It turns out that copyright infringement on YouTube can sometimes prove to be a blessing in disguise for music companies. Here’s an interesting example of how music owners are profiting from illegally uploaded videos on YouTube.

How YouTube handles Copyright Infringement

When you upload a video to YouTube, it is automatically scanned through an identification tool to ensure that the video, or even the audio portion of the video, doesn’t infringe someone else’s copyright.

If the YouTube software determines that the uploaded video may be containing copyrighted content, it won’t immediately take down the video but will let the copyright owner decide the fate of the video. The owner may either ask YouTube to permanently remove the clip (DMCA) or they may use the monetization option where YouTube will run ads alongside the video.

How Sony ‘Cashed In’ on a Wedding Video

When a couple uploaded their wedding ceremony video to YouTube, never would they have imagined that their dance routine would go on to become one of the most popular videos on the web grossing over 51 million hits.

There was a small problem though. The background music that was used in the wedding video was copyrighted to Sony Music and therefore Sony had an option early on to get that video removed from the YouTube website.

Sony however chose the second option (monetization) and added affiliate advertising to the video allowing YouTube viewers to purchase that song directly from the iTunes store. As soon as they did this, that 18-month old song went back to #4 on the iTunes chart. The video creators got tons of publicity but no share in the revenue.

This interesting case was revealed by YouTube’s Margaret Stewart at a TED event.

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