When someone creates an original piece of work that is fixed in some physical medium, they own the copyright to that work. Copyright ownership gives the owner exclusive rights to their work in specific ways.
Why is copyright important?
Copyright legally protects individuals against someone else using their work without permission. So in the case of a YouTube creator, copyright protects you against someone ripping your videos, uploading them to YouTube and making money without your permission.
How do I know if something is copyrighted?
To be safe, you should assume anything that you did not create is copyrighted. The minute someone creates something (visual, auditory or written) in a fixed medium (such as a video or song) it is copyrighted by the creator.
Fair-use outlines that you may reuse certain copyright-protected materials under certain circumstances without getting permission. For more information check out YouTube's help center.
You can visit this US Copyright website to find out if a specific work is copyrighted.
Learn more about how to create original content with these YouTube creator tools!