Copyright violators not the biggest traffic drivers on YouTube

I’ve said for a long time that people who dismiss YouTube as just a big compilation of stolen content sell short the site and miss the real lesson of the revolution.

Now there’s a study that says copyrighted material makes up only a fraction of the content of the site and a small percentage of the overall video views.

Vidmeter, which tracks the online video business, determined that the clips that were removed for copyright violations — most of them copyrighted by big media companies — comprise just 9 percent of all videos on the site. Even more surprising, the videos that have been removed make up just 6 percent of the total views (

There is criticism of the study.

But the consensus might not have been so far off after all, writes Adario Strange on the Epicenter blog at Wired News ( The study is flawed because it examined only those videos that YouTube removed after receiving a complaint from a copyright holder, he writes. It “fails to take into account the vast number of copyrighted videos that slip under the radar daily, existing on YouTube sometimes for months before any removal request is made.�

I would counter that to anybody who has given YouTube more than a cursory glance would find some validity in vidmeter’s claims.

From a newspaper video perspective, this issue is relevant because what is actually popular on YouTube (as opposed to the myth) is a good barometer of the kind, style and voice of the video we should be producing.

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3 thoughts on “Copyright violators not the biggest traffic drivers on YouTube

  1. I don’t even know that the study is worth talking about since it’s so obviously flawed.

    If anything, the point of this study is that at least nearly 10 percent of YouTube’s content is stolen. That’s a pretty big problem, and it puts at risk all of the true user-owner, user-submitted content that you’re so impressed with.

  2. I’m not so sure it’s obviously flawed.

    I think it obviously debunks the notion that YT is nothing but stolen content.

    Of course, it doesn’t define what “stolen content” is, what a copyright violation is. If you subtracted all the fair use content removed, then there was even less content in violation of copyright.

    And I’m not sure the so-called stolen content puts YT at risk, because I’m not sure Viacom and others have a leg to stand on.

    As for the UGC: And you’re not impressed with it?

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