YouTube to Launch Tool to Detect Re-Uploaded Videos Automatically

New Copyright Match tool initially will roll out to channels with more than 100,000 subscribers

YouTube could be about to make a big step toward solving a longtime irritation for creators: It’s about to roll out a tool that will identify videos that are stolen and reposted by someone else — and let the original creator pull the ripoffs down.

After almost a year in beta-testing, YouTube’s new Copyright Match tool is scheduled to launch next week for creators with more than 100,000 subscribers. With the new system, after a user uploads a video — and YouTube verifies it as the first iteration of the video — YouTube will scan other videos uploaded to the service to see if any of them are the same (or very similar).

When the Copyright Match tool finds a match, the ID’s video will show up in a “Matches” tab in the tool. Creators can opt to do one of the three things: nothing, leaving up the matching video; contact the other creator; or request that YouTube remove the video. YouTube will review takedown requests to ensure they comply with its copyright policies.

“We know how frustrating it is when your content is uploaded to other channels without your permission and how time consuming it can be to manually search for these re-uploads,” Fabio Magagna, who oversees the Copyright Match tool as product manager at YouTube. “We currently provide a number of ways for copyright owners to protect their work, but we’ve heard from creators that we should do more and we agree.”

YouTube has long had an automated copyright-flagging system in place called Content ID. It also has a standard form for anyone to lodge copyright-infringement complaints. But the Copyright Match tool is different from Content ID because it’s designed especially for YouTube creators who have problems with unauthorized re-uploads, according to Magagna. That said, he added that Copyright Match does use similar matching technology used by Content ID.

YouTube is encouraging users to keep in mind that in some cases, reposted or repurposed clips of their videos could be considered fair use — and therefore wouldn’t constitute a copyright violation. In addition, YouTube noted, creators shouldn’t file takedown requests for content they didn’t originally create or don’t own exclusively, such as public-domain content.

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