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YouTube gets better at identifying and handling copyrights

Photo via r.nial bradshaw on Flickr under the Creative Commons License

YouTube has been steadily improving its ability to manage content, especially when it comes to copyright infringement. Today the company showcased some major changes resulting from this process.

Significantly, YouTube has now implemented an appeals process for material taken down via Content ID, YouTube’s own copyright protection system. This will help address a major cause of criticism: how YouTube handles situations where content is removed from YouTube because of an incorrect claim of ownership. Now, uploaders can appeal a takedown, and the content owner on file can reply either by releasing their claim or by filing a formal DMCA notification, options that were not previously available.

YouTube also improved the algorithms it uses to identify possibly infringing content, and has added another layer to the process in which humans manually review less clear-cut matches before they can be automatically taken down.

“There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we believe that these are significant steps forward in our efforts to keep YouTube a vibrant place where the rights of both content owners and users are protected and everyone can control their original content and make money from it – money which can be put towards the production of more great content,” wrote Thabet Alfishawi, Rights Management product manager, on the YouTube blog.

For those unfamiliar with this side of YouTube, Content ID enables approved rightsholders to upload videos to a central reference database, where they are digitally fingerprinted. When YouTube detects content with a fingerprint match but uploaded by someone else, it enables the rightsholders to automatically take it down or place ads on it. This looks good in theory, but in reality the ownership of content can be more complicated than Content ID can handle. For example, Scripps News Service apologized after taking down NASA’s videos showing the Mars Rover landing. The content was flagged because clips of NASA’s videos had been used in Scripps broadcasts – even though the original video was on NASA’s own YouTube channel, and all NASA photos and videos are in the public domain anyway.

Related links:

YouTube blog – Improving Content ID

YouTube – Appealing Rejected Content ID Disputes

The Next Web – YouTube announces improved detection for Content ID and an appeals process for its copyright claims

GigaOm – YouTube revamps content ID, defaults to DMCA in case of unresolved disputes

ZDNet – YouTube improving Content ID with new appeals process

Photo by Flickr user x_jamesmorris, used under Creative Commons license