July 8th, 2016

When you consider the effect of social media on advertising, you obviously cannot ignore the role of online video. From YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, and everywhere in-between, hundreds of hours of video are uploaded to video-streaming services every minute. But what happens when your video is flagged for copyrighted content?

It’s a new problem in some ways, and an old one in others. If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have heard about one of the most iconic rock songs of all times being hit with a lawsuit. The band Led Zeppelin was relieved when a jury found that the group had in fact not stolen their famous opening riff to the song “Stairway to Heaven.”

Most of us will not create something as permanent as a hit rock song, but mega-rock moguls do have something in common with the ordinary YouTube poster – we all like to share our creations, and that means we all run the risk of using something that may not be ours originally.

Recently, one of my personal accounts received a notice that a video had been flagged with a copyright claim. I was surprised because the video in question was originally uploaded in 2011, and after six years, YouTube let me know that the song “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” by Bob Dylan could be heard playing softly in the background for roughly 30 seconds.

The entire length of the video is around 9 minutes, but instead of muting only the section that has the copyright claim, the entire video was muted. After reviewing the claim and seeing what the options were for filing a dispute, I decided to edit the song out and re-upload the video. The one thing to be curious about now is: How did YouTube know that copyrighted material has been uploaded on to the site?

Currently, YouTube relies on a tool known as Content ID, which is a popular form of digital fingerprinting that allows original creators of media to be easily identified and manage their content on YouTube. If an account repeatedly uploads protected material then YouTube can add a “copyright strike” to their account. If an account receives three copyright strikes, then the account will be terminated, all videos in the account will be removed, and the account user won’t be able to create accounts.

Content ID has recently come under fire from social media users who argue the idea of fair use under the hashtag “WTFU” (“Where’s the Fair Use?”). Generally speaking, fair use is a legal principle that allows third parties to make use of copyrighted material without the original author’s permission in certain instances. Fair use is implemented when the material is used for educational purposes, criticism, satire, reporting, and commentary. Content ID gets into the most trouble when it allows for automated claims to be made against accounts when there is no human involvement to make a judgment on how the copyrighted material is being used.

Computers can only make matches, they cannot determine judgment on the way material is used, and this distinction can help when determining what is a violation, and what is simply a video of your family enjoying some leisure time.

When we all have access to the same music, movies, books, and advertisements, it can be difficult to come up with a unique idea. But when it comes to your advertising, we at MorningStar look at the trends and the changes in social media and online marketing to ensure that the unique and individual elements of your business shine through – highlighting your abilities, and making you a rock star in your own right.


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