YouTube Improves Content ID Process After Last Year’s Copyright Kerfuffle

/ Mar 18, 2014


To those creators who were affected by YouTube’s expansion of its Content ID program last fall, which resulted in a lot more video clips (particularly gaming videos) being claimed and taken down by rights-holders, the video site wants you to know it’s been listening.

YouTube has sent a letter to creators detailing some of the improvements it has made to its Content ID program, with the hope of making it easier for creators (especially those affiliated with and not managed by MCNs) to continue making videos while managing issues with Content ID.

Chief among the improvements, YouTube says it’s been working with rights-holders to ensure they’re claiming only what they mean to through Content ID. “We’ve been working with them to help them clarify who owns what, for example in game soundtracks, so we can disable any outdated Content ID references,” says YouTube in the letter. “We are also requiring certain rights-holders to perform in-depth audits of their references before they can make any new claims.”

One of the most vocal communities against the Content ID expansion last fall were gamers on YouTube, who found their videos claimed and removed because it featured copyrighted content (often music) the game publisher did not have the rights to. By working with many game publishers to update the their Content ID settings, YouTube hopes to minimize erroneous claims. The site does caution, though, that content-usage policies vary and that game publishers do not always control the rights to music featured in the game.

Other enhancements include streamlining the process for creators to work with MCNs, YouTube, and rights-holders to deal with claims. YouTube says it’s briefed MCNs on how to “fast-track” confusing claims for further evaluation. There’s also a trouble-shooter option now to help creators understand common claims. Also, now whenever a creator disputes a Content ID claim, YouTube will cease monetization on said video until the dispute is resolved. Once the video is deemed eligible again, YouTube will automatically start monetizing the clip and will notify the creator via email.

As for ways to avoid issues with copyrighted material altogether, YouTube points to its song erase (in beta) and audio swapping tools, which are particularly useful for when copyrighted music is the problem. The song erase tool removes the song from the clip, while audio swapping allows creators to insert something else (duh). This can be helpful for gamers who are not necessarily tied to the music that shows up on the soundtrack.

On the off chance that Content ID is being abused by someone who claims to be a rights-holder, YouTube says it will investigate those occurrences seriously.

Overall, though, YouTube wants to stress that it’s not been ignoring the issue that pervaded the creator community last fall, and will continue to make improvements to simplify a complicated process.

Here’s the full letter:

YouTube Content ID Letter

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