Dealing with piracy and copyright issues in the digital world is tricky business, but Google claims to have figured out a workable formula with its YouTube focused Content ID for audio and video, even as visual artwork still remains a challenge. Google get about 3 million notices each day from copyright owners which gets processed on average in less than six hours.
Google is quite proud of its ability to process these notices quickly. It’s a collaborative process with copyright owners. They know how to send us notices in a way we can quickly process them. According to Google’s transparency report, it received 88,168,206 copyright removal or take down requests for search in July, over 2.8 million requests a day. Google also uses an automated identification system called Content ID on its video-sharing website YouTube to deal with copyright issues.
If a person uploads an original video or audio to You-Tube, Google will create a “fingerprint” or unique ID for the upload. The system can detect if the same print or content has been uploaded by another user anywhere, and will alert the original copyright owner. The owner can then either decide to block, monetize or let go of the user uploading their original content. YouTube’s Content ID system handles 98% of content management on YouTube and has generated over $2 billion for copyright owners who have chosen to monetize their content.
While Google has found a way to deal with copyrights issues over video and music content, Other content such as original artwork is trickier and it is trying to improve its processes to address those issues. The video and audio systems are quite advanced, but for visual artists, copyright issues are sorted through notice and take down. Artists can also submit a photograph of their work in image search and Google can identify where that photograph appears online.
On the question of how Google deals with issue of original content owners asking for take down of parodies, those are subjective issues. A case in point was when an Indian film production house took down a standup comedy group’s spoof on one of their upcoming films. Does YouTube or the law provide for some seconds of original footage to be used in such parodies?