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Copyright bots powered by a 1998 law threaten the public’s right to know

The Hill – “…Copyright bots are automated programs that search digital content to identify copyright infringements. Google’s Content ID for YouTube is a prominent example. According to a Google publication, 98 percent of YouTube’s copyright issues were handled through the automated Content ID system in 2018. When a user uploads a video to YouTube, Content ID scans the contents against a database of files submitted by digital content owners. If the newly uploaded video matches a copyrighted file, the copyright holders have the option to make money from the offending video, be granted access to the video’s viewing statistics, or have the video taken down.  However, this process is open to exploitation. A post from NYU’s Journal of Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law has called copyright actions like YouTube’s “a tool for censorship, bullying, extortion.” As the Beverly Hills police officer showed, an alleged bad actor who wishes to cover up his misconduct faces a low bar. Other examples include the Azerbaijani government allegedly censoring journalists and a former candidate for Colorado Assembly filing multiple claims against a critic’s YouTube channel, resulting in the termination of the critic’s account twice…”

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