Automated detection of copyright violations on social media does not work

Automated detection of copyright violations on social media does not work

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Source: Platform Censorship: Lessons From the Copyright Wars | Electronic Frontier Foundation

I had two music publishers both claim copyright ownership of a music track in one of my videos. Obviously, both could not own the copyright. The music selection I used was written during the U.S. Civil War, decades before music was copyrightable, and the performance was by the U.S. Army with a specific license that it may be used by anyone for any purpose. I challenged the copyright take down notices and won.

Another video had a brief drum cadence, recorded live, at a US Civil War battle re-enactment. The drum cadence was also written during the Civil War and was not copyrighted. A music publisher falsely claimed copyright on this drum cadence and my video was banned from being played in parts of Europe!

In another case, I paid a fee to use a licensed musical sound track. A rights holder then falsely claimed a copyright violation and got Youtube to run advertising on my video and received all proceeds from the ad revenue. I deleted the video rather than deal with them. The automated system is incapable of knowing when a track has been licensed and when it has not been licensed.

Some Youtube channel producers routinely make false take down requests on their competitor’s channels as a way to drive their competitor’s content offline, if only for a few weeks. (Most views occur in the first few days to weeks after a video is uploaded.) Max Yurev, a Spokane-based photographer and photography equipment reviewer, had his “monetization” turned off so that he can no longer earn revenue on his videos; there is no obvious reason why Youtube did this to him. You can see his explanation here. Australian electrical engineering blogger Dave Jones had his channel demonetized without warning; fortunately he had a contact with Youtube that got the error fixed within days.

Meanwhile, social media pretends its a telephone company and not responsible for user generated content – while simultaneously acting like a magazine publisher and editing user generated content for copyright, “hate speech”, acts of violence, portrayal of weapons, and so on.

I also had copies of my videos downloaded and re-uploaded by others who then ran ads on my work appearing on their own channel. I submitted take down notices for those – since the videos featured a family member it was easily proven as begin stolen from me.

There are not accurate automated methods to resolve these problems on social media. The effect is a sort of random censorship program across all social media platforms, with no recourse for those whose content has been wrongly censored.

I rarely upload videos anymore. May be once per year on Youtube; I also dropped my annual subscription to upload content to Vimeo.

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