Facebook is stepping up its efforts to tackle the issue of copyrighted videos being uploaded to the social network without permission from their rightsholders.
The company has acquired a startup called Source3, co-founded by Patrick Sullivan, Ben Cockerham and Scott Sellwood, who sold their previous startup music-licensing firm RightsFlow to YouTube in 2011.
What is Facebook up to now? “We’re excited to work with the Source3 team and learn from the expertise they’ve built in intellectual property, trademarks and copyright. As always, we are focused on ensuring we serve our partners well,” a spokesperson told Recode.
Source3 had raised more than $4m of funding so far, but the price of the acquisition has not been disclosed.
“At Source3, we set out to recognise, organise and analyse branded intellectual property in user-generated content, and we are proud to have identified products across a variety of areas including sports, music, entertainment and fashion. Along the way, we built an end-to-end platform to manage online IP and establish relationships with brands,” explained Source3 on its website, as it announced the Facebook acquisition.
“Today, we wanted to let everyone know that we’ve decided to continue our journey with Facebook. We’re excited to bring our IP, trademark and copyright expertise to the team at Facebook and serve their global community of two billion people, who consume content, music, videos and other IP every day.”
The news comes nearly two years after Facebook first announced plans to develop a Content ID-style ‘video matching’ technology to identify unauthorised uploads, and just over a year since the official launch of what it called ‘Rights Manager’ which allowed rightsholders to take this content down or leave it alone.
In April this year, Facebook added the option to claim a share of any advertising earnings from matched videos, while admitting that it was “early days” for this income stream.
For Facebook, this kind of technology is not just about music, although publishers in particular have been loudly demanding that the social network get its content-protection and licensing strategy rolling.
Facebook has also faced the issue of ‘freebooting’ where other kinds of videos (from viral clips to content made by popular YouTubers) has been ripped from YouTube and uploaded to Facebook by unrelated parties, in search of likes and page-follows.
The acquisition of Source3 is the latest sign of Facebook’s intentions on the copyright-protection side. But with its first music-licensing staff also having been recruited in recent months, publishers and labels alike are keen to see the social network push on with that side of its video business too.