How YouTube Detects When You Upload Copyrighted Stuff… And Makes Money Off It!

By Megan O'Neill Comment

Have you ever had one of your videos taken down from YouTube or your soundtrack removed because you violated copyright laws by using someone else’s music or video footage? Have you ever wondered how YouTube is able to uncover all the videos that break copyright laws, with over 35 hours of video uploaded per minute? The answer is a little system that YouTube likes to call Content ID. Read on to learn more about Content ID, how YouTube uses it to find videos that use copyrighted material, and how many copyright violations have been claimed as a result of the service.

YouTube first announced their Video Identification technology, which has since become known as Content ID, three years ago. The technology consisted of audio and video matching tools that match each and every video uploaded to the site against video and audio content provided by content owners (i.e. networks, record labels, film studios, etc.). If YouTube finds a video in which copyrighted materials are used, they take whichever action the content owner has indicated. Actions include blocking the video entirely, tracking the video, or monetizing the video. The video below illustrates how Content ID works:

One of the most surprising things about Content ID, for many YouTubers, is the fact that many content owners, rather than blocking videos using their video or audio, opt to make money off of these videos. Ad revenue on videos that use copyrighted content is split between the content owner and YouTube and accounts for more than one third of ad views on YouTube, according to recent data stating that YouTube ads get 2 billion views per week. Content owners used to jump quickly to block copyright material, but these days they are more inclined to make money off of the “free advertising” from parodies, tributes and fan videos.

According to the YouTube blog, “Rights holders who claim their content with Content ID generally more than double the number of views against which we run ads, doubling their potential revenue. And we’re seeing media companies make the most of this revenue opportunity – in the last quarter alone, claims to make money from videos increased 200%. Content ID contributes more than a third of YouTube’s monetized views each week, and overall, the revenue generated by Content ID is financing the ongoing creation of culture, both by established artists and new ones.”

What do you think about YouTube’s Content ID technology? Do you like the idea of content owners making money off your videos that use copyright material, rather than blocking them entirely?