If a content owner deactivates a reference file, it will:
- Deactivate the reference file for 30 days and suspend matching
- Stop claiming new user-uploaded content that matches the reference file
- Continue matching new user uploads, but change the match policy to track
- Release all prior claims made against the reference file, but continue matching new user uploads
In YouTube, a reference or a reference file is a copy of an assets video or audio content that YouTube uses for Content ID matching. From a reference, YouTube creates a digital fingerprint that Content ID compares with videos uploaded by other YouTube users.
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating references is to make sure you have exclusive rights to the content. Note, that claiming content you do not own could result in serious penalties including even termination of your partner account.
So, you create a reference file by claiming a video and enabling Content ID for it. But what happens if you choose to deactivate your reference later? Well, it’s pretty obvious. If you choose to deactivate your reference it will stop claiming new video videos matching your content.
Please note that an asset can have more that one reference file.
Learn more on the official Google support website.