Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that the relentless onslaught of takedown notices – especially when unjustified – over on YouTube was bad news, as it was, resulting in removal of sometimes perfectly legal content, and suspension of accounts.
But they now might want to consider a new reality where copyright holders alleging infringement could also choose to move ever more aggressively against their targets, for example, by asking for personally identifiable data of the suspected infringes.
And companies can do this if a US court grants them a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Considering that YouTube is owned by Google – who better to provide this information to other corporations? But also – who better to perhaps decline, and shore up its flailing reputation when it comes to respecting user privacy?
Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, the facts are these, as reported by TorrentFreak,: Japan's major publisher Shogakukan is going after a number of YouTubers accused of pirating manga content.
Shogakukan has requested and secured a DMCA subpoena from a California court to identify, among others, YouTubers LNDA, Kile Russo, Anime FightClub, and Optimistic Neko. This would include obtaining their real names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, IP address logs, and credit card numbers.
From the subpoena:
“All information sufficient to identify: (a) each infringer identified under the column entitled as “YouTube Channel/User” in Exhibit A; and (b) any other users registered with www.youtube.com who uploaded and/or posted any Infringing Work specified under the column entitled as “Infringing Work” in Exhibit A. The infringers referred to in the foregoing (a) and (b) are collectively referred to as “Infringers” or individually as “Infringer”. Exhibit A referred to herein is included in the notice dated May 22, 2019, which is attached to this subpoena. The information requested in this subpoena shall be from any and all sources, including but not limited to billing or administrative records that prove the following information used by each Infringer with, relating to, or in connection with the Infringer’s account(s) with www.youtube.com, Google AdSense or any other service account(s) registered with or [linked] to the Infringer’s account with www.youtube.com (collectively as the “Infringer’s Accounts’*), along with time-stamp (showing date, hour, minute, and second), from the time of user registration with any and all of the Infringer’s Accounts and to date: any and all names; any and all addresses; any and all telephone numbers; any and all email addresses; any and all logs of IP addresses used to upload and to access any and all of the Infringer’s Accounts, and any [account] numbers, credit card numbers, and the name of the financial institution which holds such accounts or issues such credit cards”
That's in addition to taking down the allegedly infringing content uploaded to their channels.
Shogakukan shows good awareness of the entirety of Google's business, and control of the user data the giant has across its many websites and services, when it specifies that the personal information they seek will be obtained from anything ranging from YouTube accounts themselves – “to Google AdSense accounts, or any other service accounts(s) registered with or linked to the infringer's account with YouTube,” TorrentFreak is reporting.
The article added that the Japanese publisher seems to want also to put YouTube to work to “pro-actively search for the content in question and then hand over the personal details of anyone who may have uploaded it.”
The controversial. allegedly pirated content that has spurred all this activity is mostly static imagery taken from manga comics pages, with some music added into the mix, the report said.
One Angry Gamer describes these as “reaction videos – reviews, and impressions of various Japanese mangas,” likening the practice to Richard C. Meyer's Comics Matter channel – but this time, with the focus squarely on the actual content of the comics.