9 December 2021CopyrightMuireann Bolger

YouTube uploaders prevail in 60% of Content ID disputes

Over two million copyright disputes were resolved in favour of content creators in the first six months of the year, the social media platform YouTube has revealed in a new report.

The Alphabet-owned company released its inaugural biannual “ Copyright Transparency Report” this week, which looks at data from the first half of 2021.

YouTube offers three main tools for copyright owners: the webform, Copyright Match, and Content ID. All use technology to prevent the reupload of matching content.

Over 722 million claims were made through the platform’s automatic detection tool,  Content ID, representing over 99% of all copyright actions on YouTube. More than 1.6 million removal requests were made using Copyright Match during the same period.

Uploaders are able to push back on removals requests they believe are invalid by filing counter notifications, and they can push back on Content ID claims by disputing the claim.

The video platform found that fewer than 1% of all Content ID claims were disputed during the first half of 2021.

In cases where disputes did arise around Content ID claims, data from the report showed that more than 60% of resolutions were in favour of the uploader, meaning that around 2.2 million claims were dismissed.

Flaws in the system

YouTube conceded that its tools could be flawed.

“No system is perfect, and despite the fact that access to Content ID is limited to partners with a demonstrated need for a scaled solution, working knowledge of copyright, and the necessary resources to manage a complex tool, there are still errors,” said the report.

Over 8% of videos requested for removal through the public webform in the first half of 2021 were the subject of abusive copyright removal requests, meaning these requests were assessed by YouTube’s team as a likely false assertion of copyright ownership.

The report has emerged as YouTube has come under criticism from organisations such as the  Electronic Frontier Organisation (EFF) for  unfairly and wrongfully sanctioning content creators.

“Through its automatic copyright filter, Content ID, YouTube has effectively replaced legal fair use of copyrighted material with its own rules, the EFF said in a blog post.

According to YouTube, its tools support millions of rights owners.

“Through these investments in tools and underlying technologies, we’ve created a thriving ecosystem that balances the needs of creators, rights owners, and viewers,” said YouTube in the report.

YouTube added that its Content ID tool had created an entirely new revenue stream from ad-supported, user-generated content—paying more than $5.5 billion to rights owners from ads alone as of December 2020.

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