When people are uploading hundreds of years worth of videos to your site every day, it is physically impossible for an actual human to check every single video for copyrighted material. Google, being Google, created a software solution for dealing with this problem. That’s Content ID. It scans every video that’s uploaded and compares the content (audio and video) to its vast array of reference files. These are original video and audio recordings of everything from SNL sketches to Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP album to C-SPAN broadcasts.
Assets are a big part of Content ID. What is an asset? YouTube describes an asset as the sum of these four elements:
1. the reference material itself (the actual song or video clip)
2. the metadata that describes what the reference material is
3. ownership information (because people’s ownership rights vary depending on geography, and content can have multiple owners)
4. the match policy related to the material (which is a description of what the asset owner wants Content ID to do if it does find a match)
It’s a little abstract, but stick with me here.
So if you upload a video that uses Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be A Lady” in the background, YouTube has a reference file for this asset somewhere in its Content ID database. It’ll identify this music, and notify the content owner. Because you (probably) don’t have the license to sync “Luck Be A Lady” with your video, the content owner has a claim on that particular asset. They will then have the option to block the video, track its progress, or run their own ads against your video.
However, if you purchase a music license from Muserk, you have the right to sync that music with your video production. So no one will make a claim against your video for your audio asset. (However, if you upload the last episode of Game of Thrones and put one of our tracks behind it, HBO can still make a claim on your video.)
I hope this helps clarify things – long story short, there are some crazy Google ninja robots watching for copyrighted material at all times. It pays to make sure that you own all the assets in all the videos that you upload.