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TED2010

Margaret Gould Stewart: How YouTube thinks about copyright

February 10, 2010

Margaret Gould Stewart, YouTube's head of user experience, talks about how the ubiquitous video site works with copyright holders and creators to foster (at the best of times) a creative ecosystem where everybody wins.

Margaret Gould Stewart - User experience master
At Facebook (and previously at YouTube), Margaret Gould Stewart designs experiences that touch the lives of a large percentage of the world's population. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
So, if you're in the audience today,
00:15
or maybe you're watching this talk in some other time or place,
00:17
you are a participant in the digital rights ecosystem.
00:20
Whether you're an artist, a technologist,
00:23
a lawyer or a fan,
00:25
the handling of copyright directly impacts your life.
00:27
Rights management is no longer
00:30
simply a question of ownership,
00:32
it's a complex web of relationships
00:35
and a critical part of our cultural landscape.
00:37
YouTube cares deeply about the rights of content owners,
00:40
but in order to give them choices about what they can do
00:43
with copies, mashups and more,
00:45
we need to first identify
00:48
when copyrighted material is uploaded to our site.
00:50
Let's look at a specific video so you can see how it works.
00:53
Two years ago, recording artist Chris Brown
00:56
released the official video of his single "Forever."
00:58
A fan saw it on TV,
01:01
recorded it with her camera phone,
01:03
and uploaded it to YouTube.
01:05
Because Sony Music had registered Chris Brown's video
01:08
in our Content ID system,
01:11
within seconds of attempting to upload the video,
01:13
the copy was detected,
01:15
giving Sony the choice of what to do next.
01:17
But how do we know that the user's video was a copy?
01:20
Well, it starts with content owners
01:23
delivering assets into our database,
01:25
along with a usage policy
01:27
that tells us what to do when we find a match.
01:29
We compare each upload
01:33
against all of the reference files in our database.
01:35
This heat map is going to show you
01:38
how the brain of the system works.
01:40
Here we can see the original reference file
01:42
being compared to the user generated content.
01:44
The system compares every moment
01:48
of one to the other to see if there's a match.
01:50
This means that we can identify a match
01:52
even if the copy used is just a portion of the original file,
01:54
plays it in slow motion
01:57
and has degraded audio and video quality.
01:59
And we do this every time
02:02
that a video is uploaded to YouTube.
02:04
And that's over 20 hours of video every minute.
02:06
When we find a match,
02:09
we apply the policy that the rights owner has set down.
02:11
And the scale and the speed of this system
02:15
is truly breathtaking.
02:18
We're not just talking about a few videos,
02:20
we're talking about over
02:23
100 years of video every day,
02:25
between new uploads and the legacy scans
02:28
we regularly do across all of the content on the site.
02:30
When we compare those hundred years of video,
02:34
we're comparing it against millions
02:36
of reference files in our database.
02:38
It would be like 36,000 people
02:40
staring at 36,000 monitors
02:42
each and every day, without so much as a coffee break.
02:45
Now, what do we do when we find a match?
02:48
Well, most rights owners, instead of blocking,
02:51
will allow the copy to be published.
02:54
And then they benefit through the exposure,
02:56
advertising and linked sales.
02:58
Remember Chris Brown's video "Forever"?
03:01
Well, it had its day in the sun and then it dropped off the charts,
03:03
and that looked like the end of the story,
03:05
but sometime last year, a young couple got married.
03:08
This is their wedding video.
03:10
You may have seen it.
03:12
(Music)
03:14
What's amazing about this is,
03:16
if the processional of the wedding was this much fun,
03:18
can you imagine how much fun the reception must have been?
03:20
I mean, who are these people?
03:22
I totally want to go to that wedding.
03:24
So their little wedding video went on
03:27
to get over 40 million views.
03:29
And instead of Sony blocking,
03:32
they allowed the upload to occur.
03:34
And they put advertising against it
03:36
and linked from it to iTunes.
03:38
And the song, 18 months old,
03:40
went back to number four on the iTunes charts.
03:43
So Sony is generating revenue from both of these.
03:46
And Jill and Kevin, the happy couple,
03:49
they came back from their honeymoon
03:51
and found that their video had gone crazy viral.
03:53
And they've ended up on a bunch of talk shows,
03:55
and they've used it as an opportunity to make a difference.
03:58
The video's inspired over 26,000 dollars in donations
04:00
to end domestic violence.
04:03
The "JK Wedding [Entrance] Dance" became so popular
04:05
that NBC parodied it on the season finale of "The Office,"
04:08
which just goes to show,
04:11
it's truly an ecosystem of culture.
04:13
Because it's not just amateurs borrowing from big studios,
04:16
but sometimes big studios borrowing back.
04:19
By empowering choice, we can create a culture of opportunity.
04:22
And all it took to change things around
04:25
was to allow for choice through rights identification.
04:27
So why has no one ever solved this problem before?
04:30
It's because it's a big problem,
04:33
and it's complicated and messy.
04:35
It's not uncommon for a single video
04:37
to have multiple rights owners.
04:39
There's musical labels.
04:41
There's multiple music publishers.
04:43
And each of these can vary by country.
04:45
There's lots of cases
04:47
where we have more than one work mashed together.
04:49
So we have to manage many claims
04:51
to the same video.
04:53
YouTube's Content ID system addresses all of these cases.
04:55
But the system only works through
04:58
the participation of rights owners.
05:00
If you have content that others are uploading to YouTube,
05:02
you should register in the Content ID system,
05:05
and then you'll have the choice
05:07
about how your content is used.
05:09
And think carefully about the policies that you attach to that content.
05:11
By simply blocking all reuse,
05:14
you'll miss out on new art forms,
05:16
new audiences,
05:18
new distribution channels
05:20
and new revenue streams.
05:22
But it's not just about dollars and impressions.
05:24
Just look at all the joy
05:27
that was spread through progressive rights management
05:29
and new technology.
05:31
And I think we can all agree that joy is definitely an idea worth spreading.
05:33
Thank you.
05:36
(Applause)
05:38

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Margaret Gould Stewart - User experience master
At Facebook (and previously at YouTube), Margaret Gould Stewart designs experiences that touch the lives of a large percentage of the world's population.

Why you should listen

Margaret Gould Stewart has spent her career asking, “How do we design user experiences that change the world in fundamental ways?” It's a powerful question that has led her to manage user experiences for six of the ten most visited websites in the world, including Facebook, where she serves as Director of Product Design.

Before joining Facebook, Margaret managed the User Experience Team for YouTube, where she oversaw the largest redesign in the company's history, including the YouTube player page. She came to YouTube after two years leading Search and Consumer Products UX at Google. She approaches her work with a combined appreciation for timeless great design and transient digital technologies, and always with the end goal of improving people's lives. As she says: "Design is creativity in service of others."

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