YouTube Tweaks Copyright Policy: Rights Holders Can't Monetize Videos With Short or Unintentional Music Uses

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"These claims can feel particularly unfair, as they transfer all revenue from the creator to the claimant, regardless of the amount of music claimed."

YouTube is tweaking its copyright policy, blocking rights holders from manually monetizing “creator videos with very short or unintentional uses of music.” In a blog post, YouTube announced the change, which will go into effect in mid-September, won’t affect copyright claims filed through content ID, which handles 98% of all claims filed on YouTube, according to the company. 

“These claims can feel particularly unfair, as they transfer all revenue from the creator to the claimant, regardless of the amount of music claimed,” YouTube wrote in its announcement. Rights holders will still be able to prevent infringing creators from monetizing videos or block videos their content is played in during manual claims, no matter how long their music is played for, but will no longer be allowed to monetize that content themselves. YouTube notes that rights holders who repeatedly don’t adhere to the new rules will lose access to the company’s manual claiming tool.

The move comes after years of fighting between music rights holders -- including the major labels -- and YouTube creators, who believe the music industry has gotten too aggressive in its copyright claims over short clips of music being played in videos. YouTube hasn’t defined “very short or unintentional uses,” but David Rosenstein, YouTube’s director of creator product management told The Verge it’s referring to music that is played for “single digit” seconds.

YouTube thinks the change will ultimately lead to rights holders claiming less videos that infringe for a short amount of time, but the company acknowledged the move will likely initially lead to more blocked videos. “We acknowledge that these changes may result in more blocked content in the near-term, but we feel this is an important step toward striking the right balance over the long-term. Our goal is to unlock new value for everyone by powering creative reuse and content mashups, while fairly compensating all rights holders.”


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