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Leo Wattenberg

A list of YouTube Policies and Guidelines

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There are a bunch of guidelines you have to follow, especially as partner. 

Here are the most relevant ones, with TL;DR for your convenience. Note that neither the list, nor the TL;DRs are complete. 


General YouTube

  • TOS
    • Downloads are prohibited
    • Viewbotting and such is prohibited
    • Burning ads into your video that are very similar to the formats YouTube offers is prohibited
    • Follow copyright law.
  • Community guidelines
    • The Community guidelines are already a TL;DR of themselves with in-depth explanation in "Learn more" links.
    • Follow copyright law


YouTube Partner

  • Partner Program Policies
    • Follow the various other guidelines.
    • Follow copyright law and provide documentation that you have commercial use rights if you're asked about it.
  • Advertiser-friendly content guidelines
    • Already a TL;DR of themselves
    • Note: If a video gets classified as not advertiser friendly even though you think it's fine, it's usually because the classifier is wrong and not you. You should appeal it instead of trying to make your content fit the bot. If, and only if manual review has confirmed that your video isn't ad friendly, you should looking into changing your content.
  • If you're doing ad deals yourself (product placement, sponsorships and such):
  • Minimum requirements for metrics are currently 4000 watch hours in the past year and 1000 subscribers in total. 
    • Sub4sub, view exchanges, bots and such are not permitted to reach these goals. 


AdSense Guidelines

  • AdSense-TOS
    • You get paid for clicks on ads.
    • If you have AdSense running on a blog, you need a privacy policy.
    • You mustn't share CTR and similar statistical data with others. You may share your earnings at the end of a month.
  • AdSense program policies
    • Already a TL;DR of itself, has many sub-policies
    • especially relevant: the "invalid click activity" topic.
      • You must never click on ads on your own videos.
      • If you see suspicious activity (spikes, traffic from traffic exchange sites, etc.) you must report it immediately. To be able to report it, you first need to know about it, so you basically need to crawl through your channel stats daily. 
    • Follow copyright law.
  • Content policies, divided in
    • General
      • Surprisingly different from YouTube's community guidelines, also a TL;DR of themselves
    • Adult content
      • Basically anything vaguely sexual is not allowed
  • Quality guidelines, especially
    • Imperative of originality
      • You must make original content yourself (ie not via automted processes), that doesn't exist in that form elsewhere and gives value to users. 
    • Prohibition of unnecessary Keywords
      • Repeating keywords to get up in the ranking can get your video demonetized (or made private on YouTube).
    • Most other guidelines are not as relevant for YouTubers.


Special YouTube


Legal stuff

There is a bunch of stuff that you may need to consider, but that's way too much for this post and different from country to country. Please don't just trust some dude on a internet forum, but ask a lawyer instead - most of them have a free first session -, especially if you have commercial intent (ie monetize your videos). So, things that you may need to consider are:

  • Copyright and related rights (if you want to use something someone else made, you must ask for permission. This happens quite often, hence it's mentioned so much above)
  • Trademark law (if you use trademarked names and titles in your video)
  • Personality rights (if you show faces of other people in your videos)
  • Commercial registration 
  • Contract law (if you collaborate with others and conflicts occur)
  • Disclosures (if you have paid promotions, you may need to follow various guidelines and maybe register yourself somewhere)
  • Special in Germany: Imprints and broadcast licenses
  • Like 1

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