YouTuber James Charles has had his most recent video, What REALLY Happened in 2019 + Updated Makeup Routine, copyright claimed by AlfDigital – the same group that YouTube says recently claimed and blocked YouTube star PewDiePie’s three most recent videos.
The claiming and blocking of both Charles and PewDiePie’s videos highlights a long-standing problem with YouTube’s copyright system – that claimed videos are instantly blocked before YouTube investigates whether the copyright claim is genuine. This puts YouTube creators at a significant disadvantage and means that companies that don’t hold copyright to videos can abuse the system in an attempt to monetize content they don’t own or even use the system to censor videos that are critical of their brand.
Charles responded to the claim by saying: “Some random non—existent company just claimed the ENTIRE video and blocked it from being seen and monetized in ALL countries.”
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Charles says he’s working with YouTube to get the problem fixed but right now the video is blocked on YouTube worldwide.
Charles’ video was largely focused on him while PewDiePie’s videos were primarily reaction videos with one featuring him playing a PewDiePie fan video.
While YouTube has made some changes to its copyright system over the last year and now requires those filing copyright claims to timestamp which parts of the video they are claiming, the takedown of these videos from two of YouTube’s biggest stars as a result of what appear to be bogus copyright claims shows that the system still has a long way to go before creators can properly respond to copyright claims without their videos and channel being jeopardized.
Update – January 13, 2019: James Charles video has been restored.