×

Facebook Piracy: Fullscreen CEO Protests ‘Stolen’ Videos in Tweet Tirade

Facebook has experienced explosive growth in video views over the past year — but a portion of that is coming from pirated content originally posted to YouTube, according to critics.

The latest to complain that the social-media giant isn’t doing enough to reduce the flow of videos being illegally re-posted to FacebookGeorge Strompolos, CEO of Fullscreen, a major YouTube multichannel network. On Wednesday, the exec unleashed a series of tweets in which he claimed his company’s content is being “stolen” by Facebook users.

“I now regularly see our videos with 50MM+ view counts that are stolen by individuals on FB… sometimes by other media cos,” he claimed.

Facebook — which says it averaged 4 billion daily video views in the first quarter of 2015 — needs to add piracy-identification and advertising capabilities to rectify the problem, according to Strompolos. By comparison, YouTube offers Content ID, a system that flags copyrighted material and lets rightsholders opt to either take it down or serve ads against it, as well as monetization for video.

Facebook does provide a process for complaints about copyrighted content on the service, in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But Strompolos said it costs Fullscreen a lot to hunt those down one by one. “I’m a huge DMCA proponent, but this has to improve fast,” Strompolos said. Fullscreen was acquired last year by Otter Media, the Internet-video joint venture of Chernin Group and AT&T.

He added, “Frankly I’m shocked that a rights holder with deep pockets has not sued (Facebook) yet… Remember that YT (YouTube) was sued by Viacom for over $1BN for this.”

Asked for comment, a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement: “We take intellectual property rights very seriously… We have a number of measures in place to address potential infringements on our service.”

Facebook currently uses content-recognition technology from Audible Magic “to help prevent unauthorized video content,” she added. In addition, the social service suspends accounts of users with repeated intellectual-property violations when appropriate.

But the problem of copyrighted videos cropping up en masse on Facebook isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, the YouTube community has even come up with a term for illicitly re-posted videos on Facebook: “freebooting.”

“Facebook is complicit in the piracy of your favorite YouTube content,” J.D. Waldvogel, social-media coordinator for digital-video producer SourceFed, wrote in a blog post in January. SourceFed, founded by YouTube creator Phil DeFranco, is owned by Discovery Communications.

Facebook users are “freebooting” content to generate views for their page or claim it as their own, Waldvogel wrote. But that cheats YouTube creators out of revenue they would have earned on the Google-owned site. “(P)eople can, theoretically, re-upload to Facebook and take full credit for the content. This needs to stop,” he said.

Later this summer, Facebook will share more details later about how it’s fighting copyright infringement, according to the company. “As video continues to grow on Facebook, we’re actively exploring further solutions to help IP owners identify and manage potential infringing content, tailored for our unique platform and ecosystem,” the Facebook rep said.

Strompolos, for his part, is bullish on Facebook’s prospects as a huge video outlet — but he said the social giant must provide better tools for content owners. “I think FB video can truly eclipse YT over time with search, widespread embeds, a dedicated app, monetization and content ID,” Strompolos tweeted.

According to Google, YouTube has invested more than $60 million dollars into Content ID. The system, launched in 2007, has generated more than $1 billion for some 5,000 content owners participating in the program, including U.S. network broadcasters, movie studios and record labels. More than 300 million videos have been claimed using Content ID, and Content ID now accounts for more than one-third of YouTube’s monetizable views, according to Google.

More Digital

  • Mokalik

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content