Hey everybody, Ultimate Oddball here. Today I’m going to talk about an announced change in the Youtube copyright Content I.D. system which will have Youtube hold disputed monetization revenue until the dispute is resolved. While I feel this is a step in the right direction, I’m going to talk about why it’s only a small step, some of the potential problems which may arise because of it, and the larger picture looming in the background.
One of the biggest issues with the Content I.D. system brought up by Youtubers has been the potential for abuse of this system by corporations which produce and profit off of media. There have been situations involving censorship and attempted censorship of commentary and critique. There are examples of rightsholders seemingly ignoring potential Fair Use and the protections which come with that. And until this new change kicks in monetization revenue will still be up for grabs to anyone willing to claim a video.
While it’s good that the revenue from ads will be held by Youtube during disputes, this still creates the opportunity for someone to effectively block revenue on a Youtuber’s videos for up to a month, and there are seemingly no consequences to filing false claims. If the content creator wishes to dispute the Content I.D. claim, however, they risk being sued. This would require the matter be taken to court, however, which is often not the goal of either side in a dispute. A Youtuber risks a potentially long and costly legal process depending on the parties involved, most especially with big companies which usually have lawyers on retainer. Big companies risk the negative p.r. in addition to potential legal precedent which may not fall in their favor. According to Youtube: “..Content ID claims are disputed less than 1% of the time..”. This is unsurpising considering in the past it has seemed that the only one at risk in this process legally speaking is the Youtuber creating content.
This change, which will be released sometime in the next few months, is a good first step towards protecting content creators. Without additional steps, though, this is unlikely to fix the systemic issues which come about as a result of how Content I.D. and copyright law in general operates today. The biggest changes to copyright law to ensure that Fair Use is respected will likely have to come about in either the courtroom or the legislature. I believe stiffer penalties for intentionally false claims are needed, as well as penalties for companies which intentionally ignore Fair Use and especially for companies which use copyright law as a hammer to censor critique and criticism.
It’s likely that the reason we’re seeing this change is not because Youtube suddenly realized there was an issue, but rather because of the tremendous negative p.r. which has come about due to a number of Youtubers having to deal with what they felt to be false claims leading them to create a public campaign, #WTFU or “Where’s The Fair Use?”. In addition, many other Youtubers have voiced their issues with the current system, and all of this has resulted in upcoming U.S. Government Roundtables discussing U.S. copyright law. Doug Walker, also known as ‘The Nostalgia Critic’ on Youtube, the creator of #WTFU, will be a part of that process.
While things are moving in the right direction, this process towards balancing power when it comes to copyright law between large companies and content creators will inevitably face further hurdles, whether that be smear campaigns from p.r. departments hired by large corporations to defend their financial interests, or lobbying by corporations to avoid any substantial change. This process is far from over. When it comes to critique, criticism, and commentary, there will always be attempts at censorship in order to increase the bottom line. There’s no reason to make that process easier by providing weapons in the form of easily abused copyright systems.
Well, thanks for coming by, and have a good day.
Previous post on Youtube and #WTFU:
Fair Use, Copyright, #WTFU and Youtube (OddCast Ep 1 Transcript)
Information from Youtube: http://youtubecreator.blogspot.com/2016/04/improving-content-id-for-creators.html