Skip to Content

What videos can you not monetize?

With the rise of social media and video sharing platforms like YouTube, more and more people are looking to monetize their online video content. However, there are certain types of videos that are not eligible for monetization due to copyright issues, violent/offensive content, and other reasons dictated by the platform’s terms of service.

Copyright Infringement

One of the biggest reasons a video may not be eligible for monetization is if it contains copyrighted material that you do not have the rights to use. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Movie and TV clips
  • Music tracks
  • Video game footage
  • News clips
  • Sports highlights
  • Other copyrighted videos

Platforms like YouTube have advanced content ID systems that can detect copyrighted material and automatically demonetize or even remove your video. Trying to monetize a video with copyrighted content without permission is intellectual property theft.


There are some exceptions where you can include copyrighted material under “fair use” doctrine, such as:

  • Parody/satire
  • Education/commentary
  • Incidental/background use
  • Transformative use (remixes, mashups, etc.)

However, the rules are complex so you need to research fair use thoroughly before trying to monetize videos with copyrighted material.

Offensive/Violent Content

Most video platforms prohibit monetization of content that is offensive, hateful, dangerous or promotes violence. Examples include:

  • Graphic violence
  • Terrorism/extremism
  • Hate speech
  • Harassment/bullying
  • Harmful or dangerous acts
  • Sexually explicit content
  • Other offensive/controversial topics

Trying to monetize this type of prohibited content can lead to demonetization, removal of your video, or even banning of your account.

Educational Context

There are exceptions if the offensive content is presented in an educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context. But the standards are high so you need to ensure you are providing valuable commentary/analysis and not promoting or glorifying prohibited material.

Quality Standards

To discourage low-quality content, some platforms enforce baseline quality standards that videos must meet to be eligible for monetization. This includes technical standards like:

  • Minimum resolution/frame rate
  • Audio quality standards
  • Minimum length requirements

And qualitative standards regarding:

  • Meaningful, quality commentary
  • Valuable information/education
  • Overall production quality

So “thin” content like raw vlogs with minimal editing/commentary may not meet the quality bar for monetization.

Reused/Repurposed Content

Most platforms want original content and prohibit trying to monetize videos that simply reuse or repurpose existing content. Examples include:

  • Reposted/reuploaded videos
  • Unedited game stream archives
  • Collections of other people’s content
  • Automatically generated videos

While compilation and curated content is allowed in some cases, there must be creative input, commentary and substantial original content.

Deceptive Practices

Platforms prohibit deceptive practices aimed at artificially inflating views, subscribers and revenue. Tactics considered manipulation include:

  • Using bots/fake accounts
  • Purchased subscribers/likes/comments
  • Misleading metadata/thumbnails
  • Comment/view exchange groups
  • Misleading external promotion/advertising
  • Other forms of artificial growth hacking

Videos using these tactics will often be demonetized and channels may be penalized or terminated.

Controversial Topics

To remain brand safe for advertisers, some platforms restrict monetization of content related to controversial or sensitive topics like:

  • Tragedies/disasters
  • War/political conflicts
  • Crime/criminal activity
  • Drug abuse
  • Health issues

These topics can be covered respectfully but may have limited or no monetization to avoid association with negative events. Fact-based reporting/commentary tend to fare better than sensationalism or exploitation.

Restricted Products/Services

Most platforms prohibit promoting certain regulated or risky products in monetized content. Common prohibited products/services include:

  • Recreational drugs
  • Tobacco
  • Weapons
  • Gambling
  • Pornography
  • Unsafe/illegal supplements
  • Get-rich quick schemes

So content focused on marketing these types of products will not be eligible for monetization due to legal and ethical concerns.

Misleading Children’s Content

Any content aimed at children must comply with strict rules about safety, transparency and advertising disclosure. Tactics considered manipulative include:

  • Blurring lines between content/ads
  • Collecting children’s personal data
  • Linking to unsafe external sites
  • Depicting harmful challenges/acts
  • Targeting addictive consumption

Non-compliant children’s content faces demonetization and publishers can be fined for violations of children’s advertising laws.

Personal Data/Privacy Violations

Respecting privacy is crucial, so content that violates personal data protections can lead to demonetization. This includes:

  • Nonconsensual use of private information
  • Sharing confidential/leaked documents
  • Revealing personal identities
  • Recording private acts/conversations
  • Using data in unauthorized ways

Make sure you have permission before using any private data in monetized videos.

Summary of Video Types Typically Not Eligible for Monetization

Category Examples
Copyright infringement Unlicensed movie clips, music, video game footage, etc.
Offensive/dangerous content Extremism, hate, harassment, violence, explicit material, etc.
Low quality/repetitive content Raw vlogs, unedited gameplay, reuploads, etc.
Deceptive practices Bots, fake engagement, misleading metadata/thumbnails, etc.
Controversial topics Tragedies, conflicts, crime, health issues, etc.
Restricted products/services Drugs, weapons, gambling, pornography, get-rich schemes, etc.
Misleading children’s content Blurring ads/content, data collection, addiction, etc.
Privacy violations Sharing private data/media without consent


In summary, any video content that violates platform terms of service, community guidelines, copyright law, privacy rights, or advertising regulations is unlikely to meet the standards for monetization. Stick to original, high-quality, brand-safe content that provides value to viewers without manipulation or deception. If in doubt, thoroughly research the platform’s monetization policies and legal requirements before attempting to earn money from your videos.

Word count: 1853 words