In a space where no AI law exists yet, YouTube is attempting to create some order.
The company announced on Tuesday that content creators will now be required to label their videos when AI-generated content is used in a realistic way. Including music.
What are YouTube’s new AI rules?
There are a few facets to YouTube’s new guidelines rolling out in coming months and who it impacts.
Starting with the most general rule, all creators will have to flag their own content when uploading to disclose the use of AI-generated content. Particularly in scenarios when the content appears realistic.
YouTube will have an even higher bar when it comes to sensitive and controversial topics like elections, conflicts, and public health crises. In other words, they’re trying to stop deepfakes from taking over the platform.
Although the onus remains on creators to properly disclose, YouTube will have its own verification process to ensure users are following the rules.
We know AI detection tools can be a hit or miss and it’s unclear the process they’ll use to verify compliance.
But creators who are caught constantly skipping this disclosure step might:
- Lose their accounts.
- Get suspended from the YouTube Partner Program (AKA lose out on ad revenue).
- Have their videos removed.
That’s what’s happening on the backend. On the front end, viewers will see a label on the video that says “Altered or synthetic content.”
Now, say you go on YouTube one day and see you’ve been deepfaked (meaning someone has created content designed to look and sound like you), you have some recourse.
You can submit a complaint and request that it be removed. But here’s the kicker, if the video is satire or parody, or YouTube deems that you’re not widely recognizable, they may not take it down.
Now, as for the last piece of the new guidelines, that's all about YouTube's music partners.
Music labels will now be able to request the removal of AI-generated music that mimics artists under contract.
For those in the music industry, this is a win, as it prevents folks from making money from their artists. For those of us who've enjoyed listening to AI cover songs, the fun’s over.
In compliance with the fair use exception under copyright law, YouTube will consider the context of the video before granting the request. Like if the video is for a news report, for example, its usage is allowable under the law.
YouTube says it will provide more details on these guidelines over the next few months before it takes effect.
In the meantime, we can expect the ball to keep rolling with platforms setting parameters around AI use.