YouTube Copyright Crackdown Hits Multichannel Network Affiliates

Internet video service says has enabled copyright holders to scan material uploaded by MCN affiliates

YouTube has ramped up efforts to let copyright holders flag infringing material uploaded by affiliates of multichannel networks — which has resulted in a wave of new claims.

“We recently enabled Content ID scanning on channels identified as affiliates of MCNs,” a YouTube rep said in an emailed statement. “This has resulted in new copyright claims for some users, based on policies set by the relevant content owners.”

YouTube in the past week has sent out a spate of copyright-infringement notifications for videos on MCNs, chiefly targeting channels with videogame content, TubeFilter and Kotaku reported. Many of the requests appeared to originate from third parties unaffiliated with game publishes, the reports said.

The three biggest independent YouTube MCNs — Fullscreen, Maker Studios and Machinima — declined to comment.

Under the new YouTube policy, MCNs are on the hook for copyright violations on channels that they directly manage. For MCN partners that are designated as “affiliates,” however, those individual creators are now having their videos screened by the Content ID system and YouTube says it reserves the right to cut off ad payments to offenders, according to sources familiar with the policy.

Copyright issues at MCNs recently came to the fore in a lawsuit against Fullscreen filed by the National Music Publishers’ Assn., which alleged the MCN does not compensate songwriters and publishers for videos with cover versions of songs. The NMPA also announced a settlement with Maker over similar claims.

The YouTube rep noted that channel owners are able to dispute Content ID claims if they believe those claims are invalid.

According to YouTube, the Content ID system scans the equivalent of 400 years of video every day, which is matched against a database with 25 million reference files of copyrighted content. About 5,000 content partners use the service, including TV broadcasters, movie studios and record labels.