There are two ways to make money on YouTube:
These two ways to make money—Channels and Claims—work in different ways.
Let’s say you make, on your own, a video of your three fingers wiggling. As soon as you’re done recording it, you have created a copyright protected movie, no one else can use it without your okay.
As it’s your own fingers and it’s your own video, you control all the copyrights in it. Say you want to put this video on YouTube.
You create an account at YouTube called a “Channel” and upload your video of the three fingers wiggling. By doing this, you have now given YouTube a license to reproduce your video and let others watch it on YouTube.
You can also tell YouTube to “monetize” your video with ads (this option appears for everyone in their YouTube account—no middleman needed). When the ads generate money, YouTube pays you about 55% of what the advertiser paid them.
REMEMBER: Anyone can make money on YouTube on their own videos if they control all the copyrights in the video. No middleman is needed.