Pirated movies have made a comeback to YouTube over the past year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hundreds of copies of movies from Disney, Sony, MGM and Warner Bros have been uploaded illegally to YouTube, but studios didn’t initially take advantage of the website’s sophisticated Content ID software that identifies and blocks pirated content. The Journal said after it contacted Disney, the studio used Content ID to block some classic animated movies such as Peter Pan, Show White And The Seven Dwarfs and Fantasia that may have been on YouTube for months. Some of the illegally uploaded movies appear with ads, including the 1990 hit Misery. Most of the revenue from ads that appear with movies goes to content owners.
Since it launched Content ID in 2007, the problem had abated somewhat and Google made deals with some studios to host or rent TV or movie content legally. The resurgence of illegal uploads illustrates that it’s a continuing problem even after YouTube took strong steps to curtail the problem. YouTube “invested heavily in copyright and content management tools to give rights holders control of their content on YouTube”, according to a spokeswoman for the site. Although studios had no comment, MPAA spokesman Howard Gantman told the Journal: “We are aware of the issue and are concerned about it. Our member companies have raised the issue with YouTube and hope they will work cooperatively with us to fix it.