Another day, another complaint about YouTube's broken copyright system: this time, accusations are flying around the creator community of attempts to use the system to dox and even blackmail people.
YouTuber Coffeezilla says he was highlighting this problem on behalf of a friend and fellow YouTuber, who is allegedly a victim of two other creators with much bigger reach and power on the platform.
The issue concerns YouTubers Matt Tran and TechLead, in one corner, who combined have over 1.1 million subscribers, and who, between them, allegedly doxxed, blackmailed, and threatened a much smaller creator who goes by the alias Tren Black.
Coffeezilla's video shows a message apparently from Matt Tran threatening to reveal Tren Black's real name and then use SEO to make a page denouncing his character show up top in search.
The video also explains how these YouTubers got themselves in this mess: Tren Black first published popular videos criticizing both TechLead and Matt Tran, which they were eager to have removed.
In the end, the Matt Tran used information gathered by TechLead to “dox Tren Black.”
Coffeezilla accuses YouTube's copyright system of allowing private information of the purported victim here – or any YouTuber – to be revealed to “anyone” – without requiring evidence that copyright infringement had actually occurred.
Yes, that's how copyright law works in the US and on YouTube: platforms protect themselves with by investing the least amount of effort, money and time and “shooting” first and letting the victim ask any questions (i.e., file a counter-notice) later.
Plus, as Coffeezilla puts it: “You can go and submit an abusive takedown request of any video on this platform, and you will receive that creator's full name, address, and phone number.”
And when Tren Black tried to respond with a video, the same copyright system was used to silence him.
In an interview for Coffeezilla's channel, Matt Tran alleges that he got to Tren Black's real name through TechLead, and defends his decision to reveal the name as fair warning to any future employer of the kind of videos he was making on YouTube – rather than go down the “unpopular” route of outright copyright strike as a surefire way to get something blocked on YouTube.