YouTube has shelled out $1 billion through its ContentID program, as first reported by the Financial Times. This means that a total of $1 billion has gone out to over 5,000 copyright holders participating in the YouTube program.
ContentID, which started in 2007, lets companies whose copyrighted material has been used wrongfully by others on YouTube monetize off that content. Instead of simply having the copyright-infringing videos taken down, music labels and TV studios alike can choose to put advertisements on them.
Many companies with copyrights have made this choice, monetizing such content rather than take it down and making ContentID an important source of ad revenue, as this $1 billion mark certainly shows.