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Facebook launches video Rights Manager to combat freebooting

TechCrunch TechCrunch 12/04/2016 Josh Constine

There’s an epidemic of stolen videos on Facebook. Business Pages rip videos from YouTube, TV, or other Pages, and then post them on Facebook as their own to gain more engagement and fans. This is known as “freebooting”. Video makers were pissed off about it because they were losing video views to others who didn’t have permission to use their clips.

Slate sounded the alarm about the problem in July, and in August, Facebook announced it would soon start testing a tool to help stop freebooting.

Today it officially launched Rights Manager, its version of YouTube’s Content ID. It’s an admin tool for Pages that lets them upload video clips they don’t want others using. Facebook then monitors for copies of these videos to be posted to Facebook, and can then either automatically report them as violations to be deleted, or notify the original publisher.

Rights Manager offers a ton of flexibility for content owners. They can choose different actions based on how much of a video was copied, what Page posted it, or how many views its gotten, and sort alerts about freebooting by these parameters too. Publishers can set up whitelists of Pages that are allowed to distribute their videos, and upload unpublished videos they don’t want anyone else using even if they haven’t posted them themselves.

Live Videos can even be monitored, which could help prevent people from rebroadcasting pay-per-view TV content like boxing matches — an issue that turned some of the video industry against Twitter’s Periscope.

All of these options can be controlled through the Rights Manager dashboard, or through a new Rights Manager API for big media companies with tons of content to protect.

One major feature that’s missing is the ability for content owners to leave freebooted videos up but earn the money off of them, which YouTube’s Content ID permits. That’s because Facebook officially offer a revenue sharing option for most video makers.

However, Facebook is testing a monetization model with some original content creators where if someone watches their videos and then video ads that are suggested afterwards, Facebook splits the ad revenue with them. Content owners might want to be able to hijack that revenue share if someone freeboots their video rather than getting it removed.

Facebook’s long been seen as soft on content rights. In fact, CNBC says that’s why the NFL chose to sell rights to stream football games to Twitter instead of Facebook.

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