Study Says Over 90% Of YouTube Videos Are Not Infringing Copyrights (Sorta, Not Really)

from the not-entirely dept

Kevin writes "A new study by industry analyst Vidmeter shows that more than 90% of videos on YouTube are not infringing of copyright." As the blog post notes, the methodology is questionable, as they only count videos that have been successfully taken down as infringing, rather than actually looking at the content to see what’s infringing and what’s not. That certainly could mean that plenty of the other content is infringing, but no one has sent a takedown notice about it (either because they don’t know about it, don’t care about it or are too lazy to do anything about it). The study also found that those infringing clips also represented less than 6% of the views on YouTube — which certainly is a worthwhile data point. If anything, it suggests that Viacom and the other Hollywood players are exaggerating just how much of their content YouTube relies on for traffic. The idea that YouTube’s success is built entirely around infringing content has always been an exaggeration, and it’s nice to see at least some attempts to show what the actual numbers are. Hopefully there are more studies on the way that will look more closely at the content to get an idea of what the actual split is.


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Comments on “Study Says Over 90% Of YouTube Videos Are Not Infringing Copyrights (Sorta, Not Really)”

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17 Comments
Shohat (user link) says:

Actually, Youtube is all about ifringing content

I don’t think I know anyone that actaully watches any of those blogging kids. Video bloggers just watch each other , just like only bloggers read each other, I know many people and I do not know anyone that reads blogs excpet for people that own them.
So most people (and myself) come to Youtube for content such as sport highlights , TV programs from other countries m music clips , etc…
And this is NOT user-generated content.

Paul says:

Re: Actually, Youtube is all about ifringing conte

You’re right. If you and your friends only use it for copyrighted material, obviously thats what the rest of the world uses it for too.

If only other bloggers watch the user-generated content, did you ever stop to think what percentage of the viewers on youtube are actually bloggers? so, even if you are true with that statement, a HUGE portion of internet users would still be watching user-generated content.

Beyond that though, you’re actually wrong. There is some funny stuff on there sometimes that links get passed around in emails and what not. OKGo is on there *legally* and thats professional user-generated content. There’s also other “professional” content on there too (i use quotes because its still amateur, but still most likely had a budget or at least enough work to consider it professionally done). I’ve watched stuff on there that was user-generated and I’m not a blogger. My brother has watched stuff on there, he’s not a blogger.

So, next time, before you try to base the entire world’s reaction off of yours, just remember… you may not be what’s considered “normal”… hell, you may not even be considered “average”… in fact, if you’re ignorant enough to assume you and you’re friends make up a decent sample size of the country (let alone the world), you’re probably less than average.

Smokin Joe says:

Who is to say that the other 90% are not infringing copyrights. I like to street race and have some cool copyrighted video that I have made. I have seen my stuff ripped off and put on Gootube. I have also heard of people using scripts that were not theirs for some of those videos. How is Google to know this? They can’t. Only the person posting would know. It is ridiculous to expect Google to police every video. The antiquated copyright laws do not fit our current world of technology. They need to be changed before greedy companies like Viacom manipulate them to try and tear down the technology we have all been working so hard to create.

Smokin Joe says:

Who is to say that the other 90% are not infringing copyrights. I like to street race and have some cool copyrighted video that I have made. I have seen my stuff ripped off and put on Gootube. I have also heard of people using scripts that were not theirs for some of those videos. How is Google to know this? They can’t. Only the person posting would know. It is ridiculous to expect Google to police every video. The antiquated copyright laws do not fit our current world of technology. They need to be changed before greedy companies like Viacom manipulate them to try and tear down the technology we have all been working so hard to create.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Reserch grant

Since I don’t have a large research grant or several dozen people to help, I have to go with what I see. And I don’t see anything that bad on youtube. Out of all the videos I have seen, only one was possible infringing, and it was just a family guy clip.

But since these people are trying to get anything to do with there IP, even spoofs (Viacom), I may be a little off. Douse a video about some guy getting to level 999 on tetris DS count as infringing? How about “Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager”? or the paper mache pacman?

Casper says:

Ok people...

“So most people (and myself) come to Youtube for content such as sport highlights , TV programs from other countries m music clips , etc…
And this is NOT user-generated content.”

Just because you go onto YouTube to watch copyrighted shows doesn’t mean the rest of us do. I live on my computer for most of the day, and I never watch copyrighted shows on YouTube, other then Top Gear which is from the BBC.

What you don’t understand is that it is by far NOT the majority of use of YouTube that is the problem. I would believe that those shows only comprised 6% or less of the viewing of the entire YouTube collection. Most people hate those shows on TV and do not seek them out online. By far the most popular videos online are viral videos and random clips of major events, not “24” and the other soap operas from TV land.

Zack says:

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT

You guys have missed the point. The point isn’t “what people watch.” It’s WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH THE VIACOM CASE?

This report is extremely important to the Viacom case. Viacom is claiming that 80% of YouTube is copyrighted and is suing for $1B. Others claim that without copyrighted content YouTube will fail. But the study (which itself states that this provides an estimate for the popularity of copyrighted content) shows that there clearly isn’t $1B worth of Viacom’s copyrighted content and that YouTube won’t collapse without it.

Doug (user link) says:

Problems with methodology

It is especially interesting to note that only 6% of video views were attributed to infringing content.

However, I think the study has a huge methodological problem:

“…they only count videos that have been successfully taken down as infringing, rather than actually looking at the content to see what’s infringing and what’s not.”

In other words, if Universal Music didn’t issue a takedown notice for unauthorized copies of the U2 – Vertigo music video, then they were all counted as “legal.”

This line of reasoning is somewhat akin to the classic logical fallacy argument from ignorance, or argumentum ad ignorantiam.

“No one saw X, so X has not happened.” = No one issued a takedown notice that X is infringing content, so X content will not be considered infringing.

I just don’t find this line of reasoning very convincing. I think that a more comprehensive study, using extensive copyright review and sound statistical sampling, would be a welcome addition to the “YouTube is a pirate’s cove/YouTube is all about user generated content” debate.

Doug says:

Read the report

Other Doug,

If you read the report, you’d understand that they did state they didn’t check other videos and they clearly stated that the report was an estimate. Ontop of that:

1. Viacom has been on a removal spree, I don’t think they would have not removed their most popular clips.

2. Even if only 1/2 of clips are removed, then that still only 12% of views, which is nothing.

Next time, think before you complain.

Doug (user link) says:

Re: Read the report

If you read the report, you’d understand that they did state they didn’t check other videos and they clearly stated that the report was an estimate.

I did read the report. 🙂

As you point out, they were clear in the report regarding the methodology they used, which is why I was able to criticize it. Of course their numbers are only estimates; their sample size was 6,725 videos that were not randomly selected.

Again, the methodology was based on a logical fallacy and a non-random sample. Thanks, but no thanks.

Here is the only logical conclusion that they can honestly draw from their own data:

“Videos which were removed by YouTube pursuant to the receipt of a take-down notice make up a relatively small portion of YouTube’s most popular videos.”

That’s not quite the same thing as their conclusion (see page 11) and it’s quite different from the assertion circulating in the blogosphere that “90% of YouTube videos don’t infringe on copyright.”

steveking says:

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YouTube Robot allows you to search for videos using keywords or browse video by category, author, channel, language, tags, etc. When you find something noteworthy, you can preview the video right in YouTube Robot and then download it onto the hard disk drive. The speed, at which you will be downloading, is very high: up to 5 times faster than other software when you download a single file and up to 4 times faster when you download multiple files at a time.

Manual download is not the only option with YouTube Robot. You may as well schedule the download and conversion tasks to be executed automatically, even when you are not around. Downloading is followed by conversion to the format of your choice and uploading videos to a mobile device (if needed). For example, you can plug in iPod, select the video, go to bed, and when you wake up next morning, your iPod will be ready to play new YouTube videos.

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