After facing increasing scrutiny and controversy, YouTube has announced that it will institute strict content guidelines for AI-generated deepfakes, particularly in relation to the platform’s music industry partners. The company provided clarification in a recent blog post, outlining the rigorous standards that will be implemented to safeguard the interests of the music industry while also providing a looser set of guidelines for all other content creators.
Under the new rules, creators will be required to label “realistic” AI-generated content when uploading videos. This disclosure requirement is especially vital for sensitive topics such as elections or ongoing conflicts. The labels will appear in video descriptions and on top of the videos themselves for sensitive material. Although YouTube has not yet defined what it considers to be “realistic” AI-generated content, the company plans to provide more detailed guidance with examples when the disclosure requirement is implemented next year. Non-compliance with accurate labeling could result in penalties, including takedowns and demonetization.
YouTube also stated that they are investing in tools to help detect and determine whether creators have fulfilled their disclosure requirements for synthetic or altered content. However, the accuracy and efficacy of these tools are yet to be seen, as existing detection tools have had poor track records.
Moreover, YouTube will allow individuals to request the removal of videos that feature simulated identifiable individuals, including their face or voice, using the existing privacy request form. The company will evaluate these requests based on various factors, including whether the content is parody or satire and the notability of the individual involved.
Additionally, for AI-generated music content from YouTube’s music industry partners that mimics an artist’s unique voice, such as creating new songs using the voices of deceased artists, there will be no exceptions for parody and satire. Universal Music Group, for instance, may decide to pursue takedowns of such content. However, YouTube stated that content that is the subject of news reporting, analysis, or critique of the synthetic vocals may be granted an exception, similar to the fair use defense in copyright law.
YouTube is facing increasing complexities and legal challenges in regulating AI-generated content, especially considering the absence of a legal framework for copyright law in the generative AI era. The music industry’s influence, along with the platforms’ need for licenses to host music content, has put YouTube in a difficult position. On one hand, YouTube has made special agreements with the music industry, while on the other hand, it has not extended the same protections to other content creators. This has raised questions about the platform’s preferential treatment of the music industry and its creators.
In conclusion, YouTube’s decision to implement distinct content guidelines for AI-generated deepfakes signifies a significant step in regulating this evolving technology. However, it also presents numerous legal and ethical challenges. As the platform continues to navigate these complexities, it will be crucial to ensure transparency and fairness in its enforcement of the rules. Additionally, YouTube’s approach to addressing the concerns of all content creators, not just those in the music industry, will be closely scrutinized by both the creator community and the general public.