YouTube creates human copyright team in response to #WTFU

YouTube has finally made a statement following the campaign from YouTube movie reviewer Doug Walker decrying YouTube's unfair takedown and punishment policies.  

For those of you behind in this story the original video that Doug posted is embedded here.   Basically his argument is that most of his videos are fair-use and have been subject to DMCA requests fraudulently.   He had received strikes on his channel which had caused him to lose his monetization status,  which allows him to make ad-money from his videos.   Unfortunately, it seems there was no human team in place to review these requests and everything was run by an algorithm.   Also there is currently no penalty for filing a false DMCA takedown.   Giving studio executives and trolls alike the ability to send a takedown notice on anything, just because they felt they could.

Today Google responded on their Youtube blog:

Hi, I’m Spencer,

I’ve been a member of the YouTube Policy team since 2008 and throughout that time, I’ve seen how your input has helped YouTube get better. For example, when I started on YouTube Policy, we didn’t have an appeals process for video removals. Through user feedback, we realized that we needed to establish a channel for users to alert us to our mistakes. We eventually launched an appeals form for age-restrictions, and just recently launched an appeals form for videos rejected due to policy violations. YouTube isn’t perfect, but thanks to your feedback, we are able to learn quickly and get better.

Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion about the enforcement of our policies, from video takedowns to channel demonetization. We want you to know that we monitor video takedowns very closely, and while we haven’t seen a big change in the overall rate of removals, it’s true that we do make mistakes. For this, we’re sorry and we strive to do better by you, our community.

The good news is that the feedback you’ve raised in comments and videos on YouTube and beyond is having an impact. It’s caused us to look closely at our policies and helped us identify areas where we can get better. It’s led us to create a team dedicated to minimizing mistakes and improving the quality of our actions. And it’s encouraged us to roll out some initiatives in the coming months that will help strengthen communications between creators and YouTube support. We’ll also make improvements to increase transparency into the status of monetization claims. And of course, as we work to implement these improvements as quickly as we can, we’ll continue to take your feedback seriously.

— Spencer from YouTube’s Policy Team

The fact that there was NO human team reviewing these requests up until now borders on criminal.   Youtube is both a multi billion dollar business and the livelihood of many of the internet's biggest content creators.   The fact that their videos could be pulled down , and their channels shuttered indiscriminately with no human intervention is beyond negligent.  

Setting up a human team to review these requests a step in the right direction,  but it's a damning example of just how little Google understands its own creation and just how important it has become for many people.

Posted on February 28, 2016 and filed under Media, Technology.