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Our Approach to Copyright Needs to Change

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

In 2021, Youtube reported that the number of disputed copyright claims on their website was nearing 3.7 million. In over 60% of those argued cases, the uploader won the dispute. This goes to show how websites like and including Youtube have ineffective detection systems which need to be changed. I believe that these systems should be changed either by websites themselves or through legislation. 

Most can agree that the existence of copyright is important for musicians, artists, and creators to receive credit for their work. However, through the internet where things are often reuploaded, remixed, and reacted to, transformative content can’t be specifically defined. On Youtube, the means by which copyright infringing material is detected is through the Content ID system. This automated measure uses the registered Content ID to copyright claim videos hosted on the site. This often leads to the ad revenue being split on the video, or even the video being taken down. But this system can detect only a few seconds of copyrighted music or material and claim the video, or even falsely claim the video for an unknown issue as these claims do not specify the timestamp of said copyrighted material. 

Instead of going through the trouble to dispute these claims, creators have suggested the ability to edit out the copyrighted content when receiving a claim. This would be beneficial to both the copyright holder and the video owner. In theory, this feature would be simple for Youtube to implement, but it is likely that no action will take place any time soon. Their live-streaming competitor, Twitch, can similarly mute portions of live streams after they are finished, with the only exception being that live takedowns are very uncommon. Therefore, Twitch is seen as the more lenient platform when it comes to viewing copyrighted material. 

As of 2022, Bill C-11 has been a large topic of discussion for Canadian creators on the internet. Also known as the ‘Online Streaming Act’ this bill does not affect any position on copyright but proposes to regulate the type of content seen on websites like Twitch or Youtube. It would seem more extreme than the Content ID system and would affect what viewers watch or are recommended. At the moment there isn’t a balance between an overly strict detection system and a lenient system. Any legal changes are seen as vague and define themselves with simplistic terms, or seem impossible to comply with considering the current ‘economy’ of the internet. In total, a better way of disputing copyright claims on Youtube seems due by now but demonstrates how relatively new this problem is, and how slow the law is to change for it. 

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