Posted on

YouTube Content ID Problems & False Claims

Content ID False ClaimsIf you’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube you might be aware of their Content ID system. Basically whenever a video is uploaded, it scans the content and tries to match anything within it against its huge database of known music and video content.

So if your video includes (for example) a Michael Jackson song, you’ll likely find yourself with a Content ID claim from Sony Music Entertainment (SME) on your video. And to be honest, this is absolutely fair enough -- they do own the rights to the music so if anyone is going to earn advertising from that music, it should be the rights holders.

It’s a pretty clever system and it actually works fairly well, most of the time. If the song has distinctive vocals, melody, drums etc. then it will probably correctly identify any music used in the video. But what happens when it makes a mistake? For example, it doesn’t always work so well on more atmospheric music with no drums or vocals -- like ambient or instrumental music! Or maybe you used a loop from Garageband or a commercially available sample collection that other people have also used.

In these instances, it’s not unknown for the system to incorrectly match a similar sounding track against a completely different track. These false positives maybe share the same chord progression or musical key but without a vocal to latch onto, the system sometimes wrongly matches similar sounding instrumental tracks.

This is where the system gets infuriatingly difficult to actually resolve the issue with a human. If you get an incorrect/false Content ID claim on your video, you can file a dispute and try to explain the problem within YouTube’s ‘File a dispute‘ process. But guess what; the people who investigate and judge your dispute are the very people who filed it (not YouTube, but usually a record company or rights management company acting on behalf of the song). So the claimant can effectively act as judge and jury on their own cases…

In my experience, these initial disputes are often just blindly ignored by the claimant (or possibly even automated) who will commonly just click ‘Reject’ against your claim without even checking whether what you say is true, in the hope you’ll just go away and leave them to earn a few pennies off your video.

At this point you have one last chance to file a counterclaim (though many people stop there, particularly if they are using material without permission and don’t want to get into legal trouble or risk a copyright strike on their account). It seems that it’s only at this point that the claimant might actually begin to take a look at your video to see if what you say is true, if only because they can at this point, also be held legally accountable for their decision.

If you are genuinely using copyright material without permission (which you shouldn’t…) the claimant will probably stand their ground (as you would expect…) and either pull the video or mute any music they own the rights to. I don’t actually know what usually happens here because I’ve never used other people’s music in my videos!

But I have had false/incorrect Content ID claims put on my own music! Currently if you include my 100% original music track Outpost 31 in a YouTube video, you will automatically get a claim from WMG (on behalf of Sumerian Records) saying that you are using a track called ‘Filth Friends Unite‘ by a band called I See Stars. I had never even heard of this track or band until I got a claim on my own video so I looked them up to see if there were any confusing similarities.

WMG/Sumerian Records & I See Stars

This is Filth Friends Unite by I See Stars (top) compared to Outpost 31 by me (bottom):

I SEE STARS - Filth Friends Unite (Official Music Video)
False Content ID claims by WMG/Sumerian Records: Outpost 31 Test

As you can hear, theirs is a kind of thrashy pop-punk, metalcore song with vocals and guitars (song starts about 45 seconds in) whereas mine is a slow, downtempo, orchestral, electronic instrumental.

The 2 tracks are completely different: different tempos, different musical keys and don’t share any samples, dialogue, loops or anything else that could be remotely confused. So I can only assume there is some kind of glitch or error in the Content ID database or metatags that is causing it to wrongly match two completely unrelated tracks.

Yet every time I try uploading a test video containing my song, I get an automatic Content ID claim. So I file a dispute, which I would expect them to look at and realise there’s been a mistake and release my video. But instead they just sit it out and leave the claim to expire after 30 days, presumably because they know they have no case (or more likely because up until now, they receive any advertising revenue generated by your video during that crucial 30 day period when you’ll probably get the most hits on your video -- see update at the end of this post).

The reason I’ve uploaded my test video above with my music on is to highlight the problem -- I’m not trying to get this particular video released from the claim (that always happens anyway after 30 days when the claim expires and if they want to uphold it and take it further legally I’m happy to do so -- I will definitely win!) I just want to get whatever the problem is, fixed, so that my clients don’t also receive false/incorrect claims on their videos.

But they’re putting blanket claims on any video that uses this particular track so if you want to license Outpost 31 and use it on YouTube (or if you have licensed it and got a Content ID claim) please contact me and I’ll explain the process of how to successfully file a dispute if you get one. I can guarantee that Outpost 31 is 100% my own work -- my track was written and released several years before theirs and I have all original multitrack recordings to prove I created it with no samples (not that there’s even a similarity to dispute!) I’m sure it’s a genuine mistake but they have no right to put claims on my work.

I’ve tried contacting both WMG and Sumerian Records numerous times via email, on their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages etc. to politely ask for help but they refuse to acknowledge any kind of response. I’m sure it must be some kind of technical error within the Content ID system but for some reason no-one at WMG or Sumerian Records is willing to talk to me.

And this highlights one of the worst things about Content ID. YouTube have no interest in looking into genuine false claims or monitoring the way claimants are abusing the claims process; they just want to appease the record labels and minimise the admin involved (hence there’s no way to contact YouTube and ask for help). I know this kind of thing also happens a lot to other people but YouTube won’t get involved. Just search Google and you’ll find thousands of genuine Content ID problems and similar issues that are continually ignored.

When Content ID works correctly it’s a pretty workable solution to help copyright holders rightfully monitor and administer their work, but when it doesn’t work it’s an extremely frustrating and poorly implemented procedure with no real right-to-reply that always works in favour of the big companies.

Update: The one good thing which YouTube have just announced is that instead of diverting any advertising revenue to the claimant for the 30 day period (while the claim is supposedly ‘investigated’) they will now hold the revenue and make sure the winning party in the dispute receives any advertising earnings if and when the dispute is finally settled. But the system still makes it incredibly frustrating to try and resolve when things go wrong (as I mention here in a brief interview with CBC). YouTube should provide some kind of mediation to help resolve technical problems and wrong IDs within their Content ID system.

If you receive any Content ID warnings using my genuinely licensed music on YouTube, please contact me and I’ll help you to try and resolve it (there are certain steps to take during disputes which can make it easier). I absolutely own 100% of all my copyrights and I don’t sample anyone else’s work, so no-one should be making any false claims on my work!

Posted on

Field Of View Extended Dakotalapse Video Featuring My Music

Field Of View - 4K Ultra HD Timelapse

Field Of View is the amazing new timelapse video from Randy Halverson at Dakotalapse which you can watch above. Randy describes some of his photography below:

Field Of View is a compilation of timelapse I have shot in the last year. The first shot of the sunset supercell was done on July 23, 2015. That storm dropped multiple Tornadoes in eastern South Dakota, I was shooting it from central SD. I shot timelapse of that same storm for almost 4 hours into the night. Other locations in the sequences are Aurora in central, western South Dakota and the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. The Red Desert in Wyoming, Badlands and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands area of South Dakota. Bighorn and Teton Mountain areas in Wyoming.”

Randy Halverson

There’s also an extended 30+ minute version of the video available in 1080p featuring my atmospheric ambient music tracks Halo’s Edge and Orbital Drift which you can get directly from Dakotalapse here:

As with all of Randy’s work, the photography is stunning and it makes for a beautifully calming video to watch, so I highly recommend supporting Randy by purchasing the full version!

Posted on

New Day Under New Sky Compilation Featuring My Ambient Music

New day under new sky - compiled by Solarsoul [Official Music Video]

A new ambient music compilation album called New Day Under New Sky has just been released featuring my track Coronal Mass Ejection. Compiled by Solarsoul, the album is a beautiful collection of calming atmospheric instrumental music and also features some well known names from the ambient music world such as Jonn Serrie, Phillip Wilkerson, Numina and many more talented artists.

“Mankind will not forever remain on Earth, but in the pursuit of light and space will first timidly emerge from the bounds of the atmosphere, and then advance until he has conquered the whole of circumsolar space.”

Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky

You can hear excerpts from all the tracks in the teaser video above or get the album direct from Beatport and Juno below:

Posted on

Koi’s YouTube Channel For Minecraft Fans Featuring My Music

E40 - Designing the Skeleton XP Farm Building - Koi's Minecraft Bucket List

If you’re a fan of Minecraft, Nintendo or No Man’s Sky, why not take a look at Koi’s YouTube channel which is dedicated to all of these. It’s a family and kid-friendly channel where he regularly uploads videos on mods, tutorials and lots more and you’ll find a lot of my music used throughout the videos.

Check it out and subscribe here:

Posted on

Aurora And Meteor With Persistent Train By Dakotalapse

Aurora and Meteor with persistent train

Short time lapse video from Randy Halverson at Dakotalapse that captured a meteor whilst Randy was shooting some lovely time lapse of the Aurora. The video features my piano music track The Falling Snow from Volume 5 of my royalty free music collections.

Posted on

Halo’s Edge Space Music Promo Video

Halo's Edge: Ambient Space Music by Simon Wilkinson

New promo video now up on YouTube for my latest ambient space music track Halo’s Edge. It’s a 22 minute long atmospheric soundscape with ethereal and evocative tones of outer space imagery. You can buy and license the track for use in your videos or just for personal listening directly on this site at the following link:

It’s also available on all my store pages on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc. (links to these stores are at the very foot of the page).

Posted on

New Ambient Space Music Track Halo’s Edge

Halo's Edge Ambient Space Music Just added to the site today is a new 22 minute atmospheric ambient space music track called Halo’s Edge.

The track is a long ethereal and floating instrumental with no percussion, rhythms or distractive elements and is ideal for meditation, relaxation or deep immersive listening.

22 minutes full of deep bass drones, sparkling floating textures and hypnotic tonal elements that conjure up visuals of deep space landscapes.

You can license Halo’s Edge directly from this site for use in your feature films, documentaries, time lapse videos or other artistic videos by clicking the following link:

The track is also available for personal listening from iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, Amazon etc. (see the Social Links section below right to find the track on other stores).

Posted on

Snow And Clouds By Lukas Spieker

Snow and Clouds from Lukas on Vimeo.

Here’s another nice timelapse video from photographer and filmmaker Lukas Spieker which uses my track Aurora. The video is called Snow And Clouds and was shot in the Swiss Jura Mountains on a cold winter morning.

“I used the in-camera time-lapse capture of the Nikon D810 and D4, except for one sequence (the one zooming out) which is made of JPG frames. There’s also one hand-held pan recorded with the iPhone which has phenomenal image stabilization. I have made several time-lapse videos from this and nearby locations over the last years, one of them made it for a documentary on weather phenomena.”

Lukas Spieker

Lukas has used some of my music in one of his previous videos and you can see more of his work on his own website:

Posted on

Code Of Silence Documentary Trailer Featuring Black Orchid

My music track Black Orchid is featured in this dramatic trailer for documentary Code Of Silence by Scilla Alecci & George Steptoe. Code Of Silence is an investigative documentary about the abuses female prison officers endure at the hands of their male coworkers, and the institutions that allow these abuses to continue.

“As more American women than ever before choose to work in corrections, they face an additional challenge to their safety: harassment and retaliation from male officers. Code Of Silence tells the story of seven current and former corrections officers who have overcome their fear of reprisal and challenged the system.”

Find out more about the documentary here:

Posted on

High Altitude Ballooning By Michael Mönch

High Altitude Ballooning

Check out this cool high altitude ballooning video from Michael Mönch which uses a weather balloon and 2,000 litres of helium to film a journey up to the outer reaches of the earth’s atmosphere. When the balloon finally bursts due to the low pressure at over 30,000 metres high, a parachute brings the camera safely back to earth and is located via GPS.

My ambient space music track Coronal Mass Ejection is used in the video.