YouTube Reverses Course On Controversial Swearing and Monetization Policy

YouTube is relaxing some of the profanity rules it introduced late last year — “with an update outlining a less restrictive policy that will allow the use of moderate and strong profanity to be used without risking demonetization,” reports Engadget. From the report: The original policy, first introduced in November, would flag any video that used rude language in the first several seconds as ineligible for advertising, with little delineation between “strong” or “moderate” swearing. The policy also seemed to apply retroactively, with many creators claiming that videos they published before the updated policy had lost their monetization status. Now, YouTube is reversing course with a tweaked set of rules that allows some swearing.

Now, creators who use colorful language in the first seven seconds of a video are still eligible for advertising, with some conditions. If the profanity is “moderate,” the video won’t face any restrictions — but strong profanity in those opening seconds could result in a video only receiving “limited ads.” Under the original rules, the update notes, both of these scenarios would have caused a video to be completely demonetized. Creators will be able swear more frequently after the first seven seconds without fear of losing advertising revenue, though YouTube notes that excessive swearing will still put content at risk of being demonetized or limited. The update also clarifies that strong language in background, outro or intro music should not affect monetization status.

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YouTube Video Causes Pixel Phones To Instantly Reboot

An anonymous reader writes quotes a report from Ars Technica: Did you ever see that movie The Ring? People who watched a cursed, creepy video would all mysteriously die in seven days. Somehow Google seems to have re-created the tech version of that, where the creepy video is this clip of the 1979 movie Alien, and the thing that dies after watching it is a Google Pixel phone. As noted by the user ‘OGPixel5″ on the Google Pixel subreddit, watching this specific clip on a Google Pixel 6, 6a, or Pixel 7 will cause the phone to instantly reboot. Something about the clip is disagreeable to the phone, and it hard-crashes before it can even load a frame. Some users in the thread say cell service wouldn’t work after the reboot, requiring another reboot to get it back up and running.

The leading theory floating around is that something about the format of the video (it’s 4K HDR) is causing the phone to crash. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened to an Android phone. In 2020, there was a cursed wallpaper that would crash a phone when set as the background due to a color space bug. The affected phones all use Google’s Exynos-derived Tensor SoC, so don’t expect non-Google phones to be affected by this. Samsung Exynos phones would be the next most-likely candidates, but we haven’t seen any reports of that. According to CNET, the issue has been addressed and a full fix will be deployed in March.

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Did YouTube Pay Too Much to Broadcast Sunday Football Games?

Subscribers to “NFL Sunday Ticket” can watch broadcasts of every Sunday game of American football. But for access next season, “fans will have to Google it…” warns the Associated Press — because Thursday the football league announced plans to distribute their game package on YouTube TV and YouTube Primetime Channels.
Google beat out both Apple and Amazon by offering over $2 billion a year for 7 years — but Yahoo Finance believes it’s more about drawing attention to YouTube’s streaming TV services. “Don’t expect the package to be profitable, one analyst warned.”

“They’re not making money on this — this is a loss leader,” Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush, told Yahoo Finance Live, referencing YouTube TV’s current price point of $64.99. “I don’t think they make a penny at that level….”

“It’s an extremely expensive package of content,” Tim Nollen, analyst at Macquarie Group, previously told Yahoo Finance Live, noting the Sunday Ticket package was not a profitable service for DirecTV [which since 1994 has held the exclusive broadcast rights in the U.S.]

[…] YouTube TV has more than 5 million subscribers and trial users as of July. “Five million subscribers is just not enough,” Pachter stressed. “Even if all 5 million pay the $400 bucks a year…they’re going to barely cover their costs.” Still, despite the lack of profitability and sky-high price tag, Pachter noted YouTube might be best positioned to take advantage of the package, especially as the demand for live sports escalates. “I think they can be smart about how they carve up the content,” Pachter said, suggesting the platform could more easily sell games to bars and restaurants.

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Thieves Stole $23 Million in One of the Largest YouTube Royalties Scams Ever

“Need an easy way to make $23 million?” asks Mashable.
“Have you ever considered just claiming music others uploaded to YouTube as your own and collecting the royalties?

That’s basically all two Phoenix men did to swindle Latin music artists like Daddy Yankee and Julio Iglesias out of millions of dollars in royalties, as detailed in a new piece from Billboard last week.

According to Kristin Robinson of Billboard, Jose “Chenel” Medina Teran and Webster Batista set up a media company called MediaMuv and claimed to own the rights to various Latin music songs and compositions. In total, MediaMuv claimed to own more than 50,000 copyrights since 2017, when Teran and Batista began their scheme.

In order for MediaMuv to claim these copyrights and collect royalties through YouTube’s Content ID system, the fraudulent company needed to partner with AdRev, a third-party company that has access to YouTube’s CMS and Content ID tools and helps artists manage their digital copyrights. MediaMuv created a few fake documents and provided AdRev with this paperwork in order to prove ownership over the music it claimed. From there, AdRev not only helped MediaMuv collect royalties for those copyrights but also provided Terana and Batista with direct access to YouTube’s CMS so they could claim copyrights on its own.

Teran and Batista’s four-year-long royalties heist came to an end late last year following an investigation from the IRS. According to Billboard, the two were indicted on “30 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.”

Mashable calls it “a huge reminder that online copyright is deeply flawed…”

“[J]ust think about how many more careful scammers are still skimming royalties off of an untold number of artists.”

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YouTube Ad Revenue Tops $8.6 Billion, Beating Netflix In the Quarter

YouTube topped Netflix in terms of quarterly revenue, with the Google-owned video platform delivering $8.6 billion in advertising revenue in Q4, the company said Tuesday. The Hollywood Reporter reports: For fiscal 2021, YouTube delivered $28.8 billion in advertising revenue. In the same quarter a year earlier, YouTube delivered $6.9 billion in advertising revenue, underscoring the continued explosive growth of the platform. For comparison, Netflix delivered $7.7 billion in revenue in Q4 in 2021, compared to $6.6 billion a year earlier. Overall, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported $75.3 billion in revenue for the quarter, and $257.6 billion for the year, with Google search advertising still making up the lions share of revenue.

With regard to YouTube, the executives cited commerce as a potential growth area for YouTube, with CEO Sundar Pichai calling it “a whole other layer of opportunity.” “Podcasts, gaming, learning, sports, across all of these areas we will take a vertical specific look and find out how we can support creators better,” he said. “While pretty early, there is a lot of pilots under way,” he added, noting that they were “super early” into testing how shopping could be baked into YouTube Shorts, its TikTok-esque shorts platform, which Pichai said now has more than 5 trillion views. The executives also called out YouTube’s connected TV opportunity.

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