Thank You for the Music (and the Money): YouTube stops copyright holders monetising videos through manual copyright claims

August 23, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

As of September, when copyright owners want to make a manual claim to monetise videos their work has been used in, they cannot make that claim for very short uses of the music or unintentional use. Instead, they can stop the creator from monetising the video, or block the video.

What does this mean?

Recently, copyright owners have been monetising videos where the relevant song may only be playing for a few seconds from a passing car. This means that whatever money the video has made would go to the copyright owner rather than the creator, even though 99% of the video may be copyright-free.

Therefore, YouTube have made this change in order to (a) make it fairer for the creators who have worked hard on their videos and (b) make it harder/less appealing for the copyright owners to want to make copyright claims.

YouTube has also allowed creators to remove clips of infringing content, or cover it up with royalty-free audio so that their content does not have to be taken down.

What's the big picture effect?

Whilst this is a step in the right direction for preventing the misuse and abuse of the manual copyright system, this does not address the other method of copyright detection – YouTube’s Content ID. This system automatically scans videos being uploaded for copyright matches, and the copyright owner YouTube’s Content ID picks up much larger uses of music and thus justifies the ability to monetise or block the video. YouTube has most definitely helped creators by ensuring they don’t lose money or views due to much more insignificant use of music.

As more and more individuals rely on YouTube as a source of income, such improvements ensure that YouTube remains fair to both copyright holders and creators, and ensuring the platform remains appealing for people to produce content on.

This change will come in from mid-September and has, unsurprisingly, been met with a positive reception from creators and they welcome this, and similar, changes to the platform.

Report written by Harina Chandhok

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