Friday, April 23, 2010

Content ID and Fair Use

(Cross-posted from the Official YouTube Blog)

Over the past decade, the evolution of the Internet has altered the landscape for both traditional media companies and the doctrine of fair use, and the media industry has tried to keep up. The new ways that consumers create and distribute content are not a niche phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people around the world now use the Web to connect and interact with content online, and a huge percentage of them go even further: they express themselves via parodies, celebrate their favorite videos with mashups, and use music in educational presentations. The people that upload these videos are typically the biggest fans, and are exactly the kinds of consumers rights holders should be embracing.

We listen closely to our partners and we're constantly improving our content identification and management tools ("Content ID") to make sure they have choices in dealing with these different uses of their content on YouTube. Over 1,000 content owners use Content ID, and we've built it in a way that lets them account for fair uses of their content: they can easily create policies depending on the proportion of a claimed video that contains their work, or the absolute length of the clip used. For example, a record label might decide to block videos that contain over one minute of a given song, but leave up videos that contain less than one minute.

Since Content ID can't identify context (like "educational use" or "parody"), we give partners the tools to use length and match proportion as a proxy. Of course, it's not a perfect system. That's why two videos -- one of a baby dancing to one minute of a pop song, and another using the exact same audio clip in a videotaped University lecture about copyright law -- might be treated identically by Content ID and taken down by the rights holder, even though one may be fair use and the other may not. Rights holders are the only ones in a position to know what is and is not an authorized use of their content, and we require them to enforce their policies in a manner that complies with the law.

Still, to make sure that users also have choices when dealing with the content they upload to YouTube, Content ID makes it easy for users to dispute inappropriate claims.
  • When you receive a notice in your account via Content ID, we tell you who claimed the content, and direct you to a form that lets you dispute the claim if you so choose.
  • If you believe your video is fair use, check the box that reads "This video uses copyrighted material in a manner that does not require approval of the copyright holder." If you're not sure if your video qualifies, you can learn more about fair use here.
  • Once you've filed your dispute, your video immediately goes back up on YouTube.
  • From this point, the claimant then makes a decision about whether to file a formal DMCA notification, and remove the content from the site according to the process set forth in the DMCA.
Content ID has helped create an entirely new economic model for rights holders. We are committed to supporting new forms of original creativity, protecting fair use, and providing a seamless user experience -- all while we help rights owners easily manage their content on YouTube.

UPDATE (4:45 PM ET): To clear up confusion, this is not a new feature. The dispute process has been in place since Content ID first launched in October 2007. We've changed some text to make that clear.


Mantari said...

It is an interesting spin. Here is the reality I see:

1] Company files DMCA claim against your video.
2] YouTube removes video.
3] YouTube asks you to file a DMCA counter-claim.

-- vs --

1] Company has automated tool with hooks into YouTube that disables videos.
2] YouTube will put it back up if you claim it is fair use.
3] Company files DMCA claim against your video.
4] YouTube removes video.
5] YouTube asks you to file a DMCA counter-claim.

So this is just a front-end buffer for the DMCA process, which remains unchanged.

Cory said...

@mantari yes, but that's not trivial. The button makes it 10 times easier to counterclaim, which makes it 10 times more expensive for copyright holders to do this in the first place. I think we'll see a lot more signal and less noise in these claims as a result.

Buster said...

So what happens if you already have a video in dispute? I posted videos that are squarely in the public domain, but MegaRichCorp is asserting a copyright claim they cannot possibly uphold for many reasons.

Without finding out what those reasons are, Google/YouTube sided with MegaRichCorp, thereby enabling the theft of public domain video. So what then?

kapeed said...

Its made simple for the copyright holders too . They can make these easy claims with almost no cost that I at least can see and rely on most casual posters of video to be apathetic about it to effectively remove public domain videos from view . You don't have to look further than the recent spate of 'Downfall' based videos being removed . It'd be instructive to see how many of the posters counterclaim and how many get back though in this case there is a bit of public momentum .

scragar said...

If we are going to have a say in how youtube handles copyright can we please have some form of indicators as to the blocked content, if I upload a video containing snippets of other videos from multiple sources I don't want to have to defend the claim that i'm infringing on "audio/visual content"

It's a video, of course it's audio/visual content, the infringement notice tells me nothing, as a result I'm forced to either be very general or cover multiple areas, why is this an issue?

A timeframe or keyframes of the offending content would make it almost impossible to confuse the content, and if I know where the content comes from and can assess the section of my video infringing then I know what I'm defending.

Hugo Chavez said...

No doubt Hitler could have used this help as the Soviets were encircling Berlin. But it looks as though Stalin has already won.

Old J said...

just...stop. seriously, altogether just stop. people will never stop using music, and it DOESN'T take money away from the artists. nobody goes on youtube and watches some Halo 2 montage in order to slyly listen to a shitty punk bad without paying for it. dumb and dumber.

Travis McCrea said...

I, for one, would like to say THANK YOU GOOGLE.

You guys have been on a roll defending the rights of your users. Really grabbing hold of the "don't be evil" motto you go by. By showing us how many requests by different countries you get, by not bending to the will of big business... and of COURSE for offering us our favorite products for free (in exchange for us sharing small amounts of anonymous information).

Paul Harrison said...

"Rights holders are the only ones in a position to know what is and is not an authorized use of their content, and we require them to enforce their policies in a manner that complies with the law."

My congratulations on this extremely carefully worded sentence. "Fair use" is a somewhat broader concept than "authorized use", but I read this as saying that you require rights holders to authorize anything that is fair use (which is part of "the law"). It's certainly an interesting approach, and might work if rights holders were sufficiently penalized where they refused to grant authorization of things that are truly fair use... which, I must say, I doubt to be the case.

Aerilus said...

this is the mpa's dream come true they had to do absolutely no work to achieve it besides whine and complain and now someone else with the brain power has come up with a a system they can point to when they sue isps I really do not like this move i don't understand why a company that is not a content creator is making itself responsible for protecting other peoples property that is the job of the property owner first and the police second. I really feel like Google is enabling the content industries instead of making them adapt and solve their own problems. I also feel that they are abandoning other isps and forcing there cooperation with the MPA i would rather be on the ISP computer science/engineering side than the MPAs sue happy whine to the goverment lobby lobby lobby side.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I discuss YouTube, fair rights, and the DMCA in Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People (University of Toronto Press, 2010).

Dr. Strangelove
University of Ottawa

RecordTV said...


Regardless of how you frame this issue, it favors rights holders. Companies can use any tools they like to identify "likely infringing videos", but taking down a video can only (and should only) happen when a human employee of the rights holder determines it is infringing *after* analyzing whether it could be fair use. "Taking down" should always require a formal takedown notice. Then, and only then should the user be required to take any action. Of course, the rights holder can independently sue the user if they so desired, regardless of whether they decide to issue a takedown notice. When the rights holder issues an erroneous takedown notice, they hurt the public and should have to face legal liability towards the user. To me, this seems like a pacifist approach because of the ongoing litigation.

jotape said...

Is there some way to claim fair use when uploading a video in the first place?

searchengineman said...

Read the excellent comments on
You tube vs the Fuhrer on slate

I think this is a win/win situation, lets get to the point. This is about money. Publishers win because User Generated content allows the content owners exclusive advertising on the properties, if they so choose (DUH?).

B) Users win because there is a system in place to allow expression and a course of action if they feel wronged.

C) The Lawyers lose because everybody is served by this solution. Read the example Chris Browns "Forever" sound track which
sold even more after "Jill Peterson Kevein Heinz Dance Music Wedding March" 48,000,000 views later. Not bad for a defunct song which spiked back onto the charts
everbody wins.

D) Did I mention the Lawyers lose!


Craig said...

I have a different issue that I would like Google to respond to. Google's TOS prohibits downloading of videos using 3rd party tools. Even though I can use a video clip under fair use, many schools block YouTube and the teachers do not have access to these resources. I wish Google would make an exception to it's TOS allowing educators to download YouTube videos for use in an instructional setting.

Ken B. said...

I wish the dispute process had some way to identify the media the claimant was claiming rights in. I recently had a video taken down which I recorded, produced, edited and narrated, and at no time during the dispute process was I informed what part of my video was infringing. As far as I know, I copied nothing. The only information I was given was that a copyright holder claimed an infringement on some visual media.

Nerd42 said...

Yeah basically any POPULAR video gets auto-tagged as copyright infringing whether it actually is or not.

I do mashups of popular music and am fine with the record companies getting to display ads next to my videos but not when this ContentID thing stops me from sharing the stuff I've made. You're always rolling the dice whenever you upload anything that you aren't going to piss any big company off somehow.