Over 1,000 content owners now using Content ID

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | 10:36 AM

We recently reached an important milestone: we now have over 1,000 content owners using our content identification and management tools, including every major U.S. network broadcaster, movie studio, and record label. With over 1 million reference files (over 100,000 hours of material), our Content ID database is among the most comprehensive in the world. This growth reflects both our innovative approach and our serious commitment to working with rights holders to address some of the most difficult technical and legal problems on the Internet.

While we're excited about our progress, we still have work to do. Global rights management is very complicated. For example, what do you do with a music video that has different owners in different countries? What if a movie studio is OK with mash-up videos that incorporate its content, but only if a small part is used? Our goal is to build a scalable, automated system that understands relationships between rights holders, and gives content owners the ability to track all rights associated with any piece of content on YouTube anywhere on the planet. Believe it or not, matching videos and audio files is actually the easy part. The hard part is figuring out what to do with the video once we've identified a rights holder's content in it.

In the past year, we've launched several features for Content ID that address this challenge and provide our partners even more flexibility in the choices they make:

  • Shared ownership: Many times a piece of content is owned by different rights holders in different territories. Content ID allows multiple rights holders to control the same piece of content, but only in territories where they own it. So one rights holder could choose to block a given video in the U.S., while another might monetize it in the U.K. at the exact same time. We can also track partial ownership, so rights holders that own a fractional share of a composition can also use Content ID.
  • Length of match: Sometimes rights holders encourage fans to upload clips of their content, so we allow them to set different policies depending on the length of the match. For example, a rights holder might allow and monetize a video that uses less than 3 minutes of its content, while blocking any video that contains more.
  • Proportion matched: Rights holders often have different attitudes with respect to creative works that incorporate, rather than merely duplicate, their content. Content ID lets rights holders provide for fair uses of their content by letting them create different policies depending on the proportion of a claimed video that contains their work, or the absolute length of the clip used.
  • Audio vs. video match: Content ID also distinguishes between audio and video content. So, for example, the owner of a sound recording can claim only the audio in a user's video, while a movie studio can claim both the audio and visual portions.
Partners can combine these rules to create claiming policies that meet their real-world licensing demands. We'll continue to lead the charge in helping rights holders control their content online, by listening to our partners and developing for them the tools that they need.