Clueless YouTube Copyright Bots Think GTA Sirens Are a Famous Jazz Song

Here's a video of Grand Theft Auto IV. Give it a listen, preferably at the 6:32 mark. That's the moment when YouTube's copyright bots claim a Sonny Rollins Quartet jazz song plays. Do you hear it?


I tried. I tried hard to hear it. And all I heard was sirens. I bet that's all you heard, too—as if our impressions of YouTube's automated flawed copyright/content-ID system weren't bad enough.


This copyright claim recently hit YouTuber Taltigolt and left him wondering just what YouTube's bots are listening for. "Sad thing is, I acknowledged it, thinking it was accurate before I even looked," he told me over e-mail this week.

Here's the claim:

Illustration for article titled Clueless YouTube Copyright Bots Think emGTA/em Sirens Are a Famous Jazz Song

And here's the Sonny Rollins Quartet playing St. Thomas, the song that is supposedly in the video.

That Sonny Rollins song is in GTA IV. It just doesn't usually sound like six minutes of police sirens. Go figure.


To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo.

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This is just plain wrong. Google is causing real, measurable harm to people who have done nothing wrong. And the agent of this harm-causing is Google's own creation, which clearly is making lots of mistakes, all of which harm people.

What kind of customer service is this? If you're going to impose this kind of control, have the decency to use humans to do it, so that this kind of screw-up can't happen.

What's that, Google? That's too expensive? But you still want to impose this kind of control? Then continue using your bots, but at least do not automatically impose the penalties until a human being is able to verify what the bot thinks is a problem.

What? That's still too expensive for you, Google, you enormous, hugely profitable company? Then maybe don't impose the penalty at all.