Despite Content ID, Piracy Still Rampant On YouTube

By Megan O'Neill 

With 72 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s a massive undertaking for the video site to monitor it all.  Content ID, YouTube’s platform for weeding out copyrighted materials uploaded to the site by cross-checking uploaded video against audio and visuals provided by content owners, has done wonders for cutting back YouTube piracy.  However, Amir Efrati of the WSJ reports that illegal movie uploads are still finding their way to the site.

Efrati writes that, “Hundreds of full-length feature films including blockbusters from Walt Disney Co. and Sony Corp.’s Columbia and Tristar studios have been illegally uploaded to the world’s most popular video site, generating hundreds of millions of views over the past year.”  Full movies reported to have recently been found on YouTube include Shanghai Noon, I Am Number Four, The Three Faces of Eve, Misery and Halloween.

Howard Gantman, a MPAA spokesman, told the WSJ, “We are aware of the issue and are concerned about it.  Our member companies have raised the issue with YouTUbe and hope they will work cooperatively with us to fix it.”

While Content ID isn’t perfect—YouTubers have seen their share of false copyright claims—YouTube is constantly taking strides to improve the service and it has definitely done a phenomenal job of cutting back on the amount of pirated films and television shows uploaded to the site, along with the number of videos including unlicensed music.

However, trying to get every piece of pirated content off the site is a hefty, hefty task and many “internet pirates” have come up with ways of fooling Content ID, from slightly altering the soundtrack or image in hopes that Content ID won’t pick up on the fact that the content belongs to someone else.

Additionally, YouTube can’t accomplish the feat of ridding their site of copyright violations entirely on their own.  Content owners need to provide YouTube with the material that they’d like Content ID to check for, but Efrati reports that “some media companies don’t always use the system properly and forget to block some illegal content.”

Have you been able to find or watch pirated full length movies or TV shows on YouTube?  What’s your take on YouTube’s Content ID? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Image credit: bloomua via

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video expert here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.