YouTube Automatically Blocks MIT Courses … And Blender Videos?

Kyle Perisic | Contributor

YouTube’s content filtering software is accidentally blocking some education- and software-related videos automatically and some channels have lost all of their content.

The content filter, called Content ID, is used to protect artists from YouTube channels copying their work and profiting off of it, but it appears to have backfired.

One channel, Blender Foundation, describes itself as “the free and open source 3D creation suite.” Another channel is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare channel, which says it publishes MIT educational videos “covering the entire MIT curriculum, ranging from the introductory to the most advanced graduate courses.”

Both lost all their videos, TorrentFreak reported Monday.

“You may have noticed that we are having some trouble with our videos! Please stand by. The elves are working around the clock to fix the issue,” MIT’s channel wrote on Twitter.

“Videos on a limited number of sites have been blocked as we updated our partner agreements. We are working with MITOpenCourseWare and Blender Foundation to get their videos back online,” YouTube said in a statement to TorrentFreak.

Blender’s channel, which boasted nearly 32 million views at the time of publication, has 197 thousand subscribers. MIT’s had over 138 million views and 1.5 million subscribers.

YouTube screenshot of Blender Foundation's page. June 19, 2018. (Image: YouTube screenshot)

YouTube screenshot of Blender Foundation’s page, taken June 19, 2018. The same appears on MIT’s  OpenCourseWare channel. (Image: YouTube screenshot)

YouTube has had troubles with content filtering in the past. It has blocked videos of birds chirping and musicians’ white noise videos.

Content filtering is currently being debated in the European Union and it’s voting on June 20 and 21 on a bill that would require Internet content creators to include an automatic content filter much like the one YouTube uses.

Save Your Internet, a digital right coalition that includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says that the EU’s Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on Copyright in the Digital Market would “destroy the Internet as we know it.”

The EU’s proposal would, among other things, effectively make memes illegal and would force a tax on simply linking to other websites, according to Save Your Internet.

Other features YouTube uses manually restrict videos. A review of a fast food product was manually flagged for being “offensive.”

The channel, The Report Of The Week, said in a tweet on June 2 that his video was “manually reviewed and flagged” and placed in limited state. He was told that he wasn’t able to appeal the decision, but the video was eventually returned to its normal unrestricted mode. (RELATED: YouTube Restricts ‘Offensive’ Fast Food Review)

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