

  • Unlimited monthly music downloads. - All rights included. - Possibility of using the music in online ads. - Possibility to ‘clean’ the clients’ videos from copyright claims. - Personalized music recommendations.

How much does it cost?

You have two options: monthly payment or annual payment in advance.

If you decide to choose the first one, you will have to pay 49$ per month.

However, if you choose the annual payment, the price is reduced to 25$ per month, which means a total of 299$ per year, so you have a saving of almost 50% on the price.

*We recommend that you check their website, as prices vary from country to country*

Epidemic Sound ‘Personal’ plan: for content creators and influencers.

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This is the ideal plan for youtubers, regardless of their audience reach.

It is possible to download the complete songs or by stems, which allows the possibility of eliminating voices or instruments as you wish, adapting the music to your needs.

As a key aspect, the music can be included in sponsored content on your own channels (but not on third party websites).

So, the advantages of this personal plan are:

  • Unlimited monthly song downloads. - Use of the music in social networks and podcasts. - No matter the number of followers and visits. - Includes monetization.

How much does it cost?

You have the same options as in the commercial plan: monthly or annual payment in advance.

With the monthly payment, you will have to pay $13 per month, while with the annual payment, this price is reduced to $10 per month, for a total of $120 per year.

If you want to discover more of Epidemic Sound, we recommend you to visit their website.

In addition, we leave here a 30-day free trial so you can enjoy all its advantages.

Legis Music

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In Legis Music we have introduced a new feature this 2023.

From now on we have 3 subscription plans to access royalty free music.

We consider it vital that our customers can access royalty free music easily and cheaply.

Therefore, these plans have been designed so that you only have to pay once to get them, which allows you to enjoy unlimited songs for life and have the peace of mind of not having to worry about copyright claims in the future.

So, you can choose the plan that best suits your needs:

  • Starter Plan. In this case, it is the most recommended for using the songs for personal and home videos.
    It also allows you to use the music on all social networks and on any website.
  • Personal Plan. If you are looking to get numerous songs to use in your personal projects, this is the license for you.
    The Personal Plan offers unlimited music downloads, which can be used in social networks and streaming platforms, YouTube, apps, video games and audiobooks; as well as podcasts, virtual classes and online ads. Its price is $49 in a single payment and for life -if you use it for 3 years, it will be like paying $1/month-.
  • Business Plan. This plan is specially designed for freelancers, companies and those who work for clients.
    It is the most open license of all, as any use case is covered and it also offers unlimited music (the only thing that is not allowed is to resell the songs).
    Its price is a one-time payment of $99 for life -if you use it for 2 years, it will be as if you were paying $4/month.

As you can see, if there is one thing that makes our licenses stand out, it is the opportunity to enjoy them forever and paying only once.

Starter PlanPersonal PlanBusiness Plan
Price$19 forever$49 forever$99 forever

Free content libraries

YouTube Audio Library

YouTube offers its own free music library, known as the “Audio Library”.

Here, creators can find music and sound effects that they can use in their videos without worrying about copyright infringement.

Copyrighted content detection tools

YouTube’s Content ID

Content ID is an automated copyright content detection system developed by YouTube.

Copyright holders can use this tool to identify and manage the use of their content on the platform.

Creators can use Content ID to verify if they are using copyrighted content before uploading a video.

solicitar content id youtube

When creators have specific questions or concerns related to copyright, they can seek the advice of intellectual property and copyright attorneys.

These professionals can provide personalized legal guidance.

Some organizations, such as the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers (ASCAP) or the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (BMI), can help creators obtain licenses to use copyrighted music and ensure that rights holders receive adequate compensation.

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As you can see, there are several tools that content creators can use.

Using licensed music, verifying content with tools such as Content ID, and seeking legal counsel when necessary are important steps to ensure a legal and ethical approach on the platform.

These resources will not only help protect creators’ channels, but also promote a copyright-friendly environment online.

Still, it may happen that, despite having followed the tips we gave above and having used certain tools, you get a notification from YouTube of copyright infringement.

Don’t worry, here’s how to get rid of it.

Recovery and appeal strategies

YouTube offers options for creators to defend their rights and rectify situations where a strike has been unfairly applied.

These are:

Communicating with the rights holder

In some cases, creators may be able to communicate directly with the copyright holder who filed the claim and reach an amicable settlement.

It is possible that the rights holder may have filed the claim by mistake or misunderstanding, and a conversation may resolve the situation without the need for a formal appeal.

YouTube offers an appeals process that allows creators to challenge a copyright strike.

Key steps in this process include:

  1. Initiation of the appeal. The creator must initiate the appeal from their YouTube dashboard, where they will be provided with detailed information about the claim and options for appeal. 2. Strong argumentation. It is critical that the creator provides a strong argument supported by evidence during the appeal process. This may include evidence that the content is in the public domain, that it is properly licensed, or that it complies with Fair Use laws. 3. YouTube’s evaluation. YouTube will review the appeal and make a decision. In some cases, the copyright strike may be removed if YouTube determines that the claim was incorrect. However, if YouTube upholds the validity of the strike, the creator must accept the decision or seek legal counsel.

When a creator faces a complicated copyright-related situation on YouTube, it may be beneficial to seek legal advice.

An intellectual property and copyright attorney can provide legal guidance and representation in more complex cases.

Communicating with the rights holder, appealing through the YouTube process and, in complicated cases, seeking legal counsel are options creators can consider to protect their channels and content.

However, prevention remains the key to avoiding future copyright issues.


First, we have seen that copyright strikes on YouTube can have a significant impact on creators, from video takedowns to lost revenue and damaged reputation.

To be successful and remain ethical on the platform, creators must respect the rights of content owners and copyright laws.

Thus, there are several options for not violating the laws, such as using original or licensed content, correct attribution and citation, knowledge of “Fair Use” laws, use of royalty-free music platforms or free libraries; as well as detection tools for copyrighted content, such as YouTube’s Content ID.

Finally, we would like to make some final recommendations:

  • Be aware of YouTube’s copyright policies and stay up-to-date with changes to these policies. - Use licensed music sources and stock video and image banks for legal, royalty-free content. - Always verify the license of any content you use in your videos and give proper credit when necessary. - Understand Fair Use laws and apply them responsibly and ethically. - In the event of receiving an unfair copyright strike, use the appeal options provided by YouTube and consider seeking legal advice if necessary. - Prioritize the creation of original content, as this minimizes copyright-related risks.

Ultimately, integrity and legal responsibility are critical to the continued success of creators on YouTube.

With the right knowledge and application of best practices, creators can thrive on the platform while maintaining a legal and ethical approach to their work.


Why you can trust Legis Music

  • We offer comprehensive and expertly information about music licensing since 2016.

  • The website regularly updates its content to reflect the latest changes in music law, ensuring accurate information.

  • Our dedication to clarity and accuracy in explaining music rights and licensing issues builds trust among musicians, producers, and clients.