Yesterday morning I uploaded a short video to YouTube of my first solo flight in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 . I didn’t edit it because the video is self explanatory, lasts less than 10 minutes and is very similar to many other gaming videos that I upload. A few hours later I received an email from YouTube saying that my channel is no longer able to monetise because it uses someone else’s content without making changes that add significant value. Come again? I’m using someone else’s content? Surely there’s been some mistake?
Human Or Algorithm?
With around a 40million channels on YouTube, I imagine it would be quite a task for humans to trawl through each and every one for issues that contravene YouTube’s numerous policies and I have to assume that an algorithm has somehow mistakenly flagged my channel as stealing other people’s content. This is the only way I can interpret their ever so vague message.
The above suggestion is tantamount to calling me a plagiarist, or worse still, a thief. This is particularly galling considering I spend hours editing my Brit In Buenos Aires videos with voiceovers and non-copyright music. From what I can gather, this rather arbitrary demonetisation is not uncommon and in most cases, reused content is the term most frequently used by YouTube and very often against channels like mine that only produce original content. On the other hand, I also upload gaming videos, but those can hardly be referred to as reused content because it was me playing the game, recording it, and editing it prior to upload.
How To Appeal YouTube’s Decision
I can either make a short video appeal within seven days showing why my channel complies with YouTube’s policy guidelines or edit my channel and reapply by September 2nd, which is 30 days after I was demonetised, so I’m currently evaluating which path to take. One also has to bear in mind that YouTube’s channels of communications do change. For example, I’ve watched several videos made by people that were in the same boat and one suggested sending an email to YouTube support firstname.lastname@example.org because they had an almost immediate reply reversing the decision in this manner. However, the standard reply I received indicates that it’s a dead end.
Adpocalypse – I’m Not Alone
I’m glad that YouTube isn’t my only source of income, otherwise, I would certainly be crying in my beer. However, there are creators with millions of views per video where exactly the same thing has happened to them, bearing in mind that many of these people have given up their regular jobs to focus on YouTube creation alone. For them, it’s devastating and I’m not for a moment suggesting that I don’t feel affected by this arbitrary decision. I do, yes. But more than anything else, I feel insulted by the implication that I’ve stolen someone else’s content, which is patently untrue.
I’ll update this post when I’ve decided how to proceed.