A Scammer Used YouTube’s Copyright System to Ransom Creators
A scammer was found to be manually abusing YouTube’s automated copyright system in an effort to hold YouTube channels ransom. By submitting multiple fake copyright “flags” on videos, the scammer was able to bring at least two YouTube accounts to the brink of automatic deactivation under YouTube’s “three strikes” policy, even getting past YouTube employees who double-checked the suspicious claim. According to YouTube, anti-abuse teams initially identified the requests as suspicious and asked for more information.
VengefulFlame complied with the company’s request and YouTube wrongly took down the videos, YouTube told Motherboard. YouTube confirmed with Motherboard that it has since reinstated the videos, removed the strikes, and terminated the accounts that made the requests from the site, but only after ObbyRaidz and Kenzo both tweeted about their issues. Automatic scans and manual takedown requests on YouTube often demonetize videos that use a second or two of copyrighted content in compliance with fair use laws, meaning money a creator would’ve made on the video is taken away, or diverted to the claimant.
Sometimes, the video in question might contain no copyrighted material at all. Worse, creators say trying to get in touch with an actual human at the company to reverse the decision can be a nightmare. This has resulted in some truly bizarre scenarios, such as four different copyright holders filing claims against a professor’s video of white noise.