Those wanting to learn how many DMCA notices have been sent to Google over the past few years need look no further than the copyright section of its vast and constantly updated Transparency Report.
This colossal database contains information on more than five billion DMCA takedown requests, including who sent them, when, and which platforms were targeted. When coupled with the Lumen Database there are ample opportunities to research the copyright takedown landscape but there is an important omission.
At no point has Google ever published the detailed takedown requests it receives for YouTube. The platform did provide some overall data late last year, revealing that the vast majority of infringements (722 million in the first six months of 2021) were handled via the automated fingerprinting system, Content ID.
Dealing with most claims this way provides efficiency for YouTube but there are times when algorithms get things wrong or complex issues such as determining instances of ‘fair use require input from human beings. To this end, Google/YouTube is now seeking to boost its already massive team.
Copyright Operations Specialist
In a job listing posted a few days ago, Google seeks someone to become a Copyright Operations Specialist at YouTube. This specialist position naturally requires a person with a specific skillset.
Ideally, YouTube is looking for someone with experience of SQL and running a quality assurance program but it’s likely that the successful candidate will have a solid knowledge of relevant copyright law too.
This will allow them to analyze and cite precedents on copyright-ability, handle complex matters relating to United States and international safe harbor compliance, and deal with exceptions to copyright law such as fair use.
Handling ‘High-Risk’ Internal Escalations
“As a Copyright Operations Specialist, you will manage high-risk internal escalations, and design and implement strategies to improve our copyright compliance program,” the listing reads.
“You will resolve legal challenges, scale and streamline complex workflows, provide outstanding customer support, educate internal stakeholders, and improve the YouTube copyright experience for our users.”
The parameters of a ‘high-risk internal escalation’ are not defined in the job listing but it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that some copyright complaints may carry more risk depending on who sent them, what content they cover, and whether they deal with complex and politically-sensitive fair use arguments, for example.
In any event, the successful candidate will be required to carry out a balancing act between obvious legal and regulatory requirements, the needs of YouTube’s users, plus those of YouTube partners and advertisers.
Dealing With ‘Sensitive Entities’
Who or what is covered by the term ‘senstive entities’ isn’t something detailed in the listing but it seems reasonable to conclude that interactions with them might become subject to a ‘high-risk’ escalation.
At least in theory, every copyright complaint should be as important as any other but in a world where many copyrights are held by massively powerful corporations, it would be no surprise to see a prioritization of resources depending on the potential fallout.
Perhaps with this in mind, the listing notes that the successful candidate will also be tasked with handling “appeals of enforcement action from sensitive entities” but YouTube also has an eye on potential copyright abuses too.
In addition to ‘escalated’ takedown requests, it appears that DMCA counter-notifications can also be ‘escalated’, something that brings much-needed checks and balances onto the desk of the inbound Copyright Operations Specialist.