April 11, 2013 Jill

Sometimes dealing with YouTube is a huge pain.

Like when they send you one of those emails suggesting you might not have rights to your work.

Once you turn on those ads and start to monetize, contracts, releases and other documents that give you have the rights to commercially exploit your work are important.  I have binders full of detailed, lawyer-approved paperwork.

The problem is that YouTube is so monolithic that it’s near impossible to communicate with them or prove your claim.

Here’s the text of the email that arrived today (not the first time I’ve gotten one of these babies either.  I have no idea what the status of the last one it.  YouTube hasn’t bothered to tell me.).

Dear RubySkyePI,

Thanks for submitting your recent video “Tween Web Show: Ruby Skye PI – Episode 11: Best Served Cold” ) for monetization. We may consider your video for further review provided you verify that you are authorized to commercially use all of the visual and audio elements in your video such as:


  • Images, video games, or software visuals licensed for commercial use require a copy of a license agreement, or a link to the terms
  • Original visuals from third parties require written permission from the rights owner(s) stating that you are permitted to use their content commercially containing the video’s URL
  • For visuals in the public domain, please link us to a primary (original or scholarly) source proving this


  • Royalty-free music requires: the song title, artist name, a direct link to the track, and a link to the terms
  • If you are the artist, please provide us with your name, song title, the composer/publisher, and music label (whether you own or not)
  • Music you created using software or other music requires that you identify the program used and its terms
  • Original compositions from third parties require written permission from the rights’ owner(s) stating that you are permitted to use their content commercially containing the video’s URL
  • For a musical composition in the public domain, please link us to a primary (original or scholarly) source demonstrating the status of the composition

Please submit your additional information here. Note that we may disapprove your video for monetization if we do not hear from you within 14 days.

YouTube reserves the right to make the final decision whether to monetize a video, and may disable monetization for users who repeatedly submit ineligible videos.


The YouTube Team

You look at the video in question and tell me what element they are on about. I have no idea what they think I don’t own.

Here’s the answer I sent them:

As much as I may look like a mind reader, I have no idea which element of this video you are challenging my right to commercially exploit. I have hundreds of pages of contracts and you are only offering me the opportunity to upload a single file. Awesome!

I’m going to take a wild guess that your problem is with either the music rights or the rights to show the mural that appears at 0:47 and again at 1:25 which is on the side of the ice cream parlour The Big Chill. Thus I am uploading a file which includes our contract with the composers of our original score and a location agreement with The Big Chill ice cream parlour which gives us the right to shoot at their establishment and show images of it including the mural on the wall outside.

Now, say I’m wrong and you take issue with my right to exploit some other element of the video.

Perhaps you could email me again and tell me what element that is? Or at least give me a little more of a hint than “all of the visual and audio elements”.

Alternatively, I’d be happy to invite you over next time you’re in Toronto so you can go through all of the contracts and permits that I have in order to verify that I have carefully and thoroughly — dare I say, professionally — acquired all the rights necessary to exploit this work in all media now known or yet to be invented, in this universe and all others until the end of time.

And while you’re going through the paperwork, I’ll make you a nice cup of coffee and some of the delicious brownies that appear in our episodes — which by the way — if you’re wondering — are an original recipe.

Just sayin’ 🙂


I’m really hoping they’ll come by the that coffee.  In fact, I’m preheating the oven right now.

The Dreaded Letter from <no_reply@youtube.com>


The helpful form that YouTube provides for you to prove your rights

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