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YouTube Content ID – Reference Overlaps

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YouTube Content ID – Reference Overlaps




It is important to point out that reference overlaps are different issues than ownership issues.  If you are unsure if your issue is a reference issue or an ownership issue, scroll down to the section where we explain the differences. 




What is a reference overlap?


A reference overlap occurs because YouTube can’t see any difference between part/all of your sound recording and someone else’s sound recording. 



What is a reference file? 



In order to claim your music in videos uploaded to YouTube by other parties, YouTube needs to create an audio fingerprint reference file. When you distribute your music to YouTube Content ID (YouTube CID), the result is the creation of this reference file (as well as the indication of where and how to monetize matching videos). 



Examples of a reference overlap



  • CASE A: Your reference file is not 100% original. For example: 


    • Sampled content, regardless of whether you have a license or not
    • Content licensed non-exclusively from a third party
    • Content released under Creative Commons or similar free/open licenses
    • Public domain footage, recordings, or compositions
    • Clips from other sources used under fair use principles
    • Video gameplay footage (by other than the game’s publisher)




  • CASE B: Your reference file is not distinct enough. For example: 


    • `Covers that sound too much like the original (Shazam the track to see if Shazam recognizes your cover or the original)
    • Street sounds or birds chirping — sounds that are common in everyday life
    • Karaoke recordings, remasters, and some dubbed content
    • Sound effects, sounds, or production loops



  • CASE C: YouTube has more than 1 copy of your reference file AND the other reference file is owned by someone else. (If the other file is owned by you, then YouTube will simply merge the 2 files and consider that there is only 1 reference file — and no reference overlap will be created).




What do you need to do to resolve the YouTube reference overlap issue? 



When YouTube indicates that you have a reference overlap, they are basically saying: some part (1% – 100%) of your sound recording sounds EXACTLY like another sound recording in the Content ID system; what should we do when we detect that sound in a video? Which reference file should we use to determine who owns that sound segment?



  • If you ASSERT the reference overlap you are saying: 


    • The sound segment is 100% original to me (or a licensor I represent)
    • The sound segment is unique/distinct enough
    • I, therefore, want to exclude the other reference file from being used to claim videos where that sound segment appears.



  • If you EXCLUDE the reference overlap you are saying: 


    • The sound segment is not original to me; my sound recording is using someone else’s sound segment
    • The sound segment is not unique/distinct enough
    • YouTube should not use the overlapping segment to claim/track videos; it should only use the rest of my reference file to claim a portion of the video (or track the video’s views).


Examples of how reference overlaps and conflict ownerships are different: 



  • The overlap may occur between 2 sound recordings where you are the owner of both!


  • When you exclude a reference overlap, you are not releasing your ownership of the sound recording that you uploaded (unless the reference overlap is on 100% of your sound recording). If the overlap is not on 100% of the sound recording, then YouTube will continue to claim/track the portion of videos corresponding to your remaining reference.




Understanding the information YouTube provided you with before deciding what to do: 



The first thing to do is to look at the Overlapping Asset Name (the name of the other asset that overlaps with yours). Note that your reference file can overlap with multiple other assets (reference files). 




  1. If it’s a different name than YOUR asset, then maybe:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
    • Someone is using a sample from your sound recording. In that case, ASSERT (and if you don’t feel like it’s a legitimate/licensed sample, then contact us so we can notify the other party).
    • Your sound recording is using someone else’s sound segment. In that case, EXCLUDE.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  2. If it’s the same/similar name to YOUR asset, then maybe:                                                                                                                                                                                                             
    • Someone has fraudulently uploaded your sound recording. In that case, ASSERT and ask us to contact the other party.
    • Or you (or your rights holder) previously used another company to manage this asset on Content ID and the other company didn’t take down the asset yet. In that case, ASSERT and also contact the other company to request that they take down your asset. Contacting the other company is very important because otherwise, your assertion will fail. The reason is that when 2 parties claim the same reference, YouTube will attribute the reference to the party which uploaded the sound recording first.
    • Or perhaps you want the other company to manage your Content ID and not us. In that case, EXCLUDE and you should issue a takedown of your UPC from Content ID. If the UPC has other tracks that you want us to continue to manage on Content ID, then contact us to have us deactivate only the reference file for the track in question.
    • Or maybe you uploaded a medley and your overlap is with the single track. In that case, EXCLUDE the overlapping segment of your medley.