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Facebook: AudibleMagic Can’t Prevent Video Piracy, But We’re Using Them Anyway

203559383_2b03cbae88_oFacebook has long had a problem with pirated videos, so much so that it’s received major press coverage and had named Youtubers ranting about the problem.

But don’t worry, FB has a solution. Last week they announced that they were partnering with Audible Magic and were going to implement a content filter to fix the pirated video problem.

For those who are interested, Audible Magic is a sixteen-year-old anti-piracy company. One of the services it offers is a ContentID-like system which matches the audio in uploaded videos against known copyrighted works. It counts Vimeo and Twitch among its customers.

You can read last week’s story on Facebook, WSJ, Techcrunch, or Wired. I don’t think the official story is really all that interesting, but as I was reading it on Techdirt I started wondering what FB wasn’t telling us.

Mike Masnick thoughtfully quoted the one important part of the FB post:

These existing measures work well for many creators, but some publishers with particular needs, including creators whose videos have gone viral, have been asking for more tools.  To this end, we have been building new video matching technology that will be available to a subset of creators. This technology is tailored to our platform, and will allow these creators to identify matches of their videos on Facebook across Pages, profiles, groups, and geographies. Our matching tool will evaluate millions of video uploads quickly and accurately, and when matches are surfaced, publishers will be able to report them to us for removal.

Doesn’t that make you wonder how long FB has been using its current system, and whether that system functions adequately?

I mean, have they had it for days? weeks? years? And does it work?

The answer to those question, apparently, is "years", and "no". That is according to Matt Pakes, a product manager at Facebook. He left a comment on a rant about FB video piracy which said in part that:

Finally, we take intellectual property rights very seriously. We have used the Audible Magic system for years to help prevent unauthorized video content on Facebook. We also provide reporting tools for content owners to report possible copyright infringement.

So Facebook had AudibleMagic in place in May when I reported on the video piracy problem, and they had the system in place this summer, when a study showed that the top 72.5% most viewed videos on Facebook were ripped.

And this is the tech that FB plans to use to build its own ContentID system?


I don’t know about you but I remain unconvinced that Facebook even wants to solve this problem. As Hank Green explained, Facebook has its future pinned on videos. Its set up is so rigged that making the system honest, much less actually fighting the piracy issue, would hit FB in the pocketbook.

And you know what Upton Sinclair said about money, right?

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

That applies to companies as well.

image by makelessnoise


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irish Imbas September 2, 2015 um 4:17 pm

In some respects you could apply this logic to the problem of piracy on Google Play as well, although there at least they finally seem to be making some atteept to address the issue.

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