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YouTube Content Control Controversy: False claims reveal Content ID flaws

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A while ago I wrote about how YouTube was censoring Let's Players and and gaming journalists with its controversial ContentID system. Some commentators stated that YouTube's system wasn't affecting everyone but instead, we've been seeing more cases of the copyrighting infrastructure instigating unwanted claims over legitimate uploads.

A can of worms has inevitably opened, and now we're seeing just how badly handled YouTube's content ID system has been handling claims.

Indies hit with false claims

Indie game developers are now in the firing line. Terry Cavanagh, developer of VVVVVVV and Super Hexagon had a false claim appear on a non-monetised video of one of his own games flagged. That means that it's not just monetised videos that are being targeted by the Content ID system but unpaid videos too.

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Mike Bithell, Thomas Was Alone's developer was also hit by IndMusic and TuneCore for content that was owned and developed by him.

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Contributors expected to work regardless of income loss

In another twist on matters, Polaris, a multi-channel network has been holding @GnomeWrecker and other contributors to contracts despite loss of monetisation. Whether YouTubers will be able to break out of their contracts and be able to have some kind of control over their income stream the future remains to be seen but Multi-channel networks and claimants alike seem to be unnecessarily targeting contributors who are clearly helping everyone including the content owners as a result of their hard work.

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Also, while being locked down into a contractual agreement, Ohmwrecker himself has discovered that music which has been sold royalty free to his MCN via a company called Audiomicro has been flagged and found to be a possible mismatch on YouTube's part. To give you a better picture here, $40 is charged for a track to be used anywhere as long as ownership is proven. If a system that is designed to identify legal use of media is inaccurate what purpose does it serve?

Audiomicro as established similarities between Bogglesworth's music and Caramusic, two producers with copyright claims filed against one of OhmWrecker's videos. It's not clear whether there was any copy and pasting done on the part of Caramusic, but the possibility of a false positive on YouTube's part is very likely. The fact that YouTube has taken a hard stance against its content creators with regards to copyright claims by defending the Content ID system, and taking away many livelihoods to boot. Seeing all this in the face of their own system possibly being at fault is both draconian and highly arrogant. The Gods frown down on hubris, and lightning falls hardest on those who think themselves greater than man.

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To me, this is one example where proper investigation needs to be done before a copyright claim can be made. Having a system automatically fire from the hip without properly identifying whether an infringement is real or not creates more problems than solves them. What I do understand is that with the amount of content available on YouTube, having manual control over copyrights is ludicrous. Some automation is necessary - and this is perfectly acceptable. Where I have an issue is how these claims are enforced. First off, whether or not something is a false positive, any money earned from a video is taken away from person creating the media regardless of how much time and work they put into it. Secondly, the amount of administration time needed for content creators to manage these issues is a hindrance to the hard work these people do. Check out the video below for a fair and honest opinion on this very sensitive matter:

The reason for a copyright's existence is to protect the owners of creative work. When that owner is accurately represented there is no issue, however, a line has a be drawn when mismatches and errors are made by a system whose facilities are now in question.  If a system has major flaws and has the potential for major financial and social impact then it should not be defended until such time that proves to be effective. YouTube needs to learn a lesson here: Start listening to your contributors and show that you're willing to adapt to their needs before others. They are the reason for your success. It's best you remember that.

Source: VG247

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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