YouTube's Content ID program scans videos for copyrighted content – music, graphics and the like – and gives the copyright holder the option to monetize, block or track these videos. YouTube recently revamped Content ID, and some Let's Play personalities have received claims, mostly targeting the music in their videos. When a copyright holder monetizes or blocks flagged content, the Let's Player can't monetize that video anymore.
In an email acquired by Kotaku, YouTube explains its Content ID system and offers tips for Let's Play creators: "Last week, we expanded the system to scan more channels, including those affiliated with a multi-channel network ("MCN"). As a result, some channels, including many gaming channels, saw claims appear against their videos from audio or video copyright holders. Keep in mind one video may contain multiple copyrighted works, any of which could potentially result in a claim."
The email continues, "Online rights are often resold to companies like music labels and aggregators. While you might not recognize the owner, this doesn't necessarily mean their claims are invalid .... Know that we love what you do. We've worked hard to design Content ID and other tools to give everyone - from individual creators to media companies - the opportunity to make great videos and earn money."
As for the tips, YouTube links to its copyright support page, where content creators can dispute claims and learn more about Fair Use and Content ID. It also reminds users to "be aware of music," and suggests turning off background music but keeping on sound effects.
A few publishers – Capcom, Ubisoft, Deep Silver, Blizzard – ask YouTubers to contest any Content ID claims as quickly as possible so they can be dismissed.