YouTube puts the brakes on author fees for very short music fragments

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By amending the copyright regulation, YouTube wants to prevent overzealous record companies from claiming any more income for unintentional or very short music fragments in video clips, such as the music on the radio of a passing car.

In a blog post, YouTube reports that it must stop with ‘aggressively claiming very short music fragments’ in videos. According to the video service, this tactic is very unfair to the creator of the film, who sees all his income disappear to the record company or the copyright holder, regardless of how long the sound fragment in question lasts.

As of September, YouTube will therefore be making a number of adjustments to its copyright regulation. Copyright holders are no longer allowed to claim revenue for very short music fragments of a few seconds or for sound fragments that accidentally ended up in a clip. According to YouTube, copyright holders who persist in this practice will be denied access to the possibility to file so-called manual claims. This type of claim requires the copyright holder to actually view the video.

Incidentally, it remains possible for copyright holders to block certain videos or income from those videos, even for videos with very short music fragments, via the manual claim tool. YouTube admits that this arrangement could lead to more blocked videos in the short term, but says it is an important step in “balancing better in the longer term”.

Last month, YouTube already required copyright holders to add timestamps to all manual claims, so that the creator of the video can see exactly which sound clip is being claimed. The company also introduced an editing tool in Creator Studio to use such a timestamp to remove copyright-infringing content.

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