Automated Copyright Claims

The Technology Behind YouTube’s Content ID

Of all online platforms, YouTube has had the fiercest dealings with copyright violations in the last three years.  The video platform, along with many other content platforms, faces a constant problem of rampant re-posting.

When opportunistic shell accounts re-post or illegally claim another creator’s work as theirs, true content creators lose ad revenue. But if you’re a content creator, you can find comfort that YouTube has your back.

What’s the solution for this digital plagiarism?


Meet YouTube’s Content ID: an AI algorithm built to scan content and protect creators.

As a business owner, you’ll naturally want to understand how the algorithm works. You also need to know how to avoid accidental copyright violation on your company’s profile.


The Initial Problem

YouTube presents a unique opportunity to creators: upload content, generate ad revenue. When someone steals that content, not only is intellectual property now being mishandled. But the creator’s revenue stream is also being taken away.

Before any platform-wide solutions, these creators would have to personally comb through YouTube’s SERPs to find any duplicates of their content. If they happened to find one, they could report it to YouTube headquarters. Sounds time-consuming, right? Fortunately for modern content managers, there’s a better solution.


The Introduction of Content ID

Three years ago, YouTube paired an innovative Content ID program with Copyright Match, using audio and video identification to identify plagiarism. These tools comb YouTube’s library to find and flag any misused trademarked video content for immediate removal.

Creators can also opt to allow YouTube to leave re-posted content untouched, while redirecting that stolen video’s ad revenue to their account.

These tools ensure that creators, be they independent or part of a larger business, don’t lose out on the revenue their videos generate. Likewise, Content ID and Copyright Match prevent a creator’s intellectual property from being misused or plagiarized—even if that act was unintentional.



Working with Copyright Algorithms

When posting to YouTube or a site that uses similar copyright matching algorithms, how can you play fair?

Your best bet is to seek out fair-use works. These musical pieces, sound bites, visual clips, or other forms of media are usually free to use, so you won’t violate any copyright laws when you include them in content. Just pay attention to licenses.

For example, a “Creative Commons with Attribution” license requires that you grant credit to the person who created the fair use media you’re sharing.

If you happen to trigger one of YouTube’s copyright violations, don’t panic. YouTube breaks down its copyright strike assignments into four stages:


  • Warning. The first time one of your videos is flagged, YouTube will inform you that you’re in violation of copyright. You won’t receive a strike—yet. You can appeal this warning if you believe there’s been an error.
  • First strike. You’ll lose your ability to upload videos, live streams, stories, or create thumbnails for your videos for one week. This strike remains on your account for 90 days.
  • Second strike. If you post a second video that triggers the copyright algorithm within 90 days, you won’t be able to upload content for two weeks.
  • Third strike: YouTube deletes your account from the platform.

Remember: as a profit-generating business, your ability to interact with pieces of media you haven’t created involves playing by copyright laws.

Don’t let an algorithm like YouTube’s give you a black mark because you made a mistake. Read up on the licensure of the content you want to use, and you’ll avoid falling victim to algorithms such as Content ID and Copyright Match.



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