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YouTube copyright trolls could face lawsuit to reclaim millions in damages

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WatchMojo, with its 20 million subscribers, is one of the largest players on Youtube. The company is becoming increasingly annoyed with the continuous copyright abuse on the web platform.

While these issues are nothing new, this time the abusive rights-holders could face retaliation from one of the biggest channels around.

In a video published last week, WatchMojo CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan exposed some of the worst abusers. The video mentions many examples of companies that claim WatchMojo content which, according to Karbasfrooshan, is protected under fair use.

When WatchMojo published a video commenting on an Avengers movie trailer, for example, an outfit called Hexacorp claimed it. Hexacorp represents Ramen Music; it licensed the track to Marvel – not to WatchMojo.

WatchMojo claimed the fair use, as the trailer and music had been clearly used only for commentary purposes. Hexacorp eventually dropped the claim.

However, many other channels with less legal knowledge, might just simply accept these claims, allowing Hexacorp to monetize on their content.

According to WatchMojo’s CEO, this is just one of the many examples. The channel restlessly fights hundreds of content-ID claims every month, prevailing in almost every occasion.

If on one side rights-holders should be able to pursue legitimate claims, many see the system as a way to generate revenues with little effort. By sending out thousands of dubious claims, it’s inevitable that many won’t be protested – allowing the rights-holders to cash in some extra dollars.

WatchMojo also receives a lot of claims from the music company BMG. The channel’s CEO pointed out that BMG’s parent company, Bertelsmann, has a stake in ZergNet – a direct competitor of WatchMojo.

“Bertelsmann, through their investment arm BMDI, has invested in our direct competitor ZergNet, whose assets Looper, Nicky Swift and a bunch of others compete with us for the same audience, fighting for the same ad dollars, competing for the same eyeballs,” noted Karbasfrooshan.

WatchMojo stated that abusive rights-holders are exposing themselves to millions of dollars in potential damages from the channels in the event of a class action or a lawsuit.

The idea, mentioned in Karbasfrooshan first video, is that a group of affected channels files a class action suit with the objective of obtaining a settlement for unlawful claims and monetizing of videos.

According to a calculation made by WatchMojo, rights-holders earned over $2 billion over the past few years.

“I assure you that once I explained how Content-ID worked vs. copyright law, and then how rightsholders abused it, the general consensus was: ok, these rightsholders are going to get sued,” stated Karbasfrooshan.

“It’s a matter of time, if not us, someone will come along and sue and win big”.

We’ve covered numerous stories about YouTube’s broken Content ID system as well as other criticisms with the way it handles copyright trolls.

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