Saturday, January 25, 2014

They say it's all about the Content (ID)

You know me...

I'm all for free enterprise and hold firmly to the belief that everyone should just keep their cotton pickin' hands off other people's stuff.

But I'm also conscious of how the tenets of a "Nanny State" abused by corporate interests can tread on free expression if not free enterprise.  For the few of us who can leverage the new media and turn a few pennies for our efforts, it often seems that our creativity is stifled by the size of the retainer we pay our attorneys.

Case in point.  YouTube's dreaded ContentID system.  The ultimate expression of corporate trolling and abuse.  Upload a video that happens to include the faint echos of somebody's transistor radio and 100's of hours of effort can be seized by any number of "Third Party" copyright holders. 

YouTube is a medium but one that would prefer to expand its server farms instead of its legal team.  As such they stay far inside the so-called "safe harbor" rules on copyrighted material.

Safe Harbor is legalese for "Don't Shoot the Messenger."  It's expression of good faith has coalesced in the Content ID system.

Content ID comes into play when your uploaded content is compared against a software algorithm designed to find matches with known copyrighted material.  If it finds a match, YouTube flags the content and offers you the choice to either acknowledge or dispute the claim.  Until recently those were your only options.  It's a deck that is without doubt, stacked against you and the consequences of losing a challenge will at the least deprive you of revenue or at worst get your channel tossed off of YouTube.

Other possible consequences are:

Having your video blocked in some countries
Having Ads placed in your video that you get no revenue from
Having your Video removed from YouTube

I've gone through the dispute process and actually won a few times but only when my argument was either irrefutable or the supposed "infringed party" gave up their claim.  99% of the time, however, you're going to end up having to acknowledge what may or may not be a legitimate copyright claim.  If you care about your content being seen and the "violation" isn't egregious enough, chances are you'll just get a commercial stuck in your video.

There's another option, however, that on its face appears to be middle ground.

I'm talking about new functionality in YouTube that allows  you to remove the supposed "infringing" content from your video without having to go through the pain of re-editing it. 

The Content ID system can pinpoint to a high degree of accuracy exactly where in your video the "infringing" content resides.   It's been able to do that for years but other than annoyance it served little purpose. 

Until now, that is.  Considering that raw HD videos can be 10's of Gigabytes in size with 100's of fragile timing cues easily lost by a careless edit, a tool to easily deal with flagged content is welcome.

In the Video below, I show you how to use this new functionality offered by YouTube.  It's still in Beta but I've been satisfied with the results so far.  The best part is that once the infringing content is removed you're free to monetize and distribute the video however you wish.

Check it out