For a long time now, YouTube has been a rich source of videos and audio. It's where you head to whenever you want to watch a movie preview, a song, or any other media content. However, since Google took ownership of this mega media portal, it has changed things completely, and now we're just left wondering what happened to the YouTube we used to know.
Well, it has to do with what they call YouTube copyright, and it's eating into the freedom of the uploader/viewer who wants to use the platform without restriction. The people who upload their media content now claim ownership in form of copyright. As a result, it's posing challenges for users in some way.
The following is an overview of YouTube Copyright and what you should know:
1. The kind of videos being claimedIt's common to find gameplay footage videos featuring complicated soundtracks and ambient audio. But it's not that these videos are the works of one person in their entirety. Instead, only certain parts of those videos, e.g those parts that have to deal with sound effects, graphics and many more are owned by the rightsholder. This type of content could also be a popular song that happens to be the soundtrack of a game or a movie trailer used in a review.
2. How is the process achieved?The process of enforcing copyright laws on videos and other files is automatic. The owner of the content will upload and confirm their content as ''I own it''. That's somehow a confirmation that they own it. This video will be sent into a huge database of videos so that when another videos whose parts are similar to the original one is uploaded, YouTube will send the video owner a message informing them about the person trying to make an infringement claim.
3. Are the videos banned, someone sued and so forth?In most cases, the affected Youtube channel or user will only run into challenges if they opt to sell ads in their content. Depending on the rightsholder, the video may remain live and even serve ads. However, any revenue earned from those ads will be credited into the account of the rightsholder.
If they disown that copyright ownership, the revenue earned will be credited to the person who uploaded/infringed copyright of the video. In other words, as long as the claim is not settled, revenue will be sent to the claimant. Otherwise, it will be in limbo.
4. The reason why a newly uploaded video may be brought downWhen YouTube removes a video that a user had uploaded, they will mention the reason in the email they send to the relevant account holder. Again, it's highly unlikely that they will get rid of a video that is similar to another one which has already been uploaded on the network. What happens to the infringed video is a choice that rests with the claimant.
5. Terms of service and violationsIt's a common assumption for people to think that YouTube's terms of service are related to copyright issues. However, what they don't know is that videos will only be flagged when they contain gratuitous violence, nudity stuff or when they violate the site's TOS/community guidelines.
Their TOS also state that they reserve the right to bring down any content uploaded by the user without prior notice. What this means is that they could delete a video for any reason they see fit, plus they are not obliged to explain why.
If you've been a victim of video removal by YouTube, you may ask nicely so that your case can be reconsidered. However, there's no known formal process of doing so.
6. The video ID toolYouTube says that this feature lets copyright owners easily manage their content on the platform. Just like we mentioned above, the rightsholder will claim the video to be their original work. So when another video is uploaded by a user, it will be cross-checked against other videos in a special database.
It's the content ID tool that is responsible for checking the snippets of videos so that relevant action can be taken. This feature should work even without the uploader filling up the video description part. Normally, a user will know if there's an exact match to their video, and when this happens, the site simply leaves a note next to the affected video on the ''My Videos'' page.
Now, the rightsholder shall decide what to do with such videos after they've been caught. Under their usage restriction settings, they can opt to track, monetize with ads, or simply block it from showing altogether.
Music labels who have caught their work matching with other videos choose the ''monetize'' option so they can milk revenue generated by such videos into their own account.
7. Contractual obligationsThe site has special agreement with rightsholders, granting them privileges they can use to remove content as they see fit. So in the event that the video you uploaded was removed due to this reason, YouTube will send you an email informing you of the same. They will also send you relevant contact information so you can discuss that removal with the owner of the video.
8. Challenging a video take-downChallenging a take-down might come with some legal consequences, so you need to take care of that as well. The following are just basic guidelines on how to do it. By no means should they be treated as legal advice:
First, you need to be sure that the claim you're making is correct. Does your content use copyrighted material? Have you been granted the right to use that copyrighted material? And if you used copyrighted material elsewhere, did you follow the ''fair use'' doctrine? Fair use is basically certain activities meant to excuse works that would qualify to be called copyright infringement.
When courts are dealing with copyrighted works, they will first consider the nature of the source from which the work was lifted from. Was it a news source, or a purely created work? The courts will also establish the quantity and quality that was taken from the original work. Finally, they will consider the value of the original work before coming to a conclusion.
YouTube copyright is broad, and for some reasons, we're not able to cover all the areas mentioned therein. However, the points given above are the most basic things you should know concerning YouTube copyright laws.