Hoisting YouTube’s Content ID system on its own petard


A couple of years ago Google introduced its Content ID system to YouTube. Copyright holders upload their content to Content ID and whenever someone uploads a video to YouTube it’s matched against this massive content database. If any segment of the video matches copyrighted content, the copyright holder can block the video from being shown or monetize the video by inserting their own ads.

Gamers went berserk when Content ID went into effect. A lot of gamers were trying to eke out a living with gaming-oriented YouTube channels. If they could attract enough viewers, they could make money from ad revenues. Most of them weren’t making very much money but it might be the difference between paying the rent or the electric bill. When Content ID went into effect a lot the people doing this lost their income to the billion dollar companies that held the copyrights on the game clips that were being shown in the videos. Worse, sleaze artists with lawyers were claiming copyright on bits of music that appeared in games or that gamers used as background when no one knew who owned the copyright. The sleazers and their lawyers took whatever a money they could get from ads and ran before the scam was discovered only to do it again with another piece of obscure content.

While Google has never come up with a fully satisfactory solution to this problem, video-game critic Jim Sterling found a way to bork the system that is both simple and elegant. You can find out how he did it in “This Critic Used YouTube’s Copyright System To Short Circuit YouTube’s Copyright System

About Kevin Murnane

I am a cognitive scientist, a freelance writer and author (Nutrition for Cyclists: Eating and Drinking Before, During and After the Ride), a musician (Parametric Monkey - stream on Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube), a bookstore owner (Monkey Books - first edition mystery, science fiction, fantasy and more, listed on ABE books, Amazon and Biblio), and a retired house painter, children's theater actor & owner, and university professor. I'm also a regular contributor to the technology section at Forbes and I write a cycling blog called Tuned In To Cycling. You can follow me on twitter @TheInfoMonkey and contact me at murnane.kevin@gmail.com.
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