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YouTube bows to criticism, extends options for appealing false Content ID copyright claims

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YouTube Copyright Trademark (STOCK)
YouTube Copyright Trademark (STOCK)

YouTube is today announcing changes to the policies surrounding its Copy ID copyright management system, a tool often criticized for favoring the interests of rights holders over users. The most immediate addition is a new appeals process that will allow uploaders to further dispute false Content ID misidentifications. Previously, users could file an initial dispute if they felt a video was improperly tagged. If content owners rejected this claim, however, YouTube members were left with little recourse to have the clip in question reinstated.

Rejected disputes are no longer a dead end

Now, influenced by community feedback, YouTube will allow users to opt for a secondary appeal. This presents rights holders with two options: they can either release the original claim or file a formal DMCA notification, which will permanently remove the video and result in a "strike" against the offending user. Like before, accumulating multiple copyright strikes will all but guarantee the loss of your account and all uploaded videos, but at least there's a new option for those who believe they've been wrongly singled out. Of course, many of the 3,000 copyright owners that have registered for Content ID have sought to profit from the illicit use of their content through YouTube’s advertising stream. The inconvenience of having to issue legal copyright notices might sway more companies toward this monetization scheme.

Human beings will have final say

Ideally those false claims won't be as big of a problem moving forward, as Google is promising "smarter detection of unintentional claims" made possible by improved algorithms. When an invalid Content ID match is detected, that video remains available to viewers and is placed in a "manual review" queue. Rather than depend on reference files provided by content owners, YouTube staffers copyright owners will make a final call as to whether or not there has been a mistake. The company claims these recent steps will ensure YouTube remains a "vibrant place where the rights of both content owners and users are protected."

Update: YouTube has amended its announcement to be clear that copyright owners, and not YouTube employees, will be the ones manually checking for copyright violations.