YouTube has announced additional changes to its manual claiming policies that are intended to improve fairness in the creator ecosystem, while still respecting owners’ rights to prevent unlicensed use of content. This balancing act may, or may not, work out as people might hope it would.
One concerning trend we’ve seen is aggressive manual claiming of very short music clips used in monetized videos. These claims can feel particularly unfair, as they transfer all revenue from the creator to the claimant, regardless of the amount of music claimed. A little over a month ago, we took a first step in addressing this by requiring copyright owners to provide timestamps for all manual claims so you know exactly which part of your video is being claimed. We also made updates to our Creator Studio that allow you to use those timestamps to remove manually claimed content from your videos, automatically releasing the claim and restoring monetization.
YouTube is now announcing new changes to their manual claiming processes. Here are some key points:
- Including someone else’s content without permission means your video can still be claimed and copyright owners will still be able to prevent monetization or block the video from being viewed.
- YouTube will forbid copyright holders from using the Manual Claiming tool to monetize creator videos with very short or unintentional uses of music.
- Copyright claims created by the Content ID match system, which are the vast majority, are not impacted by this policy.
- Enforcement of these policies begins in mid-September. After that, copyright owners who repeatedly fail to adhere to the policies will have their access to Manual Claiming suspended.
Interestingly, YouTube points out: “Without the option to monetize, some copyright owners may choose to leave very short or unintentional uses unclaimed”. Creators can safely use the music and sound effects in the YouTube Audio Library.
From this, it sounds to me as though YouTube is fed up with copyright holders who act in predatory ways. They shouldn’t get to take the creator’s entire revenue from a long video just because a few seconds of a song is in it. Separating these claims from financial rewards is a good idea.