Confirmed: Big Companies Can Still Make Money off Small Creators Kicked Out of Partner Programme

By Kim Snaith on at

Last week, YouTube announced that they would be changing the entry requirements for their partner programme. While previously anyone with 10,000 lifetime views could become a partner and begin earning revenue, from 20th February, that threshold is being increased to only include channels with 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in the last 12 months. That's a massive increase.

On 20th February, lots of existing monetised channels will lose their partner status and no longer be able to earn money from their videos.

But today, Gizmodo UK has learned that third parties will be able to earn money from videos, even if their creator can't.

Currently, if someone uploads a video with content that someone deems to be copyrighted, the person who owns the copyright can file an ID claim. It means if you're currently monetising a video, the copyright claim will automatically remove any monetisation. If the claimant does in fact own the copyright, they can add advertising to your video and gather the revenue themselves.

Copyright ID claims are generally filed if you upload a video that includes a licensed song, or content from a video game or movie for example. It's often an automated process — the system picks up your content as containing copyrighted material and instantly processes content ID claim. It can be a minefield, especially for YouTubers with gaming channels, as different publishers have different rules about what can and can't be included in videos showing their content.

That won't change when the partner programme requirements are changed next month. It means that, even if you can't monetise any of your content yourself, if someone claims copyright to one of your videos, they can earn money from your hard work.

And sure, most channels without 1,000 subscribers will be getting a negligible amount of views so won't be losing out on that much revenue — but it only takes a video to catch the eye of the right crowd, or be on a hot topic and uploaded at the right time, for it to garner popularity. It's entirely feasible that someone with less than 1,000 subscribers might see success with one video that gets a few million views. They wouldn't see a penny of it. And what if that video happened to contain some content that someone wanted to claim the copyright of?

Any videos showing content from Nintendo games, for example, will instantly be flagged up as copyrighted. And should your video include even a snippet of a song from WMG or any number of record labels — even if you've got the radio on in the background — expect it to get claimed and monetised by them pronto.

Let that be a warning to you: if you're a content creator on YouTube with a small channel, be even more vigilant than ever when it comes to avoiding copyrighted material in your videos. If you can't make money on them yourself, don't give anyone else the opportunity either.