A growing unrest is simmering beneath the surface of the YouTube community at the moment. This bubbling anger is all directed at the surge in Copyright claims by the big companies looking to cash in on your content.
In the early days of YouTube, after a particularly nasty spat with Viacom, the YouTube copyright bot used to scout the videos for copyrighted material and flag it. The ‘Fair Use’ policy used to cover the majority of videos as it stated that
“Fair use is a legal doctrine that says you can reuse copyright-protected material under certain circumstances without getting permission from the copyright owner.”
This basically means that you can use clips when talking about a certain subject. For many years, the combination of this policy and channel networks helped protect YouTubers from big corporates. However, these days YouTubers are big business and Ad revenue on videos and channels is increasing every year. Now the companies want a slice of that and YouTube has a really easy way for them to get it. Corporations can either flag content that it thinks breaks copyright or have the copyright bot do it for them. The minute the flag is in place, any monetisation of that video goes straight to the company and away from the creator. If you do nothing then all earning go to them. If you do counter claim then all monetisation is on hold until it is all resolved.
If you want more information, then please check out the Nostalgia Critic’s video which is much more in depth and covers it fantastically.
What I really wanted to add to this discussion is the brand damage this shift in YouTube copyright claims can cause. I am actually thinking of the corporations in this conflict and want to share a story.
I have been hit with a few copyright claims, but due to my channel being relatively small I am generally under the radar. My most recent copyright claim was from LEGO, after one of my videos used 30 seconds of the LEGO Dimensions trailer to recommend it Xbox One users. At this point a HUGE thumbs up goes to LEGO for removing the claim after only two days as it was the YouTube bot that flagged it and not some mean corporate suit scouring YouTube videos hoping to claim my 10p a month for the video. LEGO were very cool about the whole situation and I will continue to sing their praises.
BUT the whole situation got me thinking, I have children and LEGO is a part of my life. I have the toys, games, books, movies and am even planning a trip to Legoland. LEGO was very nearly ruined for me and my family. If the copyright claim had been real then the whole brand would have been soured for me. The toys will have been replaced by a competitor, the games would not have featured in any other video and the trip would have switched to another theme park.
The brand damage that this could have caused for the sake of 10p a month was staggering to me. My lifetime value to than company momentarily fell through the floor. This goes to show how much power creators actually have and counter claiming should be standard just in case it is the bot and not the company.
Similar, content creators need to have a standard ‘brand damage’ letter prepared to send out to claimants. If you feel the claim is unjust then put out another video with the hashtag #BrandDamage in order to collect together and call out all the brands that are taking advantage of this broken system.
However, you have to counter claim first, as if you throw your toys out of the pram right after the initial claim then you do not give the company chance to respond, as it might just have been the bot.
So join me and other content creators fight this unjust system and call out those brands looking to cash in on a system that favours the corporations.
I have added links to some videos that talk about the fair use policy and copyright claims below. Use the hashtag #WTFU for fair use discussion and #BrandDamage to call out the companies abusing the system.
Nostalgia Critic – Where’s The Fair Use?
Boogie2988 – Response
TotalBuscuit – Where’s The Fair Use