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On August 15, 2019, YouTube announced changes to its copyright enforcement policy. The purpose of the change would be to improve fairness in the “creators ecosystem”, limiting copyright owners’ rights to prevent unlicensed use of their content. Initially, the change will only be valid to audio format contents.

Under the new policy, copyright owners will no longer be able to monetize certain third parties’ videos via YouTube’s “Manual Claiming” tool. In this scenario, record labels, for example, will not receive any amount arising from advertisements included in videos that have been object of manual claims, in which the reproduction of the protected work is classified as “very short music clips” (approximately 10 seconds) or “unintentional uses of music”. In these cases, copyright owners will have two options: do nothing or block the audio reproduction.

This change only impacts claims made under the Manual Claiming tool, where the copyright owner is actively reviewing the video. Claims under the Content ID match system, which correspond to the vast majority, will not be impacted by this new policy.

According to YouTube, the implementation of the new rules will happen as from September 2019, and the big challenge is to guarantee that the record labels respect the new policy.