YouTube has come under fire following flaws in their copyright infringement policy. As the online video sharing platform has grown, the way in which it regulates the content that users upload has had to become more draconian. However, the abuse of this system has been highlighted with the recent controversy over the company's three strikes policy in relation to a popular channel, 'SR Bros'.
Under YouTube's three strike policy, anyone who uses the site can claim a copyright strike against a channel. This is then reviewed by an automated bot who will then decide whether or not the claim is valid. Upon receiving a third strike, YouTube will take down all of the videos on that channel. The problem with this system is that the bots tend to side with the party claiming the copyright strike. This is in part because of the lack of human input within the copyright infringement system and also because the growth of YouTube has led the company to adopt such strict policies in order to protect itself from intellectual property right claims.
The 'SR Bros' were subject to the abuse of this system when the brothers behind the channel began to receive emails informing them that they had receive copyright strikes against a certain video which they had uploaded. These strikes had been issued even though the video in question contained no stolen or copyright protected material. Upon refusing to pay $1000 to an unknown party, following an email which warned that the brothers would have to pay this amount if they did not want another strike, the brothers' channel was taken down after receiving its final copyright strike.
The 'SR Bros' channel has since been restored by YouTube following an internet campaign. However, this saga has demonstrated the drawbacks of the way in which the company now regulates copyright material. It will be interesting to see if YouTube is able to develop a fairer way by which to filter the content which is uploaded to the site.
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