YouTube will now screen videos for copyright issues


Rory O'Neill

YouTube will now screen videos for copyright issues

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YouTube will now check videos for potential copyright infringements at the uploading stage, in a move parent company Google says will help creators “avoid surprises or worries”.

The new system, Checks, scans videos for copyright and monetisation issues before they are published on the platform. It will include “ad-suitability” issues which could prevent uploaders from earning a share of ad revenue, if the video does not meet Google’s guidelines for advertiser-friendly content.

Passing the Checks stage still means videos can be flagged for copyright infringement at a later stage. Google has sought to strike a balance between enforcing copyright claims while also resisting heavier restrictions over what can be uploaded to the site.

A July 2019 update to its copyright claims system saw Google announce that it would require timestamps from copyright owners specifying exactly where in a video the alleged infringement was located.

Google said it was responding to concerns from creators over “unclear” infringement claims or seconds-long snippets of music. The company also fiercely resisted new copyright obligations encompassed in the 2019 EU Copyright Directive, which places greater responsibility on platforms to monitor for infringing content.

“While we support the rights of copyright holders—YouTube has deals with almost all the music companies and TV broadcasters today—we are concerned about the vague, untested requirements of the new directive,” said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at the time.

“It could create serious limitations for what YouTube creators can upload. This risks lowering the revenue to traditional media and music companies from YouTube and potentially devastating the many European creators who have built their businesses on YouTube,” Wojcicki added.

In the case of Checks, Google says the system will help creators avoid copyright and monetisation issues down the line by identifying them pre-upload.

“You no longer have to publish a video as unlisted or private—once the checks have completed, you’ll know if your video’s visibility or monetisation potential will be restricted once it’s public. However, it’s still possible for your video to receive restrictions after it’s published,” a YouTube update said.

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