Google and YouTube Accused of Stealing Content ID…

Will Google and YouTube Be Forced to Pull Content ID?
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Will Google and YouTube Be Forced to Pull Content ID?
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Image by Esther Vargas (CC by 2.0)

So, who exactly owns the rights to Content ID? Google and YouTube, or Audible Magic?  That’s now the focus of a serious lawsuit.

It’s no secret that YouTube’s Content ID is unpopular.  But did the Google-owned company actually develop the copyright enforcement tool?

For the uninitiated, Content ID automatically scans uploaded content against a database of copyright material.  This helps protect the company against possible copyright infringement and pirating lawsuits.   It’s simple: copyright owners identify their materials in advance, and YouTube blocks them.

However, Audible Magic argues that they, not Google, actually developed the service.  They filed a complaint at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday.

Dubbed “the leader in automated identification of audio and visual content for web media platforms,” Audible Magic Corporation claims that Google “willfully” and “fraudulently” trademarked the Content ID service.  A release to DMN states,

Audible Magic is recognized for its pioneering work in digital fingerprinting, the foundation behind its Content ID services, and is a trusted 3rd party provider among both service operators and rights owners.

YouTube worked under Audible Magic Corp in 2006 and subsequently after its acquisition with Google in 2009.  The licensing agreement was transferred to the search engine behemoth.  Audible Magic states that during that time,

“Audible Magic provided its trademarked and patented Content ID services to YouTube/Google prior to Google launching its own version for content recognition.”

Critics – most notably Viacom – had accused YouTube of being a “prime enabler” of copyright infringement and pirating.  That was the basis for a massive infringement lawsuit that YouTube somehow survived.  The popular music and video streamer launched Content ID in October 2006 to combat those piracy claims and stem further litigation.

In its complaint to the USTCO, Audible Magic wrote,

“The television and movie industries were complaining that YouTube was allowing third-parties to upload copyright materials from television and movies and was not instituting any controls or checks on third-party content. This negative publicity was particularly damaging to YouTube in 2006 when Google was considering acquiring YouTube for over one billion dollars.”

In 2009, the licensing agreement ended between the three companies. However, in 2013, Google signed a declaration stating that it knew of no other company entitled to use the Content ID brand.  Ultimately, the company’s complaint is over the use of the name.

In addition, Audible Magic wrote,

Such confusion may cause harm to Audible Magic and the consuming public and jeopardize the valuable goodwill and reputation Audible Magic has built up in connection with Content ID and its services.

In the complaint, the company asked the USPTO to cancel Google’s “invalid” USPTO registration. If successful, and as the press release implies, the complaint may force YouTube to remove Content ID. However (and most likely), the streamer may just be forced to rebrand “Content ID.”

“Google has reportedly generated billions of dollars in revenues under a trademark that we rightfully own,” said Vance Ikezoye, Audible co-founder and CEO.

7 Responses

  1. Remi Swierczek

    Google & YouTube are worse than CHILD MOLESTERS to music!!!

    Music is MUCH BIGGER THAN GOOGLE AND YouTube, actually IT IS BIGGER THAN all of the digital ads.
    The only reason digital music cannot get out of $16B infancy to $300B adult life is STUPID (out of ignorance) MOLESTATION by Google and YouTube!

    Larry Page instead buying $3.2B thermostats from Apple losers should take a closer look at music and start the biggest moonshot of his life.

    Internet is made for music and creation of better money machine than AdWords CAN COME AND WILL COME ONLY FROM MUSIC! Larry don’t be a dork!

    • Anonymous

      This is serious matter!
      Pedophiles are subject to imprisonment.

      Watch out Larry!

  2. Anonymous

    So Google also pirated its anti-piracy tool? 🙂

    Man, you couldn’t make it up.

  3. Codname Jack (The truth)

    you go larry
    the only reason google exist is because of larry the only reason google is where it is today is because of larry

    larry to prison ? lol
    even trump can’t send larry to prison he is much stronger
    google is larry and larry is google end of story
    If Larry Page would run the world as he is doing with google we will be so far as a civilisation

    Google rocks! google is the only company in the world that can afford youtube, larry vision is way ahead of his time 20-30 years into the future so start pay some respect.

    Youtube rocks Larry rocks and as long as he is alive google is unstoppable

  4. dcdelakis

    I find it hard to believe this lawsuit has any merit. The math behind audio fingerprinting (Fast Fourier transform) has been around for hundreds of years. I use content id all the time on YouTube and it works great. If you are looking for a great YouTube Content ID partner, check out Orfium:

  5. dcdelakis

    I love YouTube’s content id service, I use it all the time and it is a great way to make passive income as a musician. I have a hard time believe this lawsuit has any merit, as the math behind this technology is hundreds of years old. I use Orfium as my Youtube content id provider. They have no upfront costs and no long-term contracts, and they pay out 80% monthly. check them out: