Illegally uploaded full-length movies pop up again on YouTube


Snow White

It was a problem that had been solved for all intents and purposes years ago when YouTube put the power into the hands of major copyright owners. Now, WSJ has uncovered that a new round of full-length movie uploads has been creeping onto YouTube, some of which have received millions of views.

Google launched the Content ID tool and gave it to 4000 major publishers such as Disney and Sony in 2007. The problem of illegally uploaded content shifted away from YouTube and onto torrent sites and other file-sharing services. The shift didn’t last forever.

The fight against content piracy was revolutionized by the service that gave content owners the option of either having the content removed or leaving it up and running ads over the content. Most of the ad revenue was given to the copyright owner. It was a novel idea that many thought would bridge the gap as a nice consolation prize for these companies, but it never really took off. Some say it’s because it “felt like giving up” on the battle to end content piracy altogether. Others said the revenue simply wasn’t substantial enough to offset the loss of content sales and rentals.

Some are blaming YouTube, but as WSJ points out, the tools are in the hands of the content owners. “To be sure, illegally uploaded movies could easily become unavailable if the content owners attack the problem.”

Regardless of who is to blame, the WSJ story already has one studio taking action. Disney quickly used it to take down Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Fantasia.

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