YouTube Copyright Filters Suck: The 'Beat Saber' And 'Jimmy Fallon' Edition
from the beat-down dept
At this point, it’s plainly obvious that YouTube’s ContentID platform for doing automated takedowns of videos that supposedly infringe on copyrights is a full on mess. That mess is multi-pronged. The filters themselves suck at identifying actual infringement, and throw up all kinds of false positives. The filters are also so broadly applied that building any nuance into what is blocked and what isn’t is basically impossible. Finally, the whole system is so wide open for abuse that it’s laughable.
The latest iteration of this concerns Beat Saber, a virtual reality rhythm game where you essentially wield two lightsabers to match the beats and rhythms that go along with the music. The game has become so wildly popular that it was recently featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. That’s where things went sideways.
Brie Larson played Beat Saber on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon which resulted in the video being uploaded to the show’s YouTube channel. Unfortunately, subsequent uploads with similar gameplay are getting copyright strikes because it appears to share similar gameplay footage, possibly from the same levels as played on the show.
Here is one of the tweets that highlighted the issue about the Beat Saber copyright strikes:
— Joetastic (@Joetastic_) April 28, 2019
In case you can’t see that tweet, it’s essentially Beat Saber’s team responding to one of the many people who had a let’s play video taken down due to a takedown notice… from Jimmy Fallon’s show. Confused as to why NBC is taking down videos that include only game footage of Beat Saber? Well, Fallon and his guest played those same levels on his show, leading the ContentID filters to think that the let’s play videos were playing part of Fallon’s show, when it was actually the other way around: Fallon’s show included game footage. In other words, ContentID got it exactly backwards.
And, it should be noted, the folks behind Beat Saber absolutely do want you to upload video of game footage to YouTube.
“This was not planned by anyone, that’s just a really messed up youtube algorithm,” stated a subsequent tweet on Beat Saber’s account. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Jimmy’s team didn’t even know about the fact that this is happening. I will reach out to Jimmy’s team. Maybe they can help, but I am not sure about that. :(”
The Beat Saber team has turned off ContentID detection for the track, but this particular situation is somewhat out of their hands. Fortunately, the developers may have a solution underway for the Beat Saber copyright strikes. A follow-up tweet states that the people behind The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are working with YouTube to resolve the issue. In the meantime, the developers advise that it may be helpful for uploaders to dispute the claim should they be one of the affected videos.
And, yet, there are hundreds of these takedowns. No, Beat Saber folks aren’t being copyright jerks. No, NBC wasn’t trying to takedown let’s plays of Beat Saber. Instead, everyone is relying on an automated system that fully sucks at getting copyright questions correct. It sucks so bad, in fact, that they get the order of operations here backwards.
If you need another example that automated filters can’t do copyright enforcement, you will never be satisfied.