Will YouTube's 'Copyright School' Do Its Job?

Lora Bentley

In revising its copyright policy, YouTube has devised a means by which users whose accounts have been suspended for illegally uploading copyrighted material may be able to have those accounts restored. It starts with copyright school. And even though one of my colleagues suggests it sounds like torture, I don't think it's as mind-numbing as it could be.


The New York Times reports YouTube's Copyright School consists of a four-minute animated video (hosted by Russell the Pirate, of course) followed by a series of multiple-choice questions on copyright laws. Upon successful completion of the program, as well as a "demonstrated record of good behavior over time," the company says select users may be allowed to return to the site. (It isn't yet clear how the company will decide which users get a second chance and which users are just out of luck, but we'll get to that later.)


In a blog post explaining the changes, which are effective immediately, the company said that its previous "one-size-fits-all approach" of suspending any user who violated YouTube copyright policy three times "did not always lead to the right result."


That may be true, but I have to wonder how much of a deterrent Russell and his copyright school will ever be.

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