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  • Writer's pictureRoundabout team

YouTube adds new tool to automatically crop out copyright claimed elements

One of the biggest headaches for YouTube creators in recent times has been 'copyright strikes', which is when another creator or entity claims that you've illegally used their original material (generally music) in some way within your video.

Under YouTube's system, whenever a copyright claim is filed and approved, this also enables the claimant to take any revenue generated from that video as a result - which, inevitably, has lead to some spurious claims, where even the slightest hint of a music clip, for exambeen used to siphon ad dollars away from creators.

You can see how this has caused headaches - but conversely, you can also understand how YouTube is looking to cater to copyright holders, and provide a more enforceable, equitable system, even if it does lead to some exploitation of the rules.

YouTube has been working to address such concerns over the past year, and last month, as part of an update to YouTube Studio, it rolled out a new process which will give creators the option to automatically remove the claimed section of their video, freeing their content from any such claim.

As explained by YouTube:

"We’ve added an explicit Trim option directly on the Video Copyright details page. You can trim out copyrighted content claimed by Content ID in your video which automatically releases the claim. The endpoints of the edit are pre-set to where the claimed content appears in the video. We’re working on allowing adjustable endpoints so you can cut out the portion of your video that provides the best viewer experience. In the meantime, you can still do this via the YouTube Editor."

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki flagged the coming functionality in her November platform update, in which she also noted that they had reduced the financial incentive to claim "very short and unintentional music use", addressing the key concerns. The automated trim option is not ideal, given that it will mean cutting sections of your video, but it provides another, easy way to keep your content active, and it may come in handy for creators, depending on each, specific case.

Copyright and the internet have never been great bedfellows, and implementing systems which cater to both creators and rights holders is very difficult. This is true not only in terms of documentation, but also in regards to enforcement - and then, as in the case of copystrikes, once a system is implemented, and there's money to be made, some will find even the slightest loopholes to take whatever they can get.

In this respect, YouTube deserves some credit for working to evolve and improve its systems, in order to keep it in good stead with traditional publishers (and potential ad partners) and regular users. It's a balance that will likely never be perfect, but YouTube has made significant advances, showing that it is listening to its creative community, and it is working to address their key pain points.

You can read more about YouTube's copy strikes updates for YouTube Studio here.

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