Making a cool video on YouTube and losing views because a creator with more subscribers reuploads it or puts it into a compilation can be a real bummer, but a new tool called Copyright Match seeks to solve that issue by giving the original uploader of a piece of content notifications of reuploads and the authority to do something about them. The tool is rolling out to creators with over 100,000 subscribers right now, and if that test run works out, creators of all sizes will soon be able to access Copyright Match and make sure that they’re the only ones getting views from their own original content.
The way that the tool works is pretty simple on the surface; it uses the same branch of YouTube’s AI smarts as the organization and professional-facing Content ID to automatically check all new uploads against existing videos, and if a match is found, the first person to upload that content is informed and given the chance to reach out to the other user, ignore the reupload, or have YouTube take down the video pending an investigation and possible appeal by the reuploader. It’s worth mentioning that the tool only works on full videos, not clips. This means that if you take a video of your dog trying to jump up on the couch for some bacon and slamming face-first into the cushion, somebody reuploading it directly or putting the full video into a compilation will trigger Copyright Match. On the other hand, if you shoot a long video of skateboarding around your town and somebody puts a few seconds’ worth of it into their own video that’s still mostly original content or just snips out and reuploads one of their favorite highlights from it, you won’t be notified.
This tool is bound to have a profound effect on the YouTube landscape and the way that users consume content, mainly in the form of original creators getting more views, and large compilations of content becoming harder to find, if not dying out entirely or close to it. The shift will likely mean that users who want to consume an hour’s worth of silly cat videos, for example, will do it by hopping from short video to short video, and probably dropping a like or sub here and there. Outright stolen content in whole-video reupload form, on the other hand, will become a thing of the past overnight. It’s worth noting that uploaders who put up copyrighted content under Fair Use that tends to fall in a gray area, such as commentary-free gameplay or unofficial music uploads, will be less likely to take advantage of this system. Likewise, it only scans on YouTube, so if you upload content to Facebook or Metacafe, for example, somebody could still throw it on YouTube and you wouldn’t know unless you found it there.