This will be welcome news for YouTube creators. After months of complaints, YouTube is updating its Content ID claims process, which some publishers had been using to take ad revenue from YouTubers for the smallest of infringements.
For example, let's say you film a YouTube video at a local fair and there's a song playing in the background of the clip, coming from a ride or some such. The rights holder of that song can claim your video, and take any revenue you would have earned from it for themselves.
Of course, there are levels to this - if the music is a focal point of the video, then the rights holder likely has a claim, but YouTube's system makes it easy for rights holders to make dubious attributions, which in itself has become an income stream for some businesses.
But now, YouTube's moving to better protect incidental use:
"Going forward, our policies will forbid copyright owners from using our Manual Claiming tool to monetize creator videos with very short or unintentional uses of music. This change only impacts claims made with the Manual Claiming tool, where the rights holder is actively reviewing the video. Claims created by the Content ID match system, which are the vast majority, are not impacted by this policy."
So there will still be ways for rights holders to act on infringements, but their capacity to take the creators' revenue from such will be reduced.
"Without the option to monetize, some copyright owners may choose to leave very short or unintentional uses unclaimed. Others may choose to prevent monetization of the video by any party. And some may choose to apply a block policy."
It's not a perfect solution - and there likely isn't one - but it should help alleviate some of the more perplexing, and frustrating claims, and reduce pressure on creators.
But YouTube does also advise that people should avoid using unlicensed content in any capacity:
"As always, the best way to avoid these issues is to not use unlicensed content in your videos, even when it’s unintentional music playing in the background (i.e. vlogging in a store with music playing in the background). Instead, choose content from trusted sources such as the YouTube Audio Library, which has new tracks added every month. If you do find yourself with an unintended claim, you can use our editing tools to remove the claimed content, and the restrictions that come with it. And, of course, if you feel that your use qualifies for an exception to copyright, like Fair Use, be sure you understand what that means and how our dispute process works before uploading your video."
YouTube's copy strikes have become a major issue for creators in recent times, with more publishers cottoning onto the fact that they can take the revenue from any such claim. This will lessen the impetus behind the process, which should also make it easier for creators to edit their content, and upload with less risk of losing out.