Facebook lets content owners claim ad earnings of pirated videos

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Facebook finally has a better solution to freebooting — the common practice of stealing video and uploading it to one’s Facebook Page to reap the engagement and audience growth. Today’s update to the Facebook Rights Manager tool that launched last year includes the new option to “claim ad earnings” on other people’s uploads of a video you own. This way if an infringing video includes a new mid-roll ad break Facebook is testing, the revenue will be sent to the content’s owner instead of the uploader who stole it.

And now instead of manually reviewing all pirated content instances, rights owners can set automated rules for whether infringing uploads should instantly be blocked, allowed but the viewing metrics shown to the owner, allowed with the owner claiming the ad earnings or sent to manual review.

The “claim ad earnings” option puts Facebook Rights Manager closer to feature parity with the industry standard, YouTube’s Content ID. When Facebook launched Rights Manager last year, TechCrunch noted this feature was the one big thing it was lacking.

Previously, the only course of action for rights holders was to allow or block and take down infringing videos. Both removed the opportunity for content owners and pirates to share in the benefits of compelling content — the owner getting the money and the pirate getting the engagement.

Rights Manager works by having content owners upload original versions of videos to be indexed. It can then detect when the same video or a portion of it is uploaded by someone else.

For now, the amount of revenue original rights holders will be able to collect may be small because the mid-roll ad breaks aren’t fully rolled out yet and are only available to a closed set of beta testers. They let content owners choose when to insert a 15 to 20-second ad into their video at least 20 seconds in and at least two minutes apart. Facebook shares 55 percent of the revenue from these ad breaks with the uploader, unless those ad earnings are claimed by someone else through Rights Manager.

This newfound financial protection and incentive could lure more premium video content owners to Facebook and its massive audience of 1.8 billion users.