YouTube promises action over criticisms of incorrect takedowns
James R | On 01, Mar 2016
YouTube has promised to take action to improve its policy surrounding copyright takedowns, following a wave of backlash from the site’s users.
YouTube has long had an automated copyright detection system in process, so that if a clip from an unauthorised movie, for example, is used, then the video can be blocked or monetisation options for its uploader removed.
In the last month, though, there has been a growing wave of criticism of incorrect removals by YouTube’s system. Douglas Walker, host of Channel Awesome, posted the above video, complaining about what happened when they tried to use a film clip, which left them, like many creators, caught in a series of automated replies and appeals that can often prove frustrating.
“We’re coming up on three weeks of getting no monetization, no money for any of the videos we’ve put up, past and present,” he explained. “Nobody has given us a straight answer. Nothing has been consistent. Nobody knows what’s going on.”
Channel Awesome launched a campaign using the hashtag #WTFU (Where’s The Fair Use?), which swiftly gained support from other vloggers, as they all called for YouTube to better police the rule that allows for the usage of media in the US for purposes such as criticism, commentary, parody and news reporting. (In the UK, the equivalent law is called “Fair Dealing”.)
YouTube, of course, is a community built almost entirely around that principle, as creators use everything from movies and TV shows to video games for their work. While YouTube’s system arguably hasn’t changed much over the years, the landscape in which it operates has: there are now alternatives for vloggers to use, from Facebook to Vimeo, Twitter and Instagram. YouTube is therefore under more pressure than ever to ensure that its community doesn’t become so frustrated that it ups sticks and leaves.
— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) February 26, 2016
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki took to Twitter to reassure users that the site is taking the complaints seriously, while Spencer from YouTube’s Policy Team also announced a series of new measures to improve the way YouTube operates in these cases.
Spencer revealed that YouTube is creating a team “dedicated to minimising mistakes and improving the quality of our actions”, also promising to “increase transparency into the status of monetization claims”.
There will also be some new initiatives rolled out in the coming months to help “strengthen communications between creators and YouTube support”.
“As we work to implement these improvements as quickly as we can, we’ll continue to take your feedback seriously,” he added.