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Copyright holders can no longer manually take YouTube creator revenue for brief music clips

YouTube is making new changes to copyright enforcement policies with regards to music used in videos. These updates can result in a huge rush of blocked videos in the immediate term but could result in a more relaxed and healthier ecosystem in the long run.

Let’s have the context the Content ID system allows copyright holders to look for matches between their content and the audio or video of various YouTube clips.

If a match is found, copyright holders are given several options to handle the situation: they can ignore it (which rarely happens), mute any audio that matches their music, block the entire video from being viewed, and run (or continue to run) ads on the video and snag the revenue for themselves.

Naturally, this is a controversial system. Many YouTubers have had their revenue swiped for including just a few seconds of a copyright holder’s content. In some rarer cases, YouTubers report that they’ve received Content ID claims for merely singing or speaking some song lyrics.

YouTube announcement blog post states, the company will block copyright holders from using the Manual Claim Content ID tool to monetize entire videos that contain “very short” or “unintentional” uses of music. An example of unintentional use could be a video blogger recording a clip in a store with music playing in the background.

Unfortunately, this news is bittersweet. Yes, copyright holders can no longer monetize videos for including short pieces of copyrighted material, but they still might choose to block monetization outright while leaving the video up or even prevent the video from being seen by anyone.

Once a violation is found, copyright owners can then either block or monetize the videos on their behalf.

With Manual Claiming tool, copyright owners are allowed to search through all the publicly uploaded and available videos on YouTube. In this case, owners can file for a claim once a match is found.

For instance, if a vlogger happens to walk past a car that plays a certain song, the copyright holder of the song can file for a copyright violation through the “Manual Claiming” tool and result in the loss of revenue for the vlogger for the particular vlog.

Out of the Content ID match system and Manual Claiming tool, the latter one tends to cause the most damage to creator uploaded content on YouTube. Even an unintentional or a very short presence of copyrighted music can result in a copyright claim and subsequent loss of revenue.

“We strive to make YouTube a fair ecosystem for everyone, including songwriters, artists, and YouTube creators. We acknowledge that these changes may result in more blocked content in the near-term, but we feel this is an important step toward striking the right balance over the long-term,” wrote the company.

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