In the past several days we’ve been tracking some rumblings going on from the Pony YouTube Community dealing with a wide range of videos that are being flagged due to copyright issues.
This is nothing new as trolls of the past have abused one basic system YouTube runs, the DMCA / Copyright Infringement claims. This system is available to anyone and requires a little effort to fill out a form, if multiple claims are made typically the video is pulled from YouTube. It has in the past resulted in some people’s channels being removed such as Alex S, though these channels were restored fairly quickly when the claim was disputed and further investigated.
The issues we have been tracking does not appear to be troll related, but a side effect of Hasbro Studios LLC using certain tools that are offered by YouTube to copyright holders, to ensure that their material are kept in check and not uploaded by multiple users against their wishes.
YouTube’s ContentID system is one of these tools. A full explanation can be seen here on their site, which includes a quick 2 minute video explaining things. Basically copyright holders can submit audio and or video to this automated system. ContentID runs 24/7/365 and constantly scans the vast archives of YouTube for matching material. If something is found, the video is flagged by this system and a claim is filed. Unlike DMCA take down claims, the video does remain in operation though it may not be viewable by certain regions of the world.
It seems within the last week, Hasbro Studios LLC has begun to use the ContentID system in a move to purge all the full length episodes from YouTube. This was first observed by a community HD ripper who encountered the system when attempting to upload the most recent episode. He figured out that it was the episode intro that was being tagged by ContentID, with the obvious fix of removing the intro to the episode. But it seems in the more recent days, full episodes are now being submitted to ContentID.
Unfortunately this has a side effect of flagging derived works using stock footage, ranging from episodes of Friendship is Witchcraft, the Mentally Abridged series, episode review series and so forth.
We have spoken to a friend with close ties to Hasbro Legal. What was said is that Hasbro has no issue with derived works on YouTube, and actually enjoys them as it brings the company free advertisement about the show and more so the products/toys they sell. It was also said that Hasbro recently attempted to sell the show to CCTV, the main television station in China who questioned why should they buy the show when they could just watch it on YouTube, giving reason to the most recent actions on YouTube.
So with that information anyone who has had their videos flagged by the ContentID system, submit a dispute claim. In general when you submit a dispute, the video becomes available to the general public again until the claim is cleared up (assumed by the ContentID holder). If the information from Hasbro Legal is correct, and you’re not actually hosting a full episode, the flag should be removed from your video and more or less given the green light to remain. We would assume your video would be added to a database of “green lighted” videos, thus not being flagged again in the future.
We thank our connection to Hasbro Legal for this information, rather than leaving the community in the dark about the situation.
[Updated Afternoon 1/2/13 @ 3pm ET]