Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Alex Jones and Copyright

My good friend MyRealityBytes alerted me to this video. While I normally take issue with the wild accusations Alex Jones is famous for, much of what he says in this video is accurate. The one thing that is NOT accurate is his claim that he is in danger of losing his account. This is because there is a difference between Copyright and Content ID which I will explain below.

Alex Jones did describe a few terms such as being a Director and I felt I would help explain what that is. For those who do not know, the Director Program was launched in 2006 prior to YouTube's Partner Program. You can read the announcement of this program here: In 2007 YouTube launched the Partner Program and retired the Director Program. Those who were in the director program were able to keep their perks however.

In September of 2011 YouTube announced that anyone who set up 2 step verification and kept their channel copyright and content ID free would be able to upload longer than 15 minutes.

Now let's discuss the issue between Copyright and Content ID. Copyright claims on YouTube are when someone files a copyright infringement claim against your channel and by law YouTube must disable the content. The owner of the video is then entitled to fill out a a counter-notice if they feel the copyright claim is invalid or if they believe they have a fair use entitlement to use the content. YouTube must do this in order to have their safe harbor status under the DMCA which shields internet providers like YouTube from financial liability so long as they disable content upon request of a copyright notice or if they re-enable it upon receipt of a counter-notice.

Content ID was launched a few years ago to help content creators earn money from when their content is used. Most studio networks have long learned that they couldn't stop people from using their content so YouTube gave them a way to earn money from it. Here is Margaret Stewart former head of User Experience discussing how Content ID works. Last month she announced on her twitter that she was leaving YouTube to work for Facebook.

Now content ID has been far from perfect. However, Content ID does not result in a channel being shut down. Even if the video are blocked world wide. Only copyright strikes and TOS violations result in YouTube shutting down your channels. Rumblefish is pretty famous for putting their ads on content that clearly is not theirs. They are also famous for ignoring and rejecting valid disputes to their content ID matches. Another issue that YouTube has caused is it is rather difficult to find all of your content ID matches when you check your account status.

However in many cases that account status only reports on World Wide blocks and as such it can be difficult to find all of the content ID matches especially if you have over 10,000 videos like Alex Jones has. Another place to try and find them is the copyright section however that may not even track them all, according to what I have been reading in the YouTube help forums. Sadly the only sure fire way to see all of your Content ID matches is go to to your video manager and scroll through each video one by one and fill out the dispute.

What you are looking for is any video with the words "Matched third party content" or "Blocked in some countries" or "Blocked Worldwide"

When you hover your mouse over these words a link appears. Click it and it will take you to the dispute form. So what does Alex Jones need to do. Well he has two options. One have a staff person spend about a week going through all 10,000 videos and fill out the dispute forms for any Content ID that appears on the video. The other option is to have their legal time contact Bent Pixel at

Mailing Address:
2620 Regatta Dr, Suite 102
Las Vegas, Nevada NV 89128

Contact Info:

While I doubt that Alex Jones is going to ever see this, hopefully someone else in a similar situation will and if they ever need any assistance please contact me via my YouTube channel.