8 youtube legal mistakes to avoid as a content creator. www.brittanyratelle.com

8 YouTube Legal Mistakes to Avoid as a Content Creator

Sep 30, 2023

Content creation, contracts, Legal Tips

8 YouTube Legal Mistakes to Avoid as a Content Creator


Do you have a YouTube channel for your business? I’ve seen several small (and not so small) businesses/creators making these same mistakes I will go over, so let’s make sure you are not one of them! Here are 8 YouTube legal mistakes to avoid as a content creator.





Disclaimer: What kind of attorney would I be if this didn’t have a disclaimer? I’m a licensed attorney and I practice in Utah and Idaho. I am not your attorney. This is not official legal advice. If you have any questions, please consult with a legal professional in your jurisdiction.



8 youtube legal mistakes to avoid as a content creator. www.brittanyratelle.com



8 YouTube Legal Mistakes to Avoid as a Content Creator


Don’t worry, I’m not going to just give you the mistakes to avoid, but I’m going to give you the simple fixes on what you should do instead in order to keep you and your business protected. Let’s get started!


YouTube Legal Mistake #1: Building a YouTube channel on a name you can’t/don’t own.


Let’s think about this one as if you are building a house. You want to make sure that as you are building this house and investing in all the features for it that you actually own the land that the house is on. Just like physical property ownership is important, so is digital property ownership.


The name for your business and/or YouTube channel needs to have legal digital real estate that you own. Taking the time to make sure you own your brand from the very beginning will make it so much easier as you continue to grow your business and diversify the products you sell. 


YouTube Legal Mistake #2: Not paying your taxes.


This mistake is one that a lot of creators just don’t think about and it sneaks up on them. I highly recommend the book, “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz. If you are a complete newbie to running a creative business, I recommend putting aside 25-30 percent of your business income for paying your taxes. 



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YouTube Legal Mistake #3: Not forming an LLC.


Setting up an LLC (limited liability company) sets up a boundary between your personal money and assets and your business’s money and assets. The reality of not having an LLC is that if something goes wrong and you get sued, all of your money is on the table, not just your business money. Setting up that LLC will protect you if/when things go south. Check out my post HERE that goes into detail about the best ways to save money and general tips for setting up an LLC. 


YouTube Legal Mistake #4: Not using a privacy shield.


You definitely want to use a privacy shield when setting up your business foundation. This means when you are setting up your YouTube account for your channel, do not use your personal email. You should have a business email account to use for this. 


You want to make sure the business email you have is a little harder for someone to guess and one that not many people know of. Also, take all the extra steps to protect your account e.g. two-factor authentication. The harder it is to get into your account the harder it is to get hacked. And let’s be honest, you don’t have the time to worry about something like that as a business owner and content creator anyway!


Something else you may not realize is that business filings are available to the public, so anyone can look them up. With that being said, make sure not to put your personal physical address on these documents. Use another address that will keep your personal information protected. If you’re not sure what address to use because you work from home, you can always get a virtual address


YouTube Legal Mistake #5: Using other people’s content.


I know you’re just trying to create content and you want to rely on fair use. However, I have to tell you that anyone who has given you advice about what is and is not OK regarding fair use and infringement is just guessing. The only person allowed to tell you this is a judge in a courtroom. 


You may have heard it’s OK to use the content if it’s less than 15 seconds, or if you put pauses in between the content or cite your sources, etc. None of these strategies keep you safe. It’s best to stick to creating and sharing your OWN content. It’s totally OK to gain inspiration from other content creators, but do yourself a favor and only publish your own work. 



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YouTube Legal Mistake #6: Not using ad disclosures. 


If you have any type of financial contract or relationship with the brands you are talking about in your videos, you need to disclose that to the audience. (In other words, if you are an affiliate with the products you are promoting, you’ve gotta let everyone know.) You want to always be transparent and fair as a content creator because you want your audience to trust you. And it’s also important to disclose this information because the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) says you have to! 


YouTube Legal Mistake #7: Not using contracts.


If you are doing a brand deal, use a contract. If anyone works on your videos and edits them for you, use a contract. If you’re using anyone who is identifiable on your videos, have a contract with them. Get this stuff in writing! It is super important to have contracts in your business because it’s the best way to ensure protection for you and your business. Check out my post HERE to learn more about what type of contracts you would need as a content creator. 


YouTube Legal Mistake #8: Not having your hires as independent contractors. 


You want to make sure the people you hire to help with your business are recognized as independent contractors and not W2 employees. The best and easiest way to set this up with your hires is to have them sign an independent contractor agreement that outlines their duties and your expectations. 



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8 YouTube Legal Mistakes to Avoid as a Content Creator


Did any of these 8 YouTube legal mistakes to avoid as a content creator surprise you? Are you accidentally making any of these same mistakes? Don’t stress. Now you know what they are and you know what you need to do to fix them. Keep your business protected! 


If you want to fix all of this with one step, I recommend grabbing my Creator Legal Bundle. It’ll give you all the contracts and info you need to get your business legally legit and protected on YouTube and beyond. Also, make sure to follow me on Instagram @brittanyratelle so you can stay up to date with the best legal tips you need for your business! 




Download my free legally legit workbook HERE – your free guide to getting your business set up, protected, and ready for growth. When you sign up you’ll also get access to my newsletter with tips and tricks for YOUR growing creative business.




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