As reported on Valleywag and picked up by Slashdot, Sony BMG has been testing an alternative to copyright takedowns of unauthorized music videos on YouTube: inserting a link to the band’s official page instead.
An eagle-eyed Valleywag tipster with a taste for Modest Mouse spotted an interesting new feature on YouTube. Uploads of music videos from the band by non-official sources now carry a link reading “Contains content from Sony BMG,” which leads users to the official Modest Mouse page on the site.
Dear YouTube Member:
Sony/BMG has claimed some or all visual content in your video Float On. This claim was made as part of the YouTube Content Identification program.
Your video is still live because Sony/BMG has authorized the use of this content on YouTube. As long as Sony/BMG has a claim on your video, they will receive public statistics about your video, such as number of views. Viewers may also see advertising on your video’s page.
Sony/BMG claimed this content as a part of the YouTube Content Identification program. YouTube allows partners to review YouTube videos for content to which they own the rights. Partners may use our automated video / audio matching system to identify their content, or they may manually review videos.
The YouTube Content Identification Team
This sounds like a promising development, a less intrusive means of copyright policing than the flat DMCA takedown. Might Sony be recognizing that fan appreciation is a good thing, to be nurtured into compensation rather than squelched with takedowns? As of Thursday morning, the Modest Mouse channel has been viewed 77,808 times, and this particular “Float On” video, with associated Sony ads, more than one million times. I can only hope the more nuanced approach succeeds without becoming too intrusive to the viewers or the host site.