Copyright & You Tube

We recently came across a very informative article by Anna Sabia on the BDCWire website explaining in a clear and entertaining way how You Tube works and applies copyright policies. The article can be found at this link:

As explained by Ms. Sabia, here’s how You Tube works and deals with copyright issues:

1. The user uploads video content to You Tube.

2. YouTube scans all uploaded content with a content I.D. system to see if it contains any registered copyrighted material. That could be a song, movie clip, logo, or any of the other millions upon millions of registered items. If the system detects any matches, the copyright holder will receive an alert, letting them know the uploaded content may infringe their copyright.

3. Once alerted, the copyright holder has a choice: They can either leave the video up—sometimes choosing to place ads on it—or issue a takedown notice, at which point the video will become one of the many dead links on YouTube. Millions of takedown notices are issued to YouTube every week.

4. If your video is taken down, you can appeal the decision. The copyright holder then has a 30-day window to decide whether they want to press charges for copyright infringement or allow the video to go back up.

As Ms. Sabia explains, in theory, the You Tube process seems fair enough. It protects copyright holders from having their work reused illegally, and that’s great because that’s exactly what copyright laws are designed to do. But this system also inherently assumes that everything uploaded to YouTube that contains copyrighted material is using that material illegally. In fact, there are legal ways YouTubers can use copyrighted items.

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