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NYC Litigation Blog

Friday, January 17, 2020

YouTube Updates How It Will Handle Copyright Claims

How will the changes to copyright claims on YouTube assist video creators?

YouTube has enacted a major change when it comes to handling manual copyright claims. Copyright claims are extremely common on YouTube, with thousands of videos being posted each day, often by amateur creators. Previously, copyright owners would file a manual copyright claim against a video creator without specifying where exactly the violation occurred. Video owners often struggled to determine where the violation exists, especially when some violations consist of just a few seconds of a song played in the background. Automatic copyright violations, on the other hand, provided timestamps so that the creator knew exactly where the violation existed.

Reporting and Correcting a Manual Copyright Claim on YouTube

Now, manual copyright claims will more closely mirror automatic ones. Copyright owners will need to state exactly where the violation occurred during reporting. Video creators will then be able to see what part of their video is being accused of a violation. YouTube gives the video creator an option to mute the audio during the offending portion, insert a free song from the YouTube library, or completely cut out that portion of the video. If the video creator elects to correct the violation with any of these options, the claim will be dropped.

It is thought that this change to the YouTube copyright claims system will simplify the process and make it easier for video creators to address copyright issues. Video makers are still at a disadvantage due to YouTube’s tendency to place more power in the hands of the copyright owner. The law makes it so that YouTube will give more deference to copyright owners to avoid violations.

Video creators will want to educate themselves as to the laws on fair use in order to avoid an accusation of copyright infringement. Fair use will generally allow for the limited and transformative use of a copyrighted work so as to comment, criticize, or parody the work. There is a common misconception that you can use a few seconds of a copyrighted song without committing a violation, but this is not true per copyright law. Fair use is far more complex than this and must be assessed on a case-by-case basis with the help of a copyright attorney.


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