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Summary:

Confirming reports that cropped up today about how YouTube handles copyrighted music, the site has clarified its policy with a blog post. The issue came to the fore when YouTube watchers noticed videos that had no audio, and were accompanied by a warning that read “This […]

Confirming reports that cropped up today about how YouTube handles copyrighted music, the site has clarified its policy with a blog post. The issue came to the fore when YouTube watchers noticed videos that had no audio, and were accompanied by a warning that read “This video contains an audio track that has not been authorised by all copyright holders. The audio has been disabled.”

Music is a contentious issue on the Google-owned video site, as demonstrated when Warner Music Group music videos were pulled off the site after licensing negotiations broke down. Wired Epicenter points out that the muted videos in question feature music from Warner artists.

YouTube explained in its blog post that the muting occurs when a copyright holder claims that a video uses its music illegally. The uploader now has the option to take out the music and leave the video up.

Previously, when a music label or other rights owner issued a copyright claim to block audio, the video was automatically taken down. Uploaders had two choices: dispute the claim or use our AudioSwap tool to replace the track with one from our library of pre-cleared music. Now we’ve added an additional choice. Instead of automatically removing the video from YouTube, users can choose to leave the video muted and live on the site, and many of them are taking that option.

This makes me wonder if YouTube could introduce something similar to selectively block images of copyrighted logos and the like. Hopefully they can mock up some cute “censored” graphics.

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  1. If you bump into a muted video on youtube, post this comment:

    “We love music! We can’t stand by silently while the music industry continues its decades-long effort to lock up our culture! If you think that it sucks that audio had to be disabled here BOYCOTT MUSIC INDUSTRY!

    • Only buy audio-cds second-hand from now on (Use amazon’s second-hand section or ebay from apparently private persons)

    • Don’t download from online music stores anymore

    • Support self-marketing bands

    • Spread this message here on every muted video you encounter”

  2. American Idol A Video Fail: Station Conversation – NewTeeVee Station Saturday, January 17, 2009

    [...] on YouTube’s part to quickly avoid copyright infringement, and surely not a coincidence that they implemented this latest technology feat the day American Idol returned to [...]

  3. American Idol A Video Fail: Station Conversation « NewTeeVee Saturday, January 17, 2009

    [...] on YouTube’s part to quickly avoid copyright infringement, and surely not a coincidence that they implemented this latest technology feat the day American Idol returned to [...]

  4. FanTrust » Blog Archive » American Idol A Video Fail: Station Conversation [NewTeeVee] Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    [...] move on YouTube’s part to quickly avoid copyright infringement, and surely not a coincidence that they implemented this latest technology feat the day American Idol returned to Fox. Jill: I just don’t get why Fox is so squinchy about this. [...]

  5. FanTrust » Blog Archive » American Idol A Video Fail: Station Conversation [NewTeeVee Station] Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    [...] move on YouTube’s part to quickly avoid copyright infringement, and surely not a coincidence that they implemented this latest technology feat the day American Idol returned to Fox. Jill: I just don’t get why Fox is so squinchy about this. [...]

  6. American Idol A Video Fail: Station Conversation | Viral Video Maker Monday, February 2, 2009

    [...] on YouTube’s part to quickly avoid copyright infringement, and surely not a coincidence that they implemented this latest technology feat the day American Idol returned to [...]

  7. To Hold onto Music Content, YouTube May Ditch Long-Held Hub Strategy « NewTeeVee Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    [...] music video publishers by amping up curation tools on its music page and offering features such as muting infringing music in other people’s [...]

  8. Is SonicSwap the Boxee of Music Videos? Friday, March 20, 2009

    [...] Skilken said SonicSwap has run into issues where its player will pull up a track that has the audio muted, one of YouTube’s efforts to placate copyright owners. SonicSwap was also on the verge of [...]

  9. Fooling YouTube Audio Fingerprints: Speed Works, Volume Doesn’t, And All That Matters Is the First 30 Seconds Friday, April 24, 2009

    [...] its artists from the site and user uploads that contain tracks from the company’s albums are automatically muted. But rival Universal Music Group recently announced a planned new joint music video venture with [...]

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