YouTube enacts 'Right to Monetize' ToS, will put unpaid ads on non-partner videos

New policies from YouTube will see ads show up on non-partner channels without paying the creators.


YouTube’s shifting policies over the years have always been controversial, especially when it comes to monetization. From de-incentivizing animation and original creations to shifting to monetization wholly towards a family audience and demonetizing “mature” content, there’s a bottomless complaint box to be filled as creators have tried to work around YouTube’s shifting rules. The latest one may leave those unpartnered with YouTube incredibly soured. With a new Terms of Service change is rolling out a “Right to Monetize” system in which it will put ads on videos of even un-partnered creators and not pay them for the ad placement.

YouTube revealed the new Terms of Service updates in a YouTube Help blog post on November 18, 2020. There’s a lot to it, some simply having to do with payment style and taxing, but the part that should catch everyone’s eyes (especially if you’re putting out videos, but not in the YouTube Partner Program), is the “Right to Monetize” section, in which YouTube now reserves the right to place ads on non-partner videos without paying the creators to host these ads.

In all fairness, it is YouTube’s platform, but may still stick in the craw of creators to have YouTube ads on their videos without being paid for them. The official wording in the “Right to Monetize” section can be seen below.

That is to say, YouTube can put ads on your content without agreement to pay you. Furthermore, payments being treated as “royalties” means creators will have to pay special attention in how they report YouTube income for tax purposes.

The whole shift is more than a little concerning, and it runs in line with a number of questionable decisions in media creation and streaming, such as Twitch’s wave of DMCA strikes and suggestion to users to deal with it. We could see some change if there is enough push back from the creative community, but it seems unlikely with YouTube or Google that it will be for the better. Stay tuned for further updates and information.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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