US legislators call on Google to expand copyright efforts


Rory O'Neill

US legislators call on Google to expand copyright efforts

Sundry Photography /

A group of US lawmakers has told Google, parent company of YouTube, that creators risk being left behind by YouTube’s copyright protection policies.

In an open letter to Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, four US senators and four members of the House of Representatives called on the company to expand YouTube’s Content ID copyright protection programme to smaller-scale creators.

Content ID is a programme which allows copyright owners to submit files of copyright-protected works to YouTube.

YouTube then scans videos uploaded to the platform against this database to monitor infringement.

But this feature is not universally accessible. “To be approved, [copyright owners] must own exclusive rights to a substantial body of original material that is frequently uploaded by the YouTube creator community,” the YouTube guidelines say.

According to Marsha Blackburn, Republican senator for Tennessee, this puts copyright owners with smaller catalogues of protected work at a “disproportionate risk of infringement”.

Blackburn was one of the signatories to the open letter, along with senators Thom Thillis and Chris Coons, who serve as chair and co-chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on IP.

“We are concerned that copyright holders with smaller catalogs of works cannot utilise Content ID, making it more difficult or impossible for them to effectively protect their copyrighted works from infringement and, ultimately, impacting their livelihoods,” the letter said.

The lawmakers called on Pichai to sit down in a roundtable discussion to address their concerns.

Among the issues they want Pichai to address is whether Google has plans to expand the Content ID programme and what challenges prevent it from doing so.

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