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YouTube Adjusts Copyright Claims Policy: Less Money For Musicians, More Blocked Content

UPDATED: YouTube is changing how some videos with music are claimed by copyright owners. YouTube says it is made the change because of "aggressive manual claiming of very short music clips used in monetized videos."

The videos might include very short snippets of music, a song title or song lyrics.

"Including someone else’s content without permission — regardless of how short the clip is — means your video can still be claimed and copyright owners will still be able to prevent monetization or block the video from being viewed. However, 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."

These new changes to YouTube's manual claiming policies are intended to "improve fairness in the creator ecosystem, while still respecting copyright owners’ rights to prevent unlicensed use of their content."

But the result admits YouTube will also be more blocked videos, at least in the short term. “We acknowledge that these changes may result in more blocked content in the near-term, but we feel this is an important step toward striking the right balance over the long-term. Our goal is to unlock new value for everyone by powering creative reuse and content mashups, while fairly compensating all rightsholders,” said YouTube.

It will also reduce earnings for many artists.

The stated purpose of this overhaul is to balance the rights of copyright holders with the needs of YouTube creators. But the use of short snippets accounts for a significant amount of music usage on YouTube

According to Pex, the video and audio analytics company, snippet usage of music - then seconds or less - is on average roughly 9% of an artists’ YouTube views, and hence 9% of the revenue they earn there.