An Analysis Of YouTube's Content Fingerprinting System

from the data-data-data dept

There have been plenty of questions about YouTube's fingerprinting system and how it works, and the EFF notes that an enterprising YouTube user figured that with a little experimentation, he could perhaps figure out how the system worked. Basically, he uploaded 82 different versions of a song, to see what YouTube caught... and what it didn't. He's put together a list of what he found out that's worth reading through, noting that it could still "catch" plenty of distorted content and that it reviews every video as soon as it's uploaded. But perhaps the most interesting (and surprising) bit: it seems to only look at the beginning of the video. He found that if he left the first 30 seconds blank, the system didn't catch anything. But if just played the first 30 seconds of a song, the video got flagged... There are some other interesting findings as well, that pretty much highlight how questionable some of these fingerprinting systems are in terms of accurately identifying the content in question.


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  1.  
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    pegr, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    That should do it for pop music...

    Considering that most of it seems to be the same 30 seconds over and over again...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    Um, does the fingerprinter also observe Fair Use? As in you can use 30 seconds of any song and not need to pay licensing, royalty, and it's also not piracy?

    For example, radio stations benefit from Fair Use for their bumps, and in-house produced advertisements.

     

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  3.  
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    chris (profile), Apr 24th, 2009 @ 1:34pm

    bring back the demoscene

    in the old warez days games had elaborate custom intros done by the teams that released them. in time, people quit caring about the games and just traded the demos.

    maybe a 30-60 custom intro will bring back american interest in demos.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

    Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    Um, does the fingerprinter also observe Fair Use? As in you can use 30 seconds of any song and not need to pay licensing, royalty, and it's also not piracy?

    For example, radio stations benefit from Fair Use for their bumps, and in-house produced advertisements.

    It doesn't really have to. It's their service, so what they do is just flag it and offer the "contest" button. There would be a problem if they flagged it for DMCA take down or something, but since all it does is disable the sound through their service, they technically aren't doing anything wrong and allow an avenue to contest the result.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    so what they do is just flag it and offer the "contest" button.

    I was talking with a friend this last weekend who has been entertained by these issues as well, granted not to the depth of 84 videos, but similarly speaking. It's simply justifying the system when itself does not observe fair use law, but so long as the ends justify the means, well... Waterboarding worked well also.

     

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  6.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    Is there a link you can point to for the 30 seconds rule (or anything similar)? I run trivia nights at a few bars in Chicago and have been fighting ASCAP on my name that song rounds where I play clips of songs for the past two years.

     

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  7.  
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    uhh, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    Yea, Youtube muting audio tracks is the same as waterboarding. They don't have to "observe fair use law." It's their service.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    What you're looking for is probably referenced in this case:

    Fisher v. Dees, 794 F.2d 432 (9th Cir. 1986)

    Do note, ASCAP is a different animal, and there may not yet be caselaw established for your case.

     

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  9.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    Fair enough, I'll look into it. But can ASCAP really keep me from playing 20 seconds of a song for a trivia game? Especially when we DON'T charge to play? (Although I do get paid by the bar)

     

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  10.  
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    weneedhelp, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    But if just played the first 30 seconds

    "But if just played the first 30 seconds"

    Untrue. I have a vid with 20 seconds of Hells Bells at the end of the video and it was flagged.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKdnnLNCpic


    You might as well forget Fair Use. Its gone.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    It's not the (Fisher v. Dees, 794 F.2d 432) case itself, but it's probably going to be existing caselaw used during this case.

    The actual law for Fair Use is very spongy and subject to much interpretation. You'd be best to consult with an attorney in your area.

    As for the other question, you'll need a usage license from the copyright holder's agent. Normally ASCAP manages these rights.

     

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  12.  
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    Tgeigs, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    Understood. Results:

    1. I'm not consulting w/an attorney. I make less than a $100 in cash per night and only do it 3-4 nights a week depending on the season, so not worth any time/money to try to include the music round.

    2. So, not doing the music round. Which ultimately means that the music won't be heard. Which is dumb because I'm not reaching that many people, and those I am reaching I'm quizing on the name of the band/artist, meaning I'm doing extra to get their name recognition out.

    And this is why I refer to ASCAP as NAMBLA.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 2:53pm

    Is it new art or still under copyright?

    It makes you wonder if under the 82 ways to modify and/or change the song or music, if the new music is actually new art.

    It seems it should be recognized as new art...

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    Yes, however, if it's over x patrons, it may qualify as a public performance, and they'll go after the bar owner for compensation.

    It's foundations are based on case law and interpretation. To make matters worse, no new laws are introduced by congress to to rectify the system after the court finds guilt/innocence.

    To gather an idea of the complexity of the system, sit down and try to list out all the licensetypes sometime. It's amazing.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I bet this doesn't observe Fair Use Laws

    Yea, Youtube muting audio tracks is the same as waterboarding. They don't have to "observe fair use law." It's their service.

    It appears you missed the point. To me, anyways, the actions seem more like wholesale denial that certain rights and even agreeable takedown processes exist. Are all rights being observed within the framework of the process?

    Kindly reply as I am unsure, not a member of this Youtube thing, and remain quite unfamiliar with the terms and conditions of their service. You appear quite astute on this subject matter.

     

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  16.  
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    H.K., Apr 26th, 2009 @ 8:06pm

    I wonder if they implement a different fingerprinting system for each youtube. I know they just modified the Korean system. I keep up to date with the newest in digital security using justaskgemalto.com.

     

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