“My biggest concern is that for every guy like me who will contest this stuff, there are many more people who don’t,” Seidman told us. “If it goes unanswered, the revenue flows away from the content creator to a corporate entity.”
Seidman said that Content ID’s dispute-resolution process leaves a lot to be desired. If Seidman disputes another media organization’s claim, the other organization has up to a month to respond. “That’s a long time for a news agency,” he told us. In the meantime, the original owner of the video is blocked from earning any revenue.
The Content ID system was created because major content owners insisted that the notice-and-takedown regime established by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) didn’t go far enough in protecting their rights. YouTube chose to go beyond the letter of the law, creating a system that was supposed to automatically detect infringing videos and either block them or let the rightful owner claim the revenue.
But in accommodating the demands of large copyright holders, YouTube has inadvertently reminded us all of the crucial point that flagging copyright infringement isn’t nearly as simple as it is often portrayed by rightsholders. Even scanning videos for exact content matches that exceed certain thresholds (in order to preserve at least some fair uses) actually fails in all sorts of interesting ways.