Q&A: Our New Content Identification System

Q&A: Our New Content Identification System

Starting in the last few weeks we’ve turned on an automatic content identification system, similar to those used on other major media sharing sites. The system is used primarily for identifying audio that rightsholders have requested to be taken off SoundCloud. This is good news because it makes it easier for artists, labels and other content owners to control how the content they’ve created is available. And when you upload your own audio to SoundCloud, we can find out more quickly if somebody is uploading a copy to their own page without your permission.

For the vast majority of SoundCloud users, there won’t be any changes. You can keep on creating, recording and uploading original content (and any audio that you have the rights to upload) without any interruption. But we’ve already received some questions about this, so we wanted to give everyone the heads up.

In cases where users upload audio that is owned by rightsholders who have requested a takedown, we are hiding the upload entirely and sending an e-mail to explain the situation and give the user options for next steps. The e-mail will usually contain information about the rightsholder, which is in most cases a record label or publishing company. If you receive one of these e-mails and feel that the upload was flagged in error, because you actually have permission to upload the audio, there’s a simple dispute process. We’ll review the dispute, unhide the upload, and it will appear in your profile again with all stats and comments intact.

Here are some quick answers to some of the more frequently asked questions we’ve gotten since we’ve started rolling this out:

Why are you doing this now?
SoundCloud has always taken seriously our responsibility to act upon requests from rightsholders who believe that their audio has been uploaded by someone without their permission. Implementing this technology helps us to do this more effectively. And that in turn means that we can continue to focus all our efforts on serving over 2 million users who want to share the audio they have created.

Is this a policy change?
No, this is not a change in policy. Our Terms of Use state that SoundCloud reserves the right to remove audio that is deemed to possibly violate anyone’s rights. Users and content owners can still report tracks using the “!” button on the right hand side of track pages, and this technology allows us to preempt any audio that potentially infringes our Terms of Use. Hopefully these steps reduce any frustration later on for users.

What about tracks I bought legally?
Purchased tracks, whether on CD or online, usually don’t come with the rights to distribute that track with it. That means that even legally purchased tracks can be taken down if we receive a claim from the rightsholder. If you have secured the permission to upload and distribute the track, please let us know through the disputes channel!

Did you guys receive my dispute? What’s the status?
We look at each dispute manually so they aren’t resolved immediately. However our Community team will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible to minimize any interruptions to normal service. You can always check on the status of your disputes at http://soundcloud.com/settings/disputes.

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