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Music industry welcomes voluntary efforts of YouTube and Facebook to combat online piracy

By | Published on Wednesday 5 May 2021

Piracy / Hacker

The music industry has welcomed a number of polices and initiatives introduced by YouTube and Facebook to help in the fight against online piracy, most of which have stemmed from a series of roundtable discussions organised by the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office since 2018.

Record industry trade group BPI – as well as other creative industry groups involved in those roundtables – have highlighted a number of changes made by YouTube and Facebook that should help rightsholders to better enforce their rights online.

For example, both platforms have introduced new policies to stop the posting of content that specifically aims to help people access copyright infringing content online, for example by explaining how to access websites that have been blocked by internet service providers on copyright grounds.

Both companies have also discussed their respective rights management systems – so YouTube’s Content ID and Facebook’s Rights Manager – and their repeat infringer policies, seeking to ensure that copyright owners know what is currently possible, and identifying areas where content companies would most like refinements.

Meanwhile, Facebook has introduced new policies to try to stop links to piracy services appearing on its platform, and to ensure that suggestions in its search box don’t encourage people to search for infringing content.

On a more technical front, YouTube has “agreed to a significant increase in API allowances to enable rightsholders to scale their IP enforcement activities and more quickly remove infringing links at scale” and “Facebook is in the process of beta-testing a similar API”. So that’s fun. Especially for fans of takedown notices.

Of course, for the copyright owners involved in these roundtables there is still much work to be done by these and other internet companies in the never ending fight against piracy. The BPI et al nevertheless acknowledge that some progress has been made as a result of these voluntary measures introduced by Facebook and YouTube.

BPI boss Geoff Taylor says: “There remains much work to do to reduce online infringement, which continues to hinder the growth of the UK’s world-beating creative industries, but I would like to thank Facebook and YouTube for their positive engagement and their efforts to address many of the issues brought forward in the roundtable”.

As for what other internet companies might want to follow Facebook and YouTube’s lead, well, the initiatives outlined today stand in contrast, Taylor adds, to the fact that “no significant progress has been made with Twitter”, which “underlines the urgent need for government to ensure that all online platforms take a responsible approach to dealing with content”.

And now some words from Facebook and YouTube, just for fun…

Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA at Facebook: “The collaborative social media roundtable process facilitated by the IP Office has proven to be a powerful model for educating stakeholders on Facebook’s systems to address piracy and for developing new policies that meet all stakeholders’ needs. We are grateful to the IP Office for its leadership and the earnest and solution-oriented manner in which the creative rightsholders approached the roundtable discussions”.

Dan Chalmers, Director of YouTube Music EMEA: “YouTube seeks to lead the industry in developing programmes, policies and technology to fight online piracy and we are very proud of receiving an Emmy for our cutting edge Content ID system. But as pirates switch tactics, it is important that we collaborate closely with rightsholders and experts like the IPO to ensure that our approach and investment are as effective as possible. We value the leadership taken in the UK to facilitate industry collaboration and look forward to continuing progress in this space”.