Interestingly it seems that Google has to keep a hands-off approach to YouTube content if it wishes to avoid liabilities connected to copywrited material that users upload on to its site. For an explanation see below and the linked article.
It’s easy to blame Google’s algorithmic obsession for this mess, but I don’t think that’s at work here at all. Yes, Google is very good (which means very bad in this case) at blaming one algorithm or another for pissing-off users. Google customer support is, in a word, terrible for this very reason, and it often seems like they don’t even care. But this case is different, because it has less to do with algorithms than it has to do with intellectual property laws.
Google lives and dies by its IP and YouTube in turn lives and dies primarily by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), specifically the Safe Harbor provision of that act that allows YouTube to simply pull infringing content on the demand of the IP holder rather than have to pay a $25,000 penalty as they’d do in, say, Australia.
But the DMCA Safe Harbor provision comes with certain rules which require a generally hands-off approach to content censoring by the carrier, in this case YouTube. The DMCA puts the onus on the IP holder to tell YouTube (and all YouTube competitors) to pull down infringing content. We do this every day, by the way, with pirate copies of Steve Jobs — The Lost Interview. Without eternal vigilance my children won’t be able to afford college.