Here are some common-sense rules that will help you steer clear of trouble:
Please take these rules seriously and take them to heart. Don't try to look for loopholes or try to lawyer your way around the guidelines—just understand them and try to respect the spirit in which they were created. If you'd like more details, check out our Community Guideline Tips.
Okay, this one is more about us than you. YouTube staff review flagged videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate our Community Guidelines. When they do, we remove them. Sometimes a video doesn’t violate our Community Guidelines, but may not be appropriate for everyone. These videos may be age-restricted. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination. If your account is terminated, you won’t be allowed to create any new accounts. For more information about how the Community Guidelines are enforced and the consequences of violating them, please visit the Help Center.
Remember that this is your community! Each and every user of YouTube makes the site what it is, so don't be afraid to dig in and get involved!
That's it! Thanks for reading!
—The YouTube Team
Want a little more insight into the limits and exceptions in the Community Guidelines? Here are some helpful examples and tips:
Most nudity is not allowed, particularly if it is in a sexual context. Generally if a video is intended to be sexually provocative, it is less likely to be acceptable for YouTube. There are exceptions for some educational, documentary, scientific, and artistic content, but only if that is the sole purpose of the video and it is not gratuitously graphic. For example, a documentary on breast cancer would be appropriate, but posting clips out of context from the documentary might not be.
"Hate speech" refers to content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group. For instance, racist or sexist content may be considered hate speech. Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech. For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation, but not okay to make insulting generalizations about people of a particular nationality.
The world is a dangerous place. Sometimes people do get hurt and it’s inevitable that these events may be documented on YouTube. However, it’s not okay to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational or disrespectful. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information. For instance, including a clip from a slaughter house in a video on factory farming may be appropriate. However, stringing together unrelated and gruesome clips of animals being slaughtered in a video may be considered gratuitous if its purpose is to shock rather than illustrate.
While it might not seem fair to say you can’t show something because of what viewers theoretically might do in response, we draw the line at content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous, illegal activities that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death. This means not posting videos on things like instructional bomb making, ninja assassin training, sniper attacks, videos that train terrorists, or tips on illegal street racing. Any depictions like these should be educational or documentary and shouldn’t be designed to help or encourage others to imitate them.
Videos involving children (anyone under the age of 18) are particularly sensitive. Videos containing children should never be sexually suggestive or violent. Please be cautious when posting something involving a child. If you’re sharing a private moment or home movie, consider making it a private video so that only your family and friends can see it.
When you create something original, you own the copyright for it. Likewise, when other people create content, they may have a copyright to it. As a creative community, it’s essential that everyone on YouTube respect the copyrights of others. If you’re not sure if something will violate someone’s copyright, the safest thing to do is to create something completely original, with images and audio you’ve created. If it’s all yours you never have to worry about copyright—you own it. If you’ve recorded something from a DVD, videotaped your TV screen, or downloaded a video online, don’t post it unless you have permission.
If a video you've recorded features people who are readily identifiable and who haven't consented to being filmed, there's a chance they'll file a privacy complaint seeking its removal. We'll notify you if that happens and give you a chance to edit and re-upload your video before we act on the complaint. If we do remove your video for privacy reasons, don't upload another version featuring the same people. Chances are those people will file another privacy complaint or report you for harassment. Don't post other people's personal information, including phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and government IDs. We're serious about keeping our users safe and suspend accounts that violate people's privacy.
It comes down to respect. YouTube is all about sharing and interacting with the community in respectful ways. If you're not sure whether a video or comment you've made crosses the line, follow a simple rule of thumb: if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't say it on YouTube. And if you're looking to attack, harass, demean, or impersonate others, go elsewhere.
Impersonating another user by copying someone's exact channel layout, using a similar username, or posing as that person in comments, emails or videos is considered harassment. If you want to keep your account, stay away from participating in any form of impersonation or harassing activity on the site.
Users shouldn't feel threatened when they're on YouTube. Period. Don't leave threatening comments on other people's videos.