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YouTube has paid out a cool $1 billion to copyright holders since 2007, the company confirmed to NBC News. It's all part of YouTube's Content ID program, which, according to a Google spokesperson, scans 400 years' worth of content every single day for potential copyright issues. What is Content ID? Back in the old days before Google purchased YouTube, major TV networks and record companies complained that the service was chock full of copyrighted programs. In order to cut down on the never-ending flood of "Simpsons" and "Seinfeld" clips, Google developed Content ID in 2007, which compares videos and songs to original copies provided by the copyright holder. If you are a TV network, you can decide whether to shut down violators or profit off them by running ads against their content and keeping the profit. The majority of Content ID's 500-plus partners decide to monetize instead of ban those videos, according to Google, which could explain why the entertainment industry shifted from complaining about YouTube to awarding it a Primetime Engineering Emmy Award in 2013.


— Keith Wagstaff