Unauthorised content constitutes only a small fraction of the most viewed videos on youtube

MUMBAI: This is a piece of news that should be interesting for US media owners crying themselves hoarse over Youtube‘s copyright infringing material.

A study conducted by online video viewership metrics service Vidmeter shows that unauthorised copyright videos make up a relatively small portion of YouTube’s most popular videos and an even smaller portion of views to YouTube’s most popular videos.


The report analyses the number and viewership of videos uploaded and subsequently removed from at the request of major English-language copyright holders in the previous three months. The purpose of this report is to provide a fact-based representation of the popularity of unauthorised copyrighted videos on YouTube as well as the relative popularity of each copyright owner’s videos.

Videos removed at the request of copyright owners accounted for only nine per cent of total YouTube videos. Removed videos accounted for only six per cent of the total YouTube video views. This finding is the opposite of consensus, which assumes that Big Media videos account for a small percentage of total videos, but a large percentage of views.


Viacom had demanded YouTube to take down 100,000 copyrighted clips, and later claimed 160,000 clips seen 1.5 billion times had been pirated when it sued Google for more than $1 billion dollars. According to Vidmeter, just 72 of Viacom’s taken down clips had made it to the most-viewed videos list — 1.07 per cent of the top videos accounting for 2.37 per cent of views. The most-affected copyright holder was Time Warner, with 93 clips.

Of the removed videos, Viacom‘s accounted for the largest share of views (two per cent of total YouTube views), and the second-largest share of videos (one per cent). Time Warner topped the latter category, also with one per cent.
Most of the videos removed (for Viacom and other Big Media companies) were music videos.

This contradicts assumptions that they are Daily Show, Colbert, etc. Disney‘s most-viewed removed video, with 430,000 views, was "USC Cheerleader extreme wedgie."

While the study did find a fair number of blatantly pirated full-length clips from television shows and movies, the bulk of views to removed videos consisted of music videos and short clips from comedy sketches and unique sporting events.

The report notes that the reason blatantly pirated full-length clips are not relatively popular may be that such videos are more diligently removed and thus do not have enough time to accumulate a critical amount of views. If this were the case, it may be argued that there is a demand for such content on YouTube, but it would still remain true that, in its current state, such content counts for only a very small fraction of YouTube’s popular video views.


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