Commentary
4/18/2008
11:30 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary

YouTube Changes Up Policy Enforcement

YouTube has modified the way in which it will go after those who post copyrighted material or objectionable videos. Of course, the new rules stirred some outrage among certain users who feel targeted by the "YouTube Police".



YouTube has modified the way in which it will go after those who post copyrighted material or objectionable videos. Of course, the new rules stirred some outrage among certain users who feel targeted by the "YouTube Police".The three big changes are called Strikes That Expire, New Notifications, and Muting Accounts. The Official YouTube Blog outlines what the changes entail.

For the Strikes, YouTube staffers said, "It didn't seem fair that a user who uploads three videos that violate the Community Guidelines over the span of a year was being treated the same as someone who uploads those same videos over the course of a week. To change this, we've made it so that violations are now rescinded after six months." YouTube made it clear, however, that any videos that violate copyright claims are exempt from this policy.

The new notification service is meant to circumvent spam filters. "It used to be that if a video was removed for violating the Community Guidelines or due to a claim of copyright infringement, the user would be sent a notice via email," wrote YouTube staffers. "But these notices sometimes get caught by spam filters or go unread. The new system also displays the notice on YouTube the next time they access the site." That sounds fair enough. Basically, they want you to get the message that you're in violation. This is just YouTube trying to cover its back-end a bit.

Lastly, YouTube is trying to be more understand about people who misuse the site. YouTube said, "We are experimenting with ways of correcting some types of abusive behavior that aren't as harsh or as permanent as suspending users. What we've come up with is to temporarily mute users, so that they can still use the site and watch videos, but they can't post new content. Right now it is set up to affect users who have two Community Guidelines warnings in a six-month period and will last two weeks." YouTube didn't detail what it considers to be abusive behavior, though it is assuredly covered in the Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.

Under the post explaining all this is a large number of user comments. There is the predictable flame jobs from people who are upset, but others offer some informative insight.

One poster said, "Fantastic! I've been trying to point out infringing videos to people by just posting a text comment, a non-negative one I assure you, but it's all come back at my face. This would be so nice because now users can get that warning they've been wanting so badly. Only uploading videos that contain 100% your own material (with the exception of material that the person has permission to use) has become such a lost concept. I've seen people joke as if it weren't true. Broadcast Yourself... Not other people's work. How difficult is that to understand?"

Another doesn't agree. "Fine, but this is all sugar coating. Youtube, you suspend people and STILL are not giving them clear reasons, or even a hint of that they supposedly 'violated'. Where do you get off? We understand its your 'site', but the people here are who make your money. Why do you treat your community like that? That's horribly sick. You talk about being 'fair', how about start there."

YouTube, it seems, will never be able to please everyone.

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