Why not make Content ID more accessible and transparent?
Much has been written about YouTube’s Content ID program, a fingerprinting technology that allows rights holders to find and claim their music or movies when uploaded to YouTube. The technology was introduced in 2008 in the wake of Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube and since then has helped (some) creators mitigate the problem of piracy on the popular UGC (user-generated content) site.
Those who have access to the Content ID system can uploaded reference files and use a dashboard to choose how matches should be handled. They can be limited based on audio, video, and length. Matching content then can be blocked, removed, or monetized based on territorial rights.
I’ve written many pieces about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to Content ID so I won’t be redundant here, but this week I read some pieces which highlight some lingering issues that continue to limit the reach (and effectiveness) of this technology–most notably limited access and accountability.
Are audiobooks being ignored?
Author Ryan Holiday published a piece in The Observer asking, “When Will YouTube Deal With Its Audiobook and Podcast Piracy Problem?” He described how using search, he’d found the audio version of one of his books streaming, in full, on YouTube. The audio had been streamed 16,000 times. He observed, “It might not seem like a ton but the book had sold about 50,000 copies in audio—an additional 30% of that figure pirated it through a single video?”
Holiday goes on to repeat the oft-heard lament of filmmakers, musicians, et al who have found their pirated works streaming on YouTube. Like many of them, Holiday believes YouTube needs to make it easier for artists to protect their creations from this type of theft:
For its part, YouTube needs to get its act together and offer tools directly to publishers and authors. Audiobook piracy is real and clearly growing. The idea that songs and television and films all deserve protections from Content ID but authors don’t is absurd.