YouTube Launches Copyright School to Punish Infringers, Led by Happy Tree Friends
Let’s be honest here: Even as YouTube embraces more premium video categories like original series, partnerships with distributors like Vevo, and live broadcasts, a good portion of YouTube’s appeal comes from content whose copyright standing is dubious at best. (If you disagree, ask yourself whether you’ve ever used YouTube to watch a music video or clip from a TV show or movie that was uploaded by anyone other than one of its rightsholders.) Indeed, in a now-infamous email unearthed during its legal dispute during Viacom, one of Google’s cofounders wrote that “if you remove the potential copyright infringements … site traffic and virality will drop to maybe 20% of what it is.”
Google has made some progress towards making friendly with big media companies, but it evidently wants to fight its reputation as a piratical free-for-all. To that end, YouTube has teamed up with the creators of the cheerfully macabre animated series Happy Tree Friends to create something called “Copyright School.” Now, if YouTube receives an infringement notice for a given user’s uploaded video, that user will be required to watch a four-and-a-half minute video about copyright rules and pass a multiple-choice quiz on the topic before being allowed to upload any more videos. Repeat offenders still risk having their accounts terminated, however.
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