NEW YouTube Shorts update auto-permits STEALING content?? - Allow people to sample content

NEW YouTube Shorts update auto-permits STEALING content?? - Allow people to sample content play video
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Written by: Dexxter Clark, 16-05-2021
YouTube quietly introduced a little checkbox “Allow people to sample this content “ in YouTube Studio.
Does this automatically checked checkbox have a huge potential, or is it a copyright nightmare?
If it is the copyright nightmare, it sets a dangerous precedent that could potentially make YouTube and other creators millions of dollars with YOUR content, while you don’t see a cent.

Before I start, I`m not a legal professional, nor claiming to be.
For legal advice, consult a legal professional in your country.

Where can you find “Allow people to sample this content”?

In YouTube Studio on a desktop computer, go to:
  • “Content” in the menu on the left
  • Click the pencil icon on one of your videos
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page
  • Click on “show more”
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page
  • You see a header “Shorts permissions” with the text “Allows people to create Shorts using parts of this video. Turning this off will permanently delete all Shorts sampling its content. Not all videos can opt out.” (source: YouTube Studio)
  • Under this header you can find the checkbox “Allow people to sample this content”
  • Uncheck the checkbox for every video on all your channels if you don`t want this.

A huge potential

The sampling feature could lead to some really creative shorts.
We never had the possibility to do this before because of copyrights.

If a big creator features a small creator, it might blow up their channel.
However, we don`t know yet how viewers know that a creator is “sampled” and viewers could subscribe to the sampled creators` channel.

If there isn`t a way for viewers to know the original creator, the benefits for checking this checkbox is really small.

The bigger picture

But I do have some concerns, mainly regarding legality.
Because on first glance, it seems that this feature lets you forfeit your copyright.
Then this checkbox indirectly means “Allow people to STEAL this content”.

If this is the case, this sets a dangerous precedent for creators.
  • Now YouTube does it only for shorts.
  • Next week you could automatically wave away the copyrights for regular videos, because those copyright laws are such a pain for YouTube, it is much cheaper for YouTube to make you wave all your copyrights in the first place
  • Next month YouTube sells your content to the highest bidder, a television station buys your content.
    They make millions of dollars with it, and you don’t see a cent.
    And legally, YouTube can do it, because of a simple checkbox.
  • Next year you automatically agree to lower ad-rates
  • In 2 years …
  • In 3 years ...

Why the quiet way?

By law YouTube can’t give away YOUR copyright.
You as a copyright holder have to give permission.

One might argue that, instead of asking you for permission, YouTube chose to silently circumvented copyright laws by making a checkbox that is automatically checked for your whole video library.
This way creators have to explicitly opt-out for every video on every channel to keep their copyright.

It seems like copyright circumvention because:
  • Youtube didn`t anounce the checkbox, nor the default state of this checkbox.
    They could have chosen a popup message, like with Coppa in 2019, they didn`t.
    I guess if they did opted everyone out by default, that nobody would would manually opt in.

  • The checkbox is automatically checked for your whole library on all channels.
    If you want to opt-out, you need to do it manually for all your videos.
    At the time of writing, there is no way to set it as upload default.
    If you forget to set it when uploading it is checked, you agree to others using your content.
  • You can not opt out for all videos.
    The text above the checkbox states “Not all videos can opt out.” (source: YouTube Studio)
    WHUTT??
    I think that this might give some legal issues.

  • They tucked the option away under the stuff that it totally irrelevant like tags and recording.
    Why put it there, and not give it a prominent place on the videos detail page?

  • The lack on information about this feature and the legal implications, while they do expand on the legal implications of the Coppa law.
    That “learn more” article doesn’t tell you anything useful

  • If this feature is indeed a legal waver....
    Why would I give away my copyrights for free?
    All over the world, creators earn money on copyright licenses from music to film.
    YouTube Shorts is not monetized yet, but I can`t imagine that it will take very long.
    Then others could make money with your content for free.
Maybe it is all a happy coincidence, YouTube has the image of being a black box for many years.
Maybe the document-writing-team has not caught up yet with the developers.
After all, where there is smoke, there is not always fire.
The information right now is so scarce, that it is hard to draw any definitive conclusions.

Update May 17th 2021

YouTube finally released more information, and I also talked with other YouTubers about the topic.
A couple of things have become more clear.

Bulk opt-out soon

YouTube announced that they will roll out a bulk-update feature for the checkbox “allow people to sample this content” soon.

Only for audio
Although not mentioned, the checkbox (“allow people to sample this content”) applies ONLY to audio for shorts.
This explains why the term “sampling” is used, which is more common in the audio world than the AV world.

Only opt-out for long-form content
You can’t opt out for shorts content, only long-form content.
If you don’t want your audio to be used in other shorts, you have to delete your short.
When you do that, the audio of shorts that used your audio will be muted.

When the checkbox is checked, you basically give a blessing: go ahead and use my audio.

Can’t see who’s content is sampled
There is, indeed, no way to see that your audio is being sampled in another short.
In my eyes: this is an incentive to not allow audio sampling.

Copyrights and YouTube
I’m not a lawyer, nor a legal professional.
According to YouTube’s Terms of Service:
By uploading to YouTube, YouTube itself is allowed to use your content any way they seem fit (rebroadcasting, selling, etc), other users of the platform however are not.

If you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my YouTube e-book.
The book takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a YouTube channel.
How to get more views, subscribers, make money with YouTube, go viral ... and much more.
Click here for more information about my YouTube e-book: "What Big Tubers Don't tell you"

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Dexxter Clark
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