How Explaining Copyright Broke the YouTube Copyright System
The primary purpose of the panel was to have these two musical experts explain to the largely legal audience how they analyze and explain songs in copyright litigation. The panel opened with each expert giving a presentation about how they approach song analysis. These presentations included short clips of songs, both in their popular recorded version and versions stripped down to focus on specific musical elements. [...]
First, it highlights how challenging it can be for users with strong counter-arguments to dispute an allegation of infringement by large rightsholders. The Engelberg Center is home to some of the top technology and intellectual property scholars in the world, as well as people who have actually operated the notice and takedown processes for large online platforms. We had legal confidence in our position that would cost an average user tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) to obtain. Even all of those advantages were not enough to allow us to effectively resolve this dispute. Instead, we had to also rely on our personal networks to trigger a process - one that is still unclear - that resulted in the accusations being removed. This is not a reasonable expectation to place on average users.
Second, it highlights the imperfect nature of automated content screening and the importance of process when automation goes wrong. A system that assumes any match to an existing work is infringement needs a robust process to deal with the situations where that is not the case. Our original counterclaim included a clear explanation of the nature of the video and the reasons for using the clips. It is hard to imagine someone with any familiarity with copyright law watching the video, reviewing our claim, and then summarily rejecting it. Nonetheless, that is what happened.
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