YouTube Finally Admits It Totally Screwed Up Rolling Out ContentID To Multi-Channel Networks; Trying To Improve Tools
from the that-took-quite-a-bit-of-time dept
Back in December, we wrote about YouTube extending ContentID to multi-channel networks (MCNs), which had previously been a way for video makers to effectively “hide” from ContentID in exchange for giving up some of their ad revenue to the network. The move created a lot of angry responses, and as we pointed out, a big part of the problem was YouTube’s absolute failure to explain what happened, why it happened and to be prepared to deal with the fallout. Instead, YouTube stayed almost entirely silent while some of its biggest partners and users were crushed under a sudden flood of ContentID notices and “strikes” on their account. I still can’t figure out what the hell took them this long, but YouTube has finally admitted that “This introduction didn’t go as we hoped…. And we left some of our community feeling frustrated and confused.” You think?
YouTube also is noting that it had updated its ContentID tools to try to avoid some of the excessive takedowns associated with it. For one thing, it appears that “certain rightsholders” are being asked “to perform in-depth audits of their references before they can make any new claims.” Reading between the lines, that sounds like YouTube is hitting back at rightsholders who have abused ContentID. That sounds good, though we’ll have to see how it plays out in practice. YouTube is also making it easier to pull out incidental audio in videos that might trigger a ContentID claim, improving the way MCNs can “fast track” a response to claims they think are bogus, and is promising to more aggressively investigate ContentID abuse.
This seems like a step forward, but I’m still flabbergasted that YouTube took this long to really do anything about that rollout. Google, as a whole, has never exactly had the reputation of communicating particularly well with its users. We’ve discussed the big faceless white monolith problem before. It’s beyond belief that YouTube didn’t realize lots of people were about to be hit with ContentID claims when they made the switch — and while they briefed a few MCNs, they did so in confusing ways that left out many details (and resulted in misleading claims by people that “YouTube had implemented SOPA!”). Furthermore, from a press standpoint, the company was incredibly non-communicative, repeatedly pushing a bland and meaningless “statement” in response to any and all questions, and refusing to answer actual questions.
Google too often has a blindness for this kind of thing, in which it doesn’t realize how much what it thinks are minor changes to its systems will directly impact people — in some cases, directly impacting how they make a living. It still seems like this is Google’s big Achilles Heel, and it’s something that I’m amazed the company has consistently failed to address over time.