According to YouTube’s most recent transparency report, the number of Content ID copyright system claims has reached a new high of 826 million in just six months.

According to YouTube’s most recent transparency report, the number of Content ID system allegations reached a record high in the second half of 2022. The advanced copyright technology identified over 826 million issues, nearly all of which were automated. Through monetization possibilities, these claims yield around $1.5 billion in additional annual payouts to rightsholders.

This is the largest total since YouTube began releasing these figures, and it represents a 9% increase over the same period last year, when 759 million videos were flagged. Despite the fact that fewer copyright holders are actively using the Content ID system, the number of claims increased from 4,840 in 2021 to 4,646 in 2022.

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While anybody can send a DMCA notification to YouTube, most copyright proceedings are initiated using the Content ID system, which is accessible only to a small group of copyright holders. YouTube often disables, removes, or demonetizes videos allegedly containing copyrighted content based on these claims to protect copyright holders.

For years, the amount of claims made by rightsholders on YouTube was unclear, but that changed two years ago when the platform released its first transparency report. Since then, the number of claims has continuously increased.

YouTube has managed to present its Content ID system in a new light for rightsholders, allowing them to monetize infringing content rather than simply removing it. The idea of monetizing piracy is novel, but it has resulted in a sizable revenue stream opportunity; rightsholders choose to monetize more than 90% of all Content ID claims.

It’s no surprise that the fundamental purpose of rightsholders is commercialization. Companies like Identifyy (owned by HAAWK) are focused on this element and using the expanded capabilities of Content ID by allowing authors to match and monetize their content across Meta and YouTube.

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Copyright holders were compensated around $1.5 billion in 2022 as a result of their Content ID claims. Since the system’s inception a few years ago, $9 billion in claimed revenue has been distributed to copyright holders.

Unfortunately, the economic prospects provided by Content ID have led to scammers attempting to take a piece of the pie. In one instance, two individuals established a corporation to locate and claim unmonetized music through a third-party partner who had access to the Content ID system. By falsely claiming ownership, the scam garnered over $24 million in revenue from YouTube.

The abuse, however, did not go unnoticed. The two individuals were indicted by the US Department of Justice in 2020, with the first defendant sentenced to more than five years in prison last week.

“We take abuse of our tools seriously — each year, we terminate tens of thousands of accounts that attempt to abuse our copyright tools,” the business states. “Sometimes, this manifests itself in the form of political actors attempting to censor political speech or corporations stifling criticism of their products or practices.” Other times, people try to utilize our copyright processes to harass other producers or to remove films that they believe compete for the same audience.”

Almost all Content ID allegations (99.5%) are automatically handled using fingerprinting technology, with possibly infringing content reported by technology with little human monitoring. This technique saves YouTube and rightsholders a significant amount of money. However, it can also be a source of abuse and inaccuracies, which is why only a small number of confirmed rightsholders are eligible for the program.

According to YouTube, manual Content ID claims are more than twice as likely as automated claims to be contested (0.94% vs. 0.43%), but because there are 200 times more automated claims, these still account for the majority of all disputes.


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