Home » Audiobooks, Copyright/Intellectual Property » Who’s Making Money from Pirated Audiobooks on YouTube?

Who’s Making Money from Pirated Audiobooks on YouTube?

19 February 2016

From Readers Entertainment:

Pirating books is a practice that has been around for years.  Someone copies a book and uploads it to a sharing site for others to download for free or for a cost.  It is a constant battle that authors and publishers face as a part of doing business.

Recently, I was searching YouTube for a book trailer, but what I found was an audiobook.  Someone had recorded the audiobook and put it up on YouTube to share.  So, I started looking into how many audiobooks were on YouTube and was surprised at how many I found there.  And though I can’t say it surprised me that people were pirating audiobooks, what did intrigue me was that the audiobook videos on YouTube had ads on them.

Why is this so intriguing?  Because of my extensive experience with YouTube videos, I knew that Google, who owns YouTube, has a policy in place for copyrighted material.  When material is discovered to be copyrighted, Google contacts the copyright owner and asks gives them a choice.

  1. To remove the material entirely.
  2. To allow ads against the material with revenue share. Meaning YouTube and the copyright owner make money off the ads.

If the copyright owner allows advertisements to appear on or next to the material they get a percentage of the revenue brought in by those ads.

I contacted Google/YouTube to ask them about the audiobooks I found and the ads on them.  I was contacted by Stephanie Shih of Google who send me what she called “Background information” on how things work regarding copyright infringement and how it is handled.

She confirmed their policy to give copyright holders the option to have the material deleted or monetized.  According to her information as of October 2014 YouTube has paid out of $1 Billion to rightsholders who have chosen to monetize claims since Content ID first launched in 2007.

Link to the rest at Readers Entertainment and thanks to Suzan for the tip.

Audiobooks, Copyright/Intellectual Property

6 Comments to “Who’s Making Money from Pirated Audiobooks on YouTube?”

  1. Might as well cut out the pirate/middleman and just post my audiobook myself and put ads on it. At least I retain more control that way.

    • I did this, sort of. I created You Tube vids using the covers and samples of my audiobooks. I have no idea how many people listen and then click. I don’t really monitor the channel any more.

    • This seems like a good idea. Off-hand, I’m not seeing a way this could go wrong (other than pirating). Would you serialize the audio? I don’t listen to audio books so I’m not familiar with the audience expectations. If you had subscribers to the channel that would be an easy way to begin a mailing list, I think.

  2. I am a guilty listener of some audio books on Youtube.

    Anyway, I’ve always wondered at how some audio books show up for a year or more and are not taken down while others disappear within days. Now I know… some are left up to generate revenue.

  3. I am a guilty listener of some audio books on Youtube.

    Anyway, I’ve always wondered at how some audio books show up for a year or more and are not taken down while others disappear within days. Now I know… some are left up to generate revenue.

  4. The audios that go up illegally while all audio rights are legally held by the creator of the audio [and sometimes a group and publisher also] are not known about because thieves dont announce they are going to take others’ works behind their backs without notice, then consciously use others’ works, monetizing them or not, but in any case, carrying the phantasie, it seems, they ought be entitled to take what is not theirs, that is the right of broadcast, digital rights, streaming, video, online etc rights… and….using their time to post their ‘swag’ on youtube, getting a thrill in their poddies from seeing that other people listen to their pirated goods, as the numbers of people who listened is right on the face of the page. That’s how/why authors of spoken word who would like to keep their rights and use them as they wish, are taken down the pike.

    YouTube does have an audiowatch, but not sure how it works. Something like maybe publisher/author gives a sample of their audio[s] and if there’s a match even on fragments of the original audio, and it was not put up on yt by the person[s] holding the rights, it comes down, without comment. As I understand it, yt has a policy of banning those who bring the creative works of others to its channels without clear permissions from the creators of such, or the rights holders of such.

    For myself and our crew here, we try to buy what we need, like to read, listen to,and we try to buy new. For this reason: We know that that small royalties add up, and we’d like those artists, spoken word people, authors to have the means to keep creating. We’ve read many of the people here at PV who have written great and interesting books. Most all are likely on pirate sites. We prefer to pay the artist. In any sense, there is no peaceable choice for us to choose to do otherwise. Just my .02 only.

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