Earlier this week, the YouTube team laid out the changes it will be making to site’s controversial Content ID system. The proposed changes inspired hope that YouTube wouldn’t remove videos due to false positives in the content matching system. There was a small correction today that may change all that.
In the original blog post, the YouTube team said that potential false positives would be manually reviewed by YouTube themselves before action is taken. It was a great idea that would cut down on videos like the Democratic National Convention being taken down over bogus copyright claims. Google corrected themselves the next day to say that content owners will be the ones in charge of the manual review process.
So, the process is still the same, but the party conducting the review has changed. What’s the big deal? The problem lies in the fact that the manual review process won’t be conducted by a neutral third party. Some content curators aren’t exactly bastions of free speech and expression. We’ve seen them take down videos that were in the public domain before.
The new appeals process and improvements to content matching are welcome additions to YouTube’s Content ID system, but they may have potentially removed the bite out of the manual review process. Leaving it up to the content owners could prove troublesome. Of course, the content owners will still have to file a DMCA takedown notice if the video creator appeals the decision after the manual reviews process. This puts more power into the hands of the creator to prove that their video doesn’t infringe any copyright.
YouTube creators will still have to be wary of big media breathing down their necks. Even so, the changes may make it easier for smaller content creators to prove their videos are allowable under the DMCA. The video site has proven to be a fountain of creativity that remixes the familiar into the unfamiliar. Here’s hoping it stays that way.