YouTube says its Content ID system makes the extra five minutes possible. With all major movie studios and music labels using Content ID to sniff out copyrighted material, and the technology improved enough, YouTube can afford to relax the upload limit, which was introduced to keep pirated television shows and movies off the site. Content partners, such as CBS, have always been able to upload longer videos, including full-length television shows and feature films.
The contrarian in me wants to lament the boosted upload limit. There’s something to be said for concision, and users might lose some editorial discipline with an extra five minutes to spare. But overall I’m happy to see YouTube raise the limit to 15 minutes. The number of videos that will benefit from the extra time — video game walkthroughs, homespun sitcoms, how-to videos and otherwise fascinating raw footage — probably outweigh the ones that would wear our their welcome.
Now, I’m just wondering two things: When will the upload limit increase again, and why not extend it to 20 minutes right now? Product Manager Joshua Siegel didn’t give the most satisfying answer on YouTube’s blog, saying only that the site will do everything it can to release incremental improvements in the future. Maybe the content partners aren’t totally comfortable with user-made videos that match the length of a commercial-free television show, or perhaps YouTube fears the bandwidth demands a 20-minute limit may bring.
Whatever the case, it’s a good sign that YouTube’s moving beyond the upload limit it put in place four years ago. Any bets on when YouTube will allow two-hour feature films from its users?