Google: YouTube has paid out over $2bn to rights holders

The internet giant defends its video platform, arguing it is a robust revenue stream for content creators that is legitimately fighting piracy.

Google on Wednesday said YouTube has generated more than $2bn for rights holders since 2007, fending off complaints that the platform harbors pirated content. The updated figure also helps Google make the case that YouTube is a robust revenue stream for content creators, at a time when competitors are offering alternative platforms.

The revenue comes from Content ID, YouTube's set of tools that allows users to manage their content and claim rights to it. In 2014, Google said Content ID had generated $1 billion, so it has seen a notable uptick in revenues collected in just a couple of years.

In a blog post, Google Senior Policy Counsel Katie Oyama stressed that Content ID has enabled Google to combat copyright infringement, allowing rights holders to either block, track, or monetize their content. "We go above and beyond the requirements of the law to lead the industry in finding solutions that work," she wrote.

The blog post comes amid criticism from the music industry. Last month, for instance, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor (Apple Music's chief creative officer) said on the sidelines of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference that YouTube "is built on the backs of free, stolen content, and that's how they got that big... We're trying to build a platform that provides an alternative - where you can get paid and an artist can control where their [content] goes".

Amazon made its pitch to content creators earlier this year, with the launch of Amazon Video Direct, which will allow content creators to upload footage and earn royalties.

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