For your videos to be eligible for monetization, you must own all the rights to commercially use all visuals and audio elements.
Guidelines for content you created:
- Follow YouTube Community Guidelines.
- Create all elements of the video yourself. Examples include:
- Daily vlogs
- Home videos
- Do-it-yourself videos
- Original music videos
- Original short films
- Make sure you own all the necessary rights to commercially use all visuals created by you.
- Keep in mind that advertisers are more likely to place ads on advertiser-friendly content.
Guidelines for content you didn't create:
Can I monetize my video if...
Click below to see if your type of content is monetizable and if you need to prove commercial use rights to use it. I created all the audio and visual content
I use audio or visual editing software to create my own content
You can monetize content that you created as long as you still hold the rights to the video.
If you're signed with a music label, you can possibly monetize your video depending on the terms or limitations of that agreement. You may need to consult an attorney.
I use royalty-free or Creative Commons content
Audio and visual editing software can be used to create monetizable content. Monetization will depend on the scope, limitations, and commercial permissions of the license. If you used samples or loops, make sure that the license specifically allows for their commercial use.
I have permission to use audio or visuals created by someone else
You can monetize royalty-free or Creative Commons content if the license agreement grants you rights to use it commercially. Sometimes rights owners require you to credit the creator of the content or give proof of purchase to use it in your video for commercial purposes.
Learn more about how to read licenses to understand your rights.
I'm playing or doing a walkthrough of a video game
You can monetize such content, but you must have explicit written permission
granting you commercial use rights at any time by the rights holder.
I'm doing a tutorial demonstrating use of software
Whether you can use video game content for monetization depends on the commercial use rights granted by the license from the video game publisher. Some video game publishers may allow you to use all video game content for commercial use and will confirm such permission in their licensing agreements.
In other licensing agreements, publishers may not grant commercial rights for videos that simply show game play for extended periods of time. For licensing terms, video game use must be minimal unless the commentary gives instructional/educational value and is strictly tied to the action shown.
I use content that's in the public domain
Monetization of software user interface content you produce depends on the commercial use rights granted by the license of the software.
Sometimes, you may need a contract with the publisher or proof that you've paid a licensing fee. The use of software user interfaces must be minimal unless the commentary gives:
- instructional/educational value
- Content is strictly tied to the action shown
Learn more about video game and software content.
It contains my original recording of a cover song
In order for content to be in the public domain, the copyright of the work has either expired, been forfeited, or is no longer applicable. If you prove that the content in your video is public domain, you can monetize (depending on the scope, limitations, and commercial permissions of the license).
The criterion to qualify as public domain may vary depending on many factors.
I use my personal recording of public concerts, events, shows, and so on
Some cover songs may be eligible for monetization. To be eligible, the music publisher must claim the song through the Content ID system and elect to monetize it.
If the song has not been claimed, you cannot monetize your video. Explicit written permission from the rights owner of the song should be given beforehand.
The use of any commercial sound recording, such as an instrumental, karaoke recording, or live concert performance by the artist is not eligible for monetization.
Learn more about monetizing eligible cover videos.
I made a recording from TV, DVD, or CD
Although you may have recorded something yourself, usually the original creator or author of the underlying content holds the rights needed to commercially exploit this content.
If you want to monetize your recording of a performance at a concert or show, you need explicit written permission from the original rights owner.
I upload content that I purchased
Although you may have recorded something yourself, the creator or author of the content being recorded may hold the rights needed to commercially exploit this content.
To monetize your recording of a TV show, DVD, or CD, you need written permission from the rights owner of the audio or visual elements recorded.
I upload content that I found online
Although you may have purchased something yourself, usually its actual creator or author holds many of the rights needed to commercially exploit this content.
You cannot monetize third-party content that you've purchased unless its rights owner grants you commercial use rights.
It contains music from the YouTube Audio Library I used third-party content under Fair Use
Although you may have found the content online for free, usually its actual creator holds many of the rights needed to commercially exploit the content.
If you want to monetize such content, make sure that you have all the necessary commercial use rights for it.
Commercial uses are less likely to be considered "fair use," though it's possible to monetize a video and take advantage of the fair use defense. For more info, visit the article Fair use on YouTube.
Still need help?
If you're still not sure what kind of content you can or can't monetize, review the video monetization criteria. For more info about copyright, copyright infringement, and fair use, go to the Copyright Center.
The material on this page is given solely for educational purposes and is not legal advice. You should only seek legal advice from a lawyer or legal representative.