YouTube’s way of dealing with copyright infringement claims is consistently inadequate at best and directly harmful to creators at worst, time and time again. That’s because Google’s video platform habitually makes use of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as a lazy way to shoot first, ask any counter-claim questions later – if ever responding in any meaningful manner – and just in general, as a way to wash its giant hands off those who might be unjustly harmed in the process.
What’s new this time, however, is that YouTube seems to be taking some ownership of the flawed system they operate, by taking steps to legally protect itself – and by the way, also several creators who have allegedly been targeted by an extortionist operating on YouTube.
The man accused of praying on YouTube creators by issuing false copyright takedown notices has been named as Christopher Brady. One of his victims – whose YouTube identity is “ObbyRaidz” – and whom KETV Ohio channel now identifies as “Logan” – is a Minecraft gamer who makes his money on YouTube.
The trouble with tying your income to YouTube, however, is always the same: your channel might at any point get demonetized, or worse still, removed, if YouTube accepts, as it too often does, copyright takedown notices. It takes just three of sometimes very poorly backed-up “strikes” to obliterate a whole channel.
And it’s precisely within the confines of this system that many large music and gaming publishers – but also some straight-up extortionists – operate today, to drive fear into creators.
ObbyRaidz says he faced the alleged extortionist’s “third strike” – that would have spelled the end of his channel – in the shape of a demand to pay $150.
And ObbyRaidz was just one among several creators allegedly targeted by Brady.
There are several moments in the report than merit attention. First: YouTube argues that Brady “harmed the company” as he falsely accused creators of copyright violations. And another is this quote:
“It wasn’t until ObbyRaidz and Kenzo (another victim) spoke about the alleged extortion on their individual YouTube channels that YouTube’s team learned about the issue, according to the lawsuit.”
But according to ObbyRaidz, while he “spoke about the situation in a video” – he at the same time made “multiple attempts to get in touch with someone at YouTube – but didn’t make any progress.”
It seems that YouTube only decided to lend a helping legal hand to creators once the giant felt threatened itself.