YouTube has apologised to creators and promised to “strive to do better” with its system for complaints, including those concerning copyright.
It has created a new team “dedicated to minimising mistakes and improving the quality of our actions” in response to criticism from channel-owners who have been affected by complaints about their videos.
“Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion about the enforcement of our policies, from video takedowns to channel demonetization. We want you to know that we monitor video takedowns very closely, and while we haven’t seen a big change in the overall rate of removals, it’s true that we do make mistakes,” wrote a member of its policy team.
“For this, we’re sorry and we strive to do better by you, our community. The good news is that the feedback you’ve raised in comments and videos on YouTube and beyond is having an impact. It’s caused us to look closely at our policies and helped us identify areas where we can get better. It’s led us to create a team dedicated to minimising mistakes and improving the quality of our actions.”
CEO Susan Wojkicki tweeted a link to this post, thanking YouTubers for their feedback and promising that “we’re listening”.
Thank you @YouTube community for all the feedback. We’re listening: https://t.co/xLFmojjegI @GradeAUnderA @ChannelAwesome @IHE_OFFICIAL
— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) February 26, 2016
Set this alongside a separate announcement in November 2015 about YouTube’s plans on the legal side of copyright complaints.
“YouTube will now protect some of the best examples of fair use on YouTube by agreeing to defend them in court if necessary,” wrote its copyright legal director Fred von Lohmann then. “We are offering legal support to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns.”
Music and copyright claims can work smoothly on YouTube: the Content ID system does provide a way for inventive user-generated videos featuring copyrighted music to be claimed and monetised by the rightsholders rather than just taken down.
Yet it’s clear YouTube feels creators are being ill-served in some respects by its current complaints system – generally, rather than for music specifically – so we hope its efforts to rebalance that won’t spark too much additional tension with music rightsholders in the months ahead.
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One large problem YouTube has not addressed, and may cannot, is proving ownership in the first place. Since many creatives do not embed metadata into their works (such as, by way of one example, ISRC for music videos and songs), they have in effect released an orphan work whose parentage cannot be traced, therefore legal permissions not granted.
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