Youtube Copyright Infringement
If YouTube copyright infringement is a problem you have encountered, you probably have some idea of just how serious it can be, especially if you have successfully monetized some original YouTube content.
Infringement and outright piracy have become critical challenges for content creators including the music and film industries, and YouTube itself. The challenge is growing in scope as YouTube evolves under Google’s ownership and the sheer volume of its available content expands dramatically.
There is no sign that content growth on YouTube will slow – quite the opposite, as geographically and culturally diverse creators and users flock to the platform in record numbers.
A primary challenge that YouTube faces in helping content creators to protect their intellectual property (IP) rights is the incredible scope of the enterprise. Hundreds of hours of new video content are uploaded each minute. In terms of protecting your copyright rights on YouTube considering this information, what could go wrong?
Stopping YouTube Copyright Infringement
If you create original content to upload to YouTube, the platform does provide you with mechanisms to address copyright infringement. While there is no question that you may protect your interests and have offending content removed with these mechanisms, they are not perfect, and perhaps they can never be. The technology – and the infringement problem itself – evolve too quickly.
Unfortunately, the spirit of innovation is not limited to those who create content for YouTube. It extends to those who wish to appropriate the intellectual property of others, even if that means circumvention of technological protections.
As a result, YouTube and its parent Google are continuing their efforts to provide you with solutions for reporting and stopping copyright infringement on the platform.
YouTube’s approach to copyright infringement focuses on systems to help you find and address violations without having to search endlessly for content duplicating your own. Using the tools that the platform provides, you can attempt to identify unauthorized uses of your content, report a specific YouTube video for copyright infringement, and take action to stop offenders from continuing to violate your rights.
Identifying, Reporting and Removing Copyright Infringements
If you use YouTube to upload and display your original content, you need a clear understanding of what YouTube’s tools can, and cannot, do for you. There is no question of their utility for content creators when used correctly, though they may not always function as intended or even be fully accessible to all creators.
YouTube recognizes that not everyone who creates content for the platform understands the nature of copyright, the protections it affords, or the remedies available when infringement occurs. Accordingly, it has provided basic information describing key copyright concepts, including “fair use.” It has also been clear about not being able to resolve ownership disputes and limits its role to acting on what it terms a “complete and valid takedown notice” in dealing with violations.
YouTube’s goal is to help identify actual copyright infringements and then remove them, subject to the alleged offenders’ right to appeal the removals.
1. Identifying Instances of Copyright Infringement
If you regularly upload large volumes of original material and meet YouTube’s criteria, you can access a service called Content ID.
It works by identifying digitally and substantiating the specific time and details of original content uploads. It uses this information to determine ownership. It will then compare that content to an enormous database of video content uploaded by others. If it finds evidence of copyright infringement, it will allow you to block the offending video partially or completely, monetize the video, or track the video’s performance statistics. YouTube also has a similar Copyright Match Tool.
2. Reporting Violations and Executing Take-downs
At a basic level, it is not difficult to learn how to stop copyright infringement on YouTube, at least in terms of individual instances. The platform offers you a simplified “front end” through which you can initiate the process of removing infringing content. Due to the legal exposure for making mistakes in requesting removal of content, we strongly suggest that you only have a copyright attorney take this type of action for you.
If someone has taken your original YouTube content and uploaded it as their own, you can file an infringement notice with YouTube, provided that you own the copyrights you assert. YouTube requires that such take-down requests be filed only by you as the copyright owner, or by your legal agent.
If you own the rights to a large volume of original content, meet all YouTube’s criteria, and are unconcerned about potential program pitfalls, you can also take action by joining the Content ID program or participating in YouTube’s Content Verification Program.
Before you proceed with an infringement claim, YouTube will also remind you that in initiating a take-down request, you are essentially commencing a legal proceeding. It is therefore in your interest to avoid false or ill-founded claims as these will ultimately backfire, forcing you to deal with unwanted and potentially severe legal consequences.
You should also be aware that those individuals you believe have violated your copyrights have some recourse of their own built into YouTube’s process. Alleged offenders may counterclaim, or may take action after YouTube has removed their own allegedly offending content to have your take-down notice set aside and their content restored.
If you realize that you are mistaken in thinking another YouTube user has violated your copyright, you can also retract your take-down notice.
Finally, if you have access to the Copyright Match Tool, YouTube will automatically notify you if it identifies an instance of copyright violation involving your original content. In such a case, you have three choices. You can take no action, you can deal directly with the offender to achieve a reasonable resolution, or you can initiate the take-down process. It is also worth remembering that the protection the tool affords extends only to complete works, rather than to parts of protected works.
3. Youtube’s System Problems
Complex IT systems are rarely perfect and are subject to both evolution and entropy. They are also frequently the subjects of abuse, and they (or their users) may become targets for inappropriate or illegal activity. YouTube is no exception.
Despite efforts by YouTube and Google, YouTube remains the focus of various IP-related controversies.
Some of these issues have arisen from YouTube’s “strike policy,” a three-strike system for violations of copyright policy or community guidelines that has opened the door to extortion attempts against legitimate content owners. Others have to do with alleged serious defects or misguided policy measures in the Content ID program.
Terms such as “disorganization,” “chaos” and “insanity” abound in online commentaries on YouTube’s handling of copyright infringement. It has not helped that YouTube’s arbitrary de-monetization of specific popular content frequently figures in the IP debates. The policy debate is ongoing.
Copyright Cease and Desist Letter
In the event of an infringement on Youtube, we typically suggest that you have us start by sending a copyright cease and desist letter. The recipient will see that we are aggressive copyright litigators which tends to get prompt action. You will also create an evidentiary trail that may prevent future infringements.
If you have received a cease and desist letter, we can also assist. We will review the letter and create a response that cites the best facts and law in your favor. At times we can find a complete defense such as public domain which may preserve your right to continue on with your channel or channels.
Cease and desist letters typically end the infringement matter, but if such a result cannot be achieved we can also assist with copyright litigation.
If you have a Youtube copyright infringement issue, please contact us today.