Vimeo Logo Black on WhiteUploading videos with copyright material that you don't have permission to use has always been against Vimeo's guidelines, but they just recently started a program called Copyright Match, which automatically flags any videos that have copyright material, even if you've licensed it. There have been many questions about the new program, and some legitimate cases where copyright flags could cause a serious nuisance, so they've temporarily decided to allow copyright material in private videos for Plus and PRO users. Click through to read more about it.

Here is the update to their Copyright Match policy, which is a temporary solution for the time being:

We understand that many Plus and PRO members use Vimeo professionally and they need to privately share videos for temporary client review prior to obtaining formal licensing.

We are working on building support for this use case into the Copyright Match system. Until then, private videos uploaded by Plus and PRO members will not be scanned by Copyright Match.

If you’re using Vimeo for this purpose, make sure you default new uploads to private from your Global Video Settings or set your videos to private while they're uploading.

I've already said quite a bit about the decision to use an automatic copyright flagging service here, but it's terrific that they are listening to users and adjusting their plans accordingly. This scenario was one that I actually thought would cause some of the biggest problems, especially as Vimeo is a very convenient way to upload rough cuts that contain copyright material that will eventually be removed in the final product, or will eventually be purchased/licensed when the client is happy. Considering YouTube is a completely free service, and Plus/PRO users are paying for their upload space, it's a good move from Vimeo to support those users.

As a refresher, if your video is found to contain copyright material (besides the users affected above), there will be three options:

  • Swap the audio in your video with a track from the Vimeo Music Store (if the third-party copyrighted work is music)
  • Replace the video file
  • Delete the video

If you believe that the video is considered "fair use," or you rightfully own or have licensed the material in it, you can appeal:

When it comes to striking a deal with a copyright holder(s), permission can be given in a variety of forms but must be in writing. You might have a formal license from the copyright holder or something as simple as an email granting you permission. Whatever the form, the permission should clearly (1) identify the parties (i.e., the copyright holder and you); (2) the work being licensed; and (3) what you can do with the work.  Keep in mind that you might have permissions to do one thing with a work, but not another.  Also remember that you need to have permission from each relevant copyright owner.

In a Copyright Match appeal, you should tell us who licensed the work and describe the basic license terms.  The more information and evidence you can provide to support your claim, the more likely our moderators will accept your appeal.  Please note that if requested, you may need to provide a copy of your documentation. 

If you win your appeal, the video will stay online, but if your appeal is denied, the video will be deleted -- though you will have another chance to email moderators if you still think the decision is in error. During the appeals process, videos will remain online, except if:'re in your first week of Vimeo membership, or you've had more than two appeals denied, your video will not be accessible during the appeal process.

It's important to keep in mind that copyright can be pretty complicated, and just because an appeal is accepted by the moderators at Vimeo, does not necessarily mean you are in the clear. One of the big differences between Vimeo and YouTube is that Vimeo is planning on using real people to handle all appeals, so they are making decisions on things like fair use, which is far from cut and dry. Even if your video is approved, a copyright holder could still issue a DMCA takedown notice if they believe you are using their material without permission.

Obviously there are going to be plenty of kinks to work out in the system, but it looks like Vimeo will do their best to listen to users and try to make sure that the people trying to do things the right away don't have to face unnecessary copyright appeals.

Check out the links below for more details on the Copyright Match system and how it will affect the content you upload.