Vimeo Introduces New Tool to Scan for Copyright Violations

/ May 21, 2014


The use of copyrighted content — illegally or not — isn’t only an issue plaguing YouTube. Other open video platforms face similar issues when they offer anyone the ability to upload video content.

Now Vimeo, one of the other biggest video platforms on the web, is introducing a new tool that will flag any video uploaded by users if it matches copyrighted content. The tool is called Copyright Match, and here’s how it works:

When a user uploads a video, Copyright Match will scan a sample of the audio to see if it matches third-party copyrighted material such as songs, movies, and TV shows. If there is a match, the user will receive multiple options, including the ability to take down the clip in question or file an appeal if the copyrighted material is being used with permission or falls under “fair use” guidelines (or if the tool made a mistake in flagging the clip).

In the case of copyrighted music, users will also be able to swap it with a track from the Vimeo Music Store.

The announcement was made by Vimeo’s director of support and community Darnell Witt. “We want people to be able to express themselves in the ways they see fit, but we also want to respect the boundaries of copyright law and the rights of other creators,” he said in a blog post.

Vimeo already complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows rights-holders to notify online companies about the use and distribution of copyrighted material on their platforms and request that offending clips be removed. But as Vimeo’s audience grows, a tool such as Copyright Match was necessary. “We now have more than 26 million registered members, with over 170 million people swinging by monthly to watch awesome videos,” said Witt. “At our size, we need a semi-automated system to help us enforce those beloved guidelines.”

Furthermore, with the launch and expansion of Vimeo On Demand, which allows creators to distribute and sell their work, it was important to Vimeo that users had the proper rights and permissions before any money was made.

Vimeo is working with Audible Magic, a provider of content-identification services, for Copyright Match. During this entire process, Witt said Vimeo won’t disclose personal information to Audible Magic or, if there’s a match, the copyright holder. “However, if you file an appeal regarding your use of a copyrighted work, we reserve the right to share some of the information from your appeal for purposes relating to rights enforcement,” said Witt.

In the case of “fair use,” Witt admits that the law does not provide a “clear-cut formula,” so the company will evaluate it on a case-by-case basis.

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