Last year, YouTube’s Content ID system flagged Sebastian Tomczak’s video five times for copyright infringement. The video wasn’t a supercut of Marvel movies or the latest Girl Talk mashup; it was simply ten hours of machine-generated static. Stories like Tomczak’s are all too common: Content ID even flagged a one-hour video of a cat purring as a likely infringement.
Stories like the purring and static videos are extreme examples of the flaws in copyright filtering systems—instances where nothing was copied at all, but a bot still flagged it as infringement. More often, filters ding uploads that do feature some portion of a copyrighted work, but where even the most basic human review would recognize the use as noninfringing. Those instances demonstrate how dangerous it is to let bots make the final decision about whether a work should stay online. We can’t put the machines in charge of our speech.
Unfortunately, as the use of copyright bots has become more widespread, artists have increasingly had to cater their work to the bots’ definitions of infringement rather than fully enjoy the freedoms fair use was designed to protect. To write bots into the law would make the problem much worse. When we let computers make the final decision about what types of speech are allowed online, we build a wall around our freedom of expression.
Learn more at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/01/dont-put-robots-charge-internet
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