back to article Bot war: Here's how you can theoretically use adversarial AI to evade YouTube's hard-line copyright-detecting AI

YouTube is understood to use machine-learning algorithms to identify copyrighted material in user-uploaded videos, so that, in theory at least, any artists featured are properly compensated for their work. This system works more or less, though it is not without its controversies. Concerns over heavy-handedness and fair use …

  1. johnrobyclayton

    Try this the other way around

    Instead of breaking copyright in the research, get some original content that you own and send that through the neural net to make it trigger a copyright flag.

    A lot more fun as you get to beat up the copyright enforcer instead of getting beat up.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Try this the other way around

      "A lot more fun as you get to beat up the copyright enforcer "

      Nice fantasy, but in real life you don't get to beat up the copyright enforcer. You get stuck in a 'customer service' black hole, your own padded cell lined with posters saying "Computer says NO!".

      Or in other words, Youtube cares if anyone is uploading copyrighted content because they may be legally liable. Youtube aren't in any way obliged to publish anyone's uploaded content, so if some of their algorithms has flagged your original content as copyrighted, they don't give a shit.

      It sucks, but that's the way it is.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Exactly that.

        For a good insight on what happens when YouTube prefers a copyright enforcer, check this out.

        It is simply disgusting what they can do to you, and you don't have any way to retaliate.

      2. DropBear

        Re: Try this the other way around

        Although now I'm wondering if one could legitimately upload one's own, clearly original, you-own-the-copyright content, get it content id protected, then try attacking it by uploading alternate versions that hopefully don't trigger the protection - this way, the whole thing (both original and alternate versions) should be freely presentable at the end. Then again, I have no idea how hard is it to become "content id protected", so that could be unrealistic for research...

        1. The Mole

          Re: Try this the other way around

          Agreed, or for that matter just get permission from a copyright holder and use that.

          Of course all they have proved is a finger print system is only good whilst it can create matching finger prints. Do we even have evidence that YouTube's system is even ML rather than just a clever algorithm of fingerprints? Then they throw 'ML' at the problem rather than manually come up with the algoirthm to distort the audio. It doesn't appear they've even done proper 'learning' of training their algorithm against pass/fails on youtube to identify the smallest set of changes needed.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Try this the other way around

      "A lot more fun as you get to beat up the copyright enforcer instead of getting beat up."

      Why would YouTube build a system where a person can win over a large corporation? They'd get even more hassle from the record companies if that was the case.

      For example, this person had problems where one of their own songs, was consistently mistaken for a completely different song, and so every time they uploaded a video containing it, there would be an automatic copyright claim.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Try this the other way around

      It's already happened numerous times without any need for AI. Psychostick released an original composition on Youtube and it got flagged and claimed as a Lynyrd Skynyrd song.

  2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Some music already sounds like that.

    Pop music released after I turned 30 sounds like that. So does "classical" music by most living composers. And anything I listen to on a very, very cheap DAB radio that I bought from never-mind-where.

    I'm not sure if I have a point.

  3. veti Silver badge

    Internet rules

    "Link or it didn't happen."

    "We can't show you these products because that would be ILLEGAL but we'll show you this one (even though it's just as illegal), sorry it's a bit crap."

    That's some weak sauce, right there. The story reads like a sales pitch aimed at YouTube themselves, which must mean they've already failed to convince them directly.

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    You would have thought that an academic paper qualified as "fair use"

    Overbearing copyright laws and enforcement have caused problems for people demonstrating audio gear on youTube. Its not that the copyright holders would mind a few seconds of a work being played to illustrate a particular feature of a piece of equipment but youTube's heavy handed enforcement means that people these videos can't risk triggering the algorithm so we're all the poorer for it. (A good example is the TechMoan series which highlights all sorts of weird vintage gear -- its often a challenge to find prerecorded material that won't cause the entire video to be taken down.)

    This story isn't really about copyright enforcement but how overzealous algorithms are deployed in order to prevent a profitable business like youTube from being preyed upon by unscrupulous copyright holders and their legal attack dogs. Sites like youTube have to err on the side of caution or they'll be forever defending themselves in court. The solution isn't algorithmic, its legislative, but since government is owned by corporations I don't expect anything to change in the forseeable future.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: You would have thought that an academic paper qualified as "fair use"

      Fair Use dies a number of years ago when they started pulling works that were obvious Fair Use with no means of reprisal, explanation, or at least setting a "we've already looked at this and yes, it's fair use" flag to prevent multiple, unrelated takedown bots from claiming copyright on the exact, same, 29 second clip.

      I posted a stupidly short clip from a movie with a single line in it under Fair Use; the original copyright holder was OK with it, but then it got yanked a second time by some company I'd never heard of for the audio portion of it. WTF?!!?!? I gave up and pulled the video down, and haven't looked back.

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