YouTube is making changes to its copyright enforcement policies. From September it will make it less easy for copyright holders to make manual claims for YouTube videos that include very short music clips or unintentional music.
The video platform's previously confusing rule on copyright claims has led to opportunistic YouTube users claiming copyright infringement on short music clips (five seconds of a song) or unintentional music (like music from passing cars) in certain videos so they can redirect ad revenue from the videos to their accounts.
"One concerning trend we’ve seen is aggressive manual claiming of very short music clips used in monetized videos,” YouTube said in a blog post announcing the change. "These claims can feel particularly unfair, as they transfer all revenue from the creator to the claimant, regardless of the amount of music claimed."
To counter this, YouTube now requires copyright holders to provide timestamps for all their claims instead of just filing a copyright claim over the entire video. This will let the video Creators know exactly which part of their video is being claimed. The Creators can use YouTube's tools to mute the song, replace the song, or directly trim the segment from their videos.
Besides allowing manual claims, YouTube also has its own algorithms that automatically flag copyright-infringing content.
We have previously written about how trolls were exploiting a flaw in YouTube's copyright system by claiming copyright to videos that do not belong to them so they can get ad revenue from the videos.
TheFatRat, a music producer, was one such victim. A music video for a song he produced was claimed by another user, who started receiving revenue from the video instead.
TheFatRat put in a dispute to the claim, but he was told by YouTube that his dispute was not approved by the copyright claimant. Under YouTube's old system, the copyright claimant got to review the dispute. YouTube had a hands-off approach to copyright disputes like TheFatRat's.
Besides TheFatRat, there are a number of complaints by Creators on YouTube here, here and here. In some cases, popular YouTubers get copyright claims on their videos from other users, who then demand money for dropping their claims.