Copyright violations have become a major problem on YouTube and Google recently announced a change in policy toward accounts that receive copyright notices. The change in enforcement comes after growing complaints from Congress and the entertainment industry that Youtube is not actively fighting copyright infringement.
The new policy requires those in violation of a copyright to attend "Youtube Copyright School" which consists of watching an educational video and passing a quiz in order to prove a clear understanding of the policies. Google is also utilizing a three-strike policy and will suspend user accounts that have violated the policies three or more times. In some cases, users may have a strike removed from their
account if they have completed the copyright school and have a general history of following the rules.
Additionally, Youtube has a redesigned help center for users that are unsure of whether or not they are in violation of a copyright. The help center features educational videos, detailed copyright policies, and an FAQ page to help answer any questions users may have. The timing of these policy changes is probably no coincidence; Google has recently been criticized for failing to penalize websites who reproduce copyrighted material. Entertainment conglomerate Viacom even sued Google for $1 billion over copyright issues (the suit was effectively ended when a summary judgment was awarded in Google's favor).
It will be interesting to follow the changes as Google attempts to address complaints from content owners and maintain their dominance over other search engines.