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New YouTube Content ID Appeals Process

12 October 2012
A new appeals process has been added to Youtube's Content ID system which provides further recourse for users who feel a claim made against their uploaded content is invalid.

Content ID is a copyright protection tool provided by Youtube, which allows rights holders (e.g film studios or music labels) to protect the use of their audio or video rights. Rights holders register their content with Youtube and the Content ID system then looks for matches against uploaded videos. If a match is found that hasn't been uploaded by the rights holder, Content ID will automatically apply the right holder's preferred policy to that content, which can either be to track the user (e.g. statistics on how often the content is being viewed), block the content, or monetise the content(eg adding advertising). There are currently around 3,000 registered rights holders using the system, protecting over 500,000 hours of content on Youtube.

The new appeals procedure has been introduced to protect users disputing Content ID claims from rights holders. Such users could previously challenge Content ID claims on their videos, but if a rights holder rejected the challenge, the user was given no further opportunity to defend the claim. Under the regime adopted on 3 October 2012, a user may file an appeal to the claim. The rights holder can then either drop the claim, or file a formal DMCA takedown notification.

Youtube hope that this innovation will provide a better balance between the interests of rights holders and everyday users. However, this may be a disappointing move by YouTube for rights holders as the Content ID technology has provided an effective way for rights holders to manage the problem of large-scale unauthorised use of content on YouTube. This new appeals process is likely to undermine the success of fingerprinting technology in reducing online copyright infringement if it results in the need for more formal notifications to YouTube.

By Penny Thornton and Matt Sharkey

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