Copyright is an exclusive right which is vested on the original author or owner of the product. The original author receives exclusive rights to share his thoughts, allowing him to produce copies, publish, authorize, and otherwise use the literature, musical, or artistic work he made, whether in print, audio, or video medium, and benefit commercially from it. While copyright law tends to be straightforward in defending an original author's rights, it is actually layered with several unanswered questions, leaving it vulnerable to assumptions.

Youtube has come a long way since the site's first video was posted 15 years ago today. The platform, which began with the slogan “broadcast yourself,” has revolutionized independent video broadcasting while also providing a revenue stream. YouTube has since developed (or devolved) to host everything from pet videos to film to music videos. The platform famously has more than a billion users and adds upwards of 300 hours of new videos per minute.

Due to such monstrous activity and content sharing, comprising varied genres and types, it has been a persisting tussle between creators and subsisting copyright infringements. Since its inception, therefore, Youtube has been on its toes to adapt to shifting laws, policies and precedents set globally. Youtube bears liability because it offers a forum and therefore must ensure that copyrighted content is protected by stringent policies such as copyright strikes, Content ID,  Copyright Verification Programs and numerous other synergised strategies.

A month ago, it rolled out ‘Checks' which scrutinises and checks the content for copyright infringement before it is uploaded. The following blog delves into this advancement, while glancing over the policies and measures in place.

Adapting and developing over the years

Copyright owners and YouTube itself constantly police videos for copyright infringements, and whether they detect something, not the tiniest thing, the repercussions will range off the copyright owner profiting from your video to your video being pulled down or your channel being blocked.

Youtube observes that using someone else's content, without authority or permission, could result in a copyright violation. It has instilled a policy where the copyright owner can submit a take down request in case of any infringement, and if this is a valid request, the respective content will be removed from YouTube and the infringer will get a copyright strike. Subsequently, three copyright strikes can terminate ones' your channel.

Alternatively, YouTube has a feature called Content ID that automatically checks videos against a database of copyrighted content and marks them if anything is detected. If anyone uploads a video that contains copyright-protected material, the party that owns the songs, movies, TV shows, video games, or other copyright-protected material can issue a Content ID claim. Depending on the actions specified by the copyright owner, a Content ID claim may result in a take down or revenue loss.

This is a problem since certain content owners can inadvertently violate copyright laws. YouTube recognizes that the mechanism is flawed, which is why they are experimenting with copyright tests during upload. Actual abuse is extremely rare among the millions of Content ID claims created each week, but YouTubers are increasingly facing Content ID claims. Furthermore, YouTube's stance of not mediating conflicts, not sharing claimants' contact information with content providers, and assuming claimants are right is ineffective for YouTubers.

Youtube has been trying to incorporate new methods to assist developers in navigating this allusive copyright minefield. YouTube's systems were changed in 2019 to eliminate the financial opportunity for publishers to demand very brief and unintended music use, and the site introduced a new mechanism in January of last year that allows producers to instantly remove a claimed segment from their video clip. YouTube also launched new editing techniques such as “Mute Song,” “Replace Song,” and others to exclude manually asserted content in videos, resulting in the automated publication of the claim, along with the latest addition of Checks by the latter, which will be understood in the following section.

Commencement of the ‘Checks' era

‘Checks' inspects video and metadata before it is posted to the website. An improvement on the former scheme, in which content owners were only informed about unauthorized elements of their work after it had been submitted to the site, it employs the company's Content ID algorithm to determine if the content is potentially infringing. This service was designed to discourage long-running copyright lawsuits from preventing content owners from profiting from their work. The service does not promise that a video will not be flagged for copyright infringement, but it claims to reduce the chances.

Before the video is released, the creators may fix any problems that arise. They'll see specifics about the problem, such as the timecode and how it will affect the film. According to YouTube, the Checks mechanism seeks to reduce the number of videos with copyright claims or problems that limit ad placement. Checks would save developers the trouble of uploading videos as unlisted and see whether their exposure or monetization would be limited until they're rendered public.

‘Checks' allows videos to begin collecting money the moment they are posted, rather than going into a claim dispute, which would reduce a creator's total advertising revenue. Creators will be able to challenge the assertion until it is published on YouTube by the following mechanism:

  • Since lawsuits take a few days to review, YouTubers have the option of either waiting until the conflict is resolved before posting or publishing the video while waiting for the final result. If it is determined during the litigation that the creator did not use copyrighted art, the ad money received during that time period is charged to the individual in question.
  • If the copyright holder is found to be accurate in the dispute, the ad revenue is instead billed to them.

Simply put, YouTube is making it easy for developers to identify and contest allegations ahead of time. It's one of the company's continuing attempts to help developers monetize their content as easily and efficiently as possible.


While this scheme is unlikely to solve the whole problem of copyright piracy, it is a significant step toward reducing the number of cases. And if the machine considers the material to be free of copyright infringement, the copyright owners have the right to flag it. However, it can assist developers with removing any proprietary data from their work in order to minimize the possibility of being blocked or demonetised, and once it is made accessible to everyone, it should help reduce the risk of creators' identities being accidentally suspended.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.