The Financial Times reported on Monday (paywall) that YouTube has paid out $1 billion to copyright holders in a program that allows them to monetize unauthorized use of their copyrighted material.
YouTube introduced ContentID in 2007 to scan user-generated uploads for copyright infringement. When ContentID finds an upload that may have unauthorized copyrighted material on it, it alerts rights holders and gives them the option to either have the video taken down or to place ads on the video and make money off those views.
Over 5,000 copyright holders, like music labels and TV and movie studios, participate in the program. “All of the big US TV networks and movie studios” are included, the Financial Times notes. Over the last seven years, $1 billion has been paid to those participants, in some cases making unauthorized uses on YouTube an important revenue stream for the rights holders.
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