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YouTube Alters Copyright Algorithms, Will 'Manually' Review Some Claims 71

Posted by timothy
from the get-your-hands-off-my-manuals dept.
thomst writes "David Kravets of Wired's Threat Level blog reports that Google's Thabet Alfishawi has announced YouTube will alter its algorithms 'that identify potentially invalid claims. We stop these claims from automatically affecting user videos and place them in a queue to be manually reviewed.' YouTube's Content ID algorithms have notably misfired in recent months, resulting in video streams as disparate as Curiosity's Mars landing and Michelle Obama's Democratic Convention speech being taken offline on specious copyright infringement grounds. Kravets states, 'Under the new rules announced Wednesday, however, if the uploader challenges the match, the alleged rights holder must abandon the claim or file an official takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.' (A false takedown claim under the DMCA can result in non-trivial legal liability.)" Update: 10/05 11:24 GMT by S : Google has clarified its earlier comments. The user videos will be placed in a queue for manual review not by Google, but by the content owners.
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YouTube Alters Copyright Algorithms, Will 'Manually' Review Some Claims

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  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:24PM (#41553249) Homepage Journal
    as much as Google likes to believe its algorithms are infallible, they're not.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:32PM (#41553323)

      The algorithms are almost perfect. They keep Google from getting sued while placating the major content providers enough so that they will host items on YouTube.

      Were you assuming that the algorithms were designed to do anything else other than keep YouTube profitable?

      • I believe Google has issued a updating indicating that they are NOT manually reviewing anything, but the company that will make money off the video will be able to review the it.

        I'm sure they will honestly evaluate each video, and then decline the revenue from any non-infringing ones, even though there are no negative consequences by continuing the fraud.

        And Google has no interest in fixing their algorithm from having false positives, because the group it hurts has no power or influence.

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      Of course, none of these will apply to their "Preferred Content Partners" like Universal.

  • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:26PM (#41553265)

    Has a false DMCA takedown notice ever resulted in legal liability? I'm genuinely curious, we always hear about bogus takedown notices that don't result in anything bad happening to the evildoers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Has a false DMCA takedown notice ever resulted in legal liability? I'm genuinely curious, we always hear about bogus takedown notices that don't result in anything bad happening to the evildoers.

      This is because the evildoers are rich, try to file a couple of DMCA takedown notices yourself and you will see some non-trivial legal liability.

    • by djl4570 (801529) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:34PM (#41553341) Journal
      PBCS got raked over the coals by Thunderf00t et.al. Not sure what all happened to him. This case also pointed to a central problem with false DMCA takedown notices. Persons in foreign countries can claim rights under the DMCA but are not subject to DMCA jurisdiction for making false claims.
      • ThunderFooT forced PBCS to post a public youtube apology and remove himself from youtube for a year. PBCS did so and then came back. I really admire the way TF handled it, far more effective than getting the courts involved. TF also worked with PBCS's parents who were concerned about his behavior.
      • On a related note, I notice that foreign entities like to file DMCA takedowns when material is incorporated into new content meant for criticism and commentary, i.e. 'fair use': this happens quite a lot on Youtube--I noticed a video removed just this morning by a corporation in Tokyo. It's a PITA.

        That said, if they're filing subject to U.S. Jurisdiction, they're subjecting themselves to U.S. jurisdiction: with some of the lawyers I know, we could have some fun with this: something along the lines of "they
    • by stephanruby (542433) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:38PM (#41553373)

      Yes, there was one case I remember, but it wasn't some random take down. It was about a designer initiating a take down on a youtube video because she felt the movie producer/aborigin artist was still owing her money for her design work. The designer lost big in court, especially because the movie producer/artist could prove that he was receiving real income from his art pieces and her take down had a real provable effect on his loss of income at the time.

    • Never as far as I know but there has never been a company as large and with as much influence as Google on the other side before either.
    • When a false takedown hits someone famous like the first lady their will be damages. I can also see real damages if a false takedown hits a popular viral video.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:10PM (#41553579)

      Has a false DMCA takedown notice ever resulted in legal liability? I'm genuinely curious, we always hear about bogus takedown notices that don't result in anything bad happening to the evildoers.

      That's because they only target people who don't have money. When RIAA started going after peer to peer users (file downloaders), they meticulously selected people for prosecution whom they knew would be unable to mount an effective legal defense. Then, when they lost, they used those cases to establish precident to go after other file sharers in the same jurisdiction. If an appeal did happen, or they targeted someone who did have money, they backed off, offering to settle -- or in the case of a certain infamous law professor who's students worked for free assisting in the defense of an otherwise indigent person, they made sure to make an example out of them by pulling every legal trick possible to cost time and money, and then demanded the maximum penalties across the board, ruining the person's life.

      By doing this repeatedly, they managed to do things like neutralize the right to reverse engineer out of the DMCA. They've established that punitive amounts should be used instead of compensatory amounts. They have repeatedly lobbied to establish all of copyright law under the umbrella of strict liability, which requires no proof of intent, and makes no distinction between accidental and intentional harm. They have attempted (and often succeeded) in creating criminal laws where downloading is punished more harshly than rape, assault, or murder.

      The reason you don't hear about false DMCA notices is because they're only made against the poor. Copyright law has always targeted the most vulnerable members of society -- the poor and disadvantaged, and punished them disproportionately in the same manner as the war on drugs has. The rich have licensing agreements and lawyers who can arrange settlements. From simple traffic violations to murder, money buys you a clean record almost every time -- unless you get noticed by the media, or you step on the toes of someone with even more money. Right now, in my own county, I was given a speeding ticket. As is common with people with a clean driving record, I was offered a chance to continue it for dismissal, a sort of probation -- if I don't get any more traffic violations, it falls off my record. It was never there. Ah, but there was a $700 "court costs fee" before the judge could offer it.

      Don't kid yourself: Our judicial system has been corrupted by money. In time, it will be corrupted by other things as well, as has every other... over a long enough timeframe, every justice system fails. Every empire that acquired the rule of law has later lost it under pressure by the rich, the powerful, and slowly corroded under the weight of its own uncountable rules.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      My information is that if you have a "good faith" reason to believe that the copyright of someone that you are representing if violated, there is no penalty. And that there's no penalty for someone hiring a lawyer to file takedown notices lying to his lawyer. Or for the lawyer claiming to believe his client.

      If this is so, then the penalties only affect those who are either poor or careless.

      Additionally, I've never heard of anyone being prosecuted for a false takedown notice, but that is no indication that

    • by alexo (9335)

      Has a false DMCA takedown notice ever resulted in legal liability?

      Not that I know of.

      we always hear about bogus takedown notices that don't result in anything bad happening to the evildoers.

      This is by design.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:35PM (#41553345) Journal

    Why isn't YouTube requiring official DMCA notices in the first place?

    • by ExecutorElassus (1202245) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:44PM (#41553421)
      Because responding manually according to the required procedure, for the (I'm estimating here) thousands of requests they receive would eat up a huge chunk of their administrative and support budget.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        What reason is there that DMCA complaints couldn't be handled automatically? All the DMCA requires after receiving a well formed takedown notice is that the file be taken down and the original poster informed. Isn't that essentially what they do anyway?

        • by ExecutorElassus (1202245) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:58PM (#41553495)
          Not entirely. ContentID works by checking uploaded tracks against a database submitted by rightsholders. If the content matches, it gives the holders power to force an automatic takedown, or derive ad revenue from it. However, if the uploader disputes the claim, there was no real recourse if the claimant denied the dispute. Further, DCMA notices have to be manually filed for each uploaded file. Since Big Media is a bunch of whiny bitches, they didn't want to do that, and would much rather google does all the legwork for them.
          • What if the claiming "right holder" really isn't? When is Google going to fix THAT problem. Some background here: http://fairusetube.org/youtube-copyfraud [fairusetube.org]
            • by Z34107 (925136)

              That's what this is about. If the "right holder" really isn't, you can now challenge them, forcing them to file a regular DMCA notice under penalty of perjury.

              Challenging the DMCA notice forces them to actually go to court, although Google, admittedly, isn't then obligated to restore the content or clear your account of any "strikes."

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Because if someone challenges the DMCA complaint and the DMCA complainer disappears, Google is the one who gets held liable. No one wants to spend thousands of dollars and weeks/months/years going through the legal procedures just to have the DMCA complainer not show up in court.

          If crap like that ever happened, (in this case) Google who blindly forwarded the DMCA claim would get their ass kicked by the judge for wasting everyone's time and money.

          • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:35PM (#41553765) Journal

            Because if someone challenges the DMCA complaint and the DMCA complainer disappears, Google is the one who gets held liable.

            That's absolutely untrue. The entire point of the DMCA is the safe harbor provisions for service providers. If you take an item down in response to a well formed DMCA complaint there is no valid cause against you, even if the DMCA complainer disappears.

          • Google is the one who gets held liable.

            Copyright law is already ludicrous, you don't have to make shit up.

        • by s73v3r (963317)

          The content assholes were complaining that the process as you describe requires them to actually go through things and flag them themselves. They didn't want to do any actual work for this.

      • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:42PM (#41553803)

        They could only look at ContentID providers who frequently have their claims successfully disputed. To be generous, YouTube could then help re-jigger their source videos to produce fewer false positives (for example, removing the stock Nasa footage from news service source videos). In reality, YouTube would find that something like 30% of them are simply frauds who uploaded source videos they don't actually have any rights to.

        Similarly, if someone has been a successful YouTube member for several years with a clean copyright record, YouTube could manually review claims made against their account, and maybe even create a way to say "ok we trust this user, disable ContentID for their uploads".

        Right now, as far as I can tell, they don't do any of this basic housekeeping-type work for the average Joe user. This announcement just says they'll maybe start looking into it for the high-traffic users. (Translation: not you. Only millionaires.)

        We're not talking about needing an army of 50,000 employees to do this, we're talking about pulling 10-15 guys off click fraud duty (if only Google treated YouTube copyright fraud 1/100th as seriously as they treated click fraud!)

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        It wasn't even that. It was that the content assholes were bitching that following the law wasn't good enough for YouTube.

      • Processing a DMCA take down request wastes a lot of resources for the recipient. Is there any reason sites like Google at not already charging a processing fee? They could have one fee plus a deposit. They get to keep the deposit if the takedown was invalid.
    • by dreampod (1093343) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:48PM (#41553447)

      Because they don't have to. Since it is their property they can institute any rules or program that they want (provided obviously that it doesn't break the law) that will help them manage their service or please their partners. In this case they offered a content matching and content removal system to their corporate clients as a means to encourage them to use youtube heavily and stop suing them. The reason youtube is changing their policy is that it has been heavily abused and is starting to generate negative publicity and shift users elsewhere not because they have any obligation to.

      They have always accepted DMCA notices but also allowed an alternative non-DMCA process too.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Now that's a good answer. I'm guessing Google doesn't need the safe harbor provisions because YouTube's TOS don't guarantee any actual service.

        • The TOS protects them on one side and this automation comes from an agreement with large rights holders. Pretty much Google worked a deal with some big rights holders automatically take down content or do a revenue share deal. It just prooves that the DCMA is broken by design with just about any other court order third parties get paid "reasonable" fee's. I say "reasonable" as I remember charging several hundred bucks an hour for gathering data for the FBI and SS that last time I ran a hosting company.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            It just prooves that the DCMA is broken by design with just about any other court order third parties get paid "reasonable" fee's. I say "reasonable" as I remember charging several hundred bucks an hour for gathering data for the FBI and SS that last time I ran a hosting company.

            There's not much work involved in complying with a well formed DMCA complaint. Google doesn't have to verify that the complaint is valid, only that it is well formed. Then they just have to take it down and email the user who post

      • by Tom (822)

        That is true in principle, but - in this case their policy is linked to national and international law. In order to get YouTube to take down my video, you have to make a specific claim, namely that it violates a copyright that you hold.

        And if it doesn't, and you made that claim falsely or with no reasonable excuse for error, then that is a copyright fraud, and is a crime in itself.

        What pisses me off more than the fact that YouTube did, in fact, wrongly flag videos of mine recently is that they never replied

    • Because DMCA notices (and the protection it grants for compliance) are only valid in the US and Google has offices in a lot of countries.

  • Easy to fix (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:05PM (#41553549)

    YouTube needs to charge a $1000 deposit on every takedown request, and that deposit is refunded only if the violation is confirmed. The the **AA won't want to burn money on false requests. YouTube should like the profit they make from this policy so everyone wins.

    • by N0Man74 (1620447)

      YouTube needs to charge a $1000 deposit on every takedown request, and that deposit is refunded only if the violation is confirmed. The the **AA won't want to burn money on false requests. YouTube should like the profit they make from this policy so everyone wins.

      Except small content owners who don't have a spare $1000 to put down as a deposit when someone infringes on their content.

      • by c++0xFF (1758032)

        Ok, then. The deposit for the first notice is $1. Every false notice after that adds a zero (or doubles or some other function, probably up to a certain maximum, etc).

        This even adds an additional incentive to not file false claims (it'll cost more next time, even if it's the next one isn't false), while providing a range that accessible to individuals yet punitive to the worst offenders.

  • about damn time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by v1 (525388) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:28PM (#41553717) Homepage Journal

    the alleged rights holder must abandon the claim or file an official takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.' (A false takedown claim under the DMCA can result in non-trivial legal liability.)

    Though if they do file a counter-counter-claim, it'd still get taken down unjustly if you didn't have the money to buy back your justice with a lawyer. At least this will reduce the abuse of the system.

    It's for reasons like this that I am occasionally happy to see processes get abused, publicly, to a degree that triggers change.

  • by Jonah Hex (651948) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <smtodxeh>> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @10:12PM (#41555311) Homepage Journal
    I uploaded a video on September 9th of all original music by my best friend's band. I am still waiting for the "current" dispute process to complete. What disturbs me the most is that as someone who wants to create new, original content I can have the "best time" for my video to draw hits and thus the most monetization redirected away from the producer. I haven't bothered with searching the Copyright Center on this video since frankly it's friends/family watching it and not a huge monetary draw for anyone, but what if this happens with original content with a huge amount of hits?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnI1QZfbRjs [youtube.com]

    For anyone interested, here is the text of the "Disputed Claim" with the link to their Copyright Center. (links to the individual claim removed)

    Idiots Avant - Reunion/Demise Show
    Your video may include the following copyrighted content:
    Disputed claims
    "There Goes Norman", musical composition administered by:
    One or more music publishing rights collecting societies Your dispute awaiting response by 10/09/12
    UMPG Publishing Your dispute awaiting response by 10/09/12
    What does this mean?
    After your dispute has been submitted, your video will soon be available on YouTube without ads for third parties. This is a temporary status and might change at any time.
    Learn more about copyright on YouTube. [youtube.com]

    This claim does not affect your account status.

    HEX

    • by ledow (319597)

      If it's just friends and family watching it, why bother uploading it to YouTube and suffering through that process?

      Stick it on your personal website, link to have, finished. Hell, if I were in an indie band, that's what I'd do and let other people suffer the hassle of trying to post it onto YouTube etc.

      What you're complaining about is YouTube making sure it's not liable for videos you've posted and the time it takes to verify probably thousands of cases a day where someone says something infringes and actu

  • by Tom (822) on Friday October 05, 2012 @05:00AM (#41556793) Homepage Journal

    if the uploader challenges the match, the alleged rights holder must abandon the claim or file an official takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.' (A false takedown claim under the DMCA can result in non-trivial legal liability.)

    That is a long-needed step into the correct direction.

    I recently uploaded 6 videos with background music that has a CC license. I even linked to the author's homepage AND his CC-licence page in the video comment. Still got flagged. Challenged it. After some weeks, flag went away, but I'm none the wiser as to the who and why.

    I would love to be able to sue these fuckers. You don't mistakenly mis-identify original music creations. You can claim that if it's the music heard in the background of some video from a wedding or whatever, but not when I add a clean .mp3 as the audio track.

    Now at least they'll have to formally withdraw their claim.

    Next step - and just as badly needed - is that if they make a claim, it's a DMCA claim, i.e. penalty of perjury and all that.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Check out the update in the summary. The challengers* get to decide if the video infringes.

      * they're not really the challengers; the algorithm is challenging that your video matches their content, then gives them an option to review or remove. I seriously doubt they'll spend any time reviewing.
  • When a video is sent for manual review, the content owner has the option to analyze the user-uploaded video and determine whether it is a breach of copyright before the video is removed.

    To further clarify: "content owner" means big media company that owns the video your video happened to get flagged as matching, not the person who posted the flagged video.
    So this will never be used because the *AA would have to hire someone to be nice and okay your video (whereas the default is to remove all flagged videos).

  • Update: 10/05 11:24 GMT by S : Google has clarified its earlier comments. The user videos will be placed in a queue for manual review not by Google, but by the content owners.

    LOL !

    Nothing else to say. :-)

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