YouTube is changing Content ID to be kinder to video creators

The update will allow creators to continue earning money on videos that are embroiled in a dispute.

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

YouTube's Content ID was meant to make things easier for rightsholders who wanted to ensure that their work wasn't stolen and reuploaded. However, it never really worked out like that. The reality is that users, whether they are prominent or not, have repeatedly had their earnings frozen after publishers began issuing monetization requests for using small video clips that are legally covered under fair use. Now, Google has decided it wants to "help fix that frustrating experience," by developing a new solution that will allow channel owners to continue earning from their creations while they fight a potential dispute.

According to David Rosenstein, Content ID Group Product Manager at YouTube, the Content ID update will recognize when a video creator and a rightsholder want to monetize a video and then siphon any money made from video views into a separate purse. YouTube can determine whether a publisher's claim is valid and pay that money to the deserving party.

As game critic Jim Sterling recently pointed out, games publishers have been trying to make some extra money by flagging channels that use small clips of in-game footage. However, he found that if he invoked more than one claim from different companies, their requests would cancel each other out. Fair use allows creators to include copyrighted work if it's used for education, criticism or analysis, but Content ID, before today's announcement, would immediately award any of the revenue generated to the claimant.

Google intends to deploy the new system "in the coming months," meaning YouTubers will have to continue tiptoeing around the Content ID algorithms for a little while longer.