Today Vimeo is introducing a new system called Copyright Match that will help them ensure that the videos on their platform follow our Community Guidelines when it comes to respecting the copyrights of other artists and creators.
Why this? Why now?
The first rule of Vimeo has always been: upload only your own videos. Vimeo is a home for original work — not for rips of movies, TV shows, music videos, and sports broadcasts.They encourage creativity and innovation, and Vimeo always want to respect everyone who expresses themselves artistically.
Over the last nine years, Vimeo has grown into one of the most visited video destinations in the world.Theye now have more than 26 million registered members, with over 170 million people swinging by monthly to watch awesome videos. At this size, they need a semi-automated system to help them enforce those beloved guidelines.
And so Copyright Match is a technical solution to an issue that affects many content-sharing services. Namely: Vimeo want people to be able to express themselves in the ways they see fit, but we also want to respect the boundaries of copyright law and the rights of other creators.
The launch of Vimeo On Demand, our open platform that enables creators to distribute their work worldwide, makes it all the more important for us to ensure that proper permissions have been obtained before the work is made available for purchase.
Striking the right balance
Similar copyright-detecting systems are already in place on other video and audio-sharing platforms, but they’ve proven to be double-edged swords.
On the one hand, these systems help protect artists by cutting down on infringing uses of their works. Which is a good thing! On the other hand, the systems can stifle creativity by blocking material that’s being used with permission or that qualifies as a “fair use” under copyright law.
Vimeo cherishes creative expression and artistic freedom above all, so we put a lot of time and effort into making Copyright Match simple and friendly to creators, as well as into mitigating many of the issues common to other copyright-detecting systems.
How Copyright Match works
When you upload a video to Vimeo, Copyright Match “fingerprints” a sample of its audio to see if it matches that of certain third-party copyrighted material, such as songs, movies, and TV shows.
If we find a match, we’ll present you with a few simple options. If you believe your video follows our guidelines, you can quickly and easily appeal the match by providing Vimeo’s moderators with more information. You can tell us that you’re using the material with permission, that your use of the material is protected by “fair use” (more on that below), or that our Copyright Match system made a mistake.
You also have the option to replace the video file, delete the video, or, in the case where a music match is detected, swap the audio with a track from the Vimeo Music Store. (By the way, we’re working to expand our library of licensable music, so stay tuned. Pun completely intended.)
Fingerprinting technology & privacy
To implement Copyright Match, we partnered with Audible Magic, a leading provider of content identification services.
We do not provide any of your personal information, or your videos, to Audible Magic. Rather, we take an audio “fingerprint” of a sample of your video and pass along a digital file containing that fingerprint. Audible Magic then returns the results to us: whether or not there’s a potential match, and, if there is a match, the name of the copyrighted work in question. (This all happens in a matter of seconds, by the way.)
During this brisk exchange, neither Vimeo nor Audible Magic shares information about any match with a copyright holder. However, if you file an appeal regarding your use of a copyrighted work, we reserve the right to share some of the information from your appeal for purposes relating to rights enforcement.
More about fair use
You can re-use third-party copyrighted material in your own work when you have obtained full legal permission and when your use is covered by the “fair use” provision of copyright law.
Unfortunately, the law doesn’t provide a clear-cut formula for fair use. Instead, it turns on a case-by-case application of four factors, which may be weighted differently depending on the facts.
To help our creators navigate these sometimes confusing concepts, we’ve added resources to our Help Center devoted to fair use, so you can make an informed determination about whether your work might be protected.
Keep in mind that Vimeo can’t tell you for sure whether your work would qualify as fair use. You must make that determination for yourself and at your own risk. However, we will do our best to help you understand the four factors, and if you can present a strong case for fair use protection, you’ll be better protected from claims of copyright infringement and have a stronger case for appeal.
We’ve got your back
In addition to our fair use resources, you’ll find answers to many questions about Copyright Match and other fun topics in our new and improved Legal FAQs:
If you have any suggestions for how we can improve or expand these resources, we’d love to hear from you. Simply click the “Was this helpful?” button under any FAQ to rate the question and leave your feedback.
And if one of your videos gets flagged by Copyright Match, don’t panic! You’ll receive an email with easy instructions to follow. If you’re not sure how to proceed, we’ve got your back: Simply reply to the email and a member of the Vimeo Community Team will get back to you ASAP.
Thanks for helping us maintain a community where creative expression thrives and the rights of all creators are respected!