Facebook just released a new set of tools to help decrease the amount of video “freebooting” happening on the social network.
Freebooting refers to the act of downloading someone else’s copyright-protected material, often from YouTube, and uploading it into Facebook’s native video player.
Since Facebook started becoming a digital video powerhouse, creators have criticised the company for allowing stolen content to flourish on its site. YouTube creator Hank Green was one of the most vocal critics of Facebook’s freebooting problem, penning a scathing post titled “Theft, lies, and Facebook video” and an animated video on how Facebook is “stealing billions of views” went viral last year, too.
Facebook’s new Rights Manager is a step forward from what it previously tested with a small subset of creators, and it lets publishers “easily upload and maintain a reference library of the video content they want to monitor and protect,” including videos that are not shared on Facebook.
Rights Manager’s dashboard shows new content matches, which creators can then report for potential copyright infringement, and creators can also create rules about how their individual videos may be used, based on criteria like how much content has been reused or how many views the matching video has received.
YouTube has long dealt with stolen content via Content ID, software that monitors all uploads against a database of registered intellectual property and will either remove the content or let the original creator collect ad dollars from it.
This new tool comes at a crucial time for Facebook, which just launched a new video discovery hub as part of its focus on live video.
Facebook says that live video streams are checked against files in the Rights Manager reference library, too, and it will interrupt a live video if a match surfaces.
Right now, Facebook doesn’t have pre-roll ads in front of its videos, like YouTube does, but as it moves towards raking in video advertising, it needs to get its freebooting problem under control, to avoid rewarding content thieves with ad revenue.