Joe Penna, a musician and filmmaker who made his name on YouTube as MysteryGuitarMan, is finding out just how broken the video giant’s copyright system is, and how easy it is for unethical actors to abuse it.
Penna announced on Twitter that he had been hit by a false copyright claim by a news network that not only used a clip from one of his videos without permission, but then also had the video blocked on his own YouTube channel for copyright infringement.
The case seems clear cut, but YouTube’s reaction has been slow: two days into the problem, Penna’s video remained blocked, while the creator is struggling to get any kind of support from the platform. Posting on Twitter, he said that in order to submit a counterclaim or seek compensation, he would have to show that the video in question “got hundreds of thousands of views on another platform” where he’s not monetizing, like Twitter. Penna’s attempts to get YouTube involved have not yet worked, nor has he been able to get support via chat – that’s supposedly available around the clock.
Some of the commenters on Twitter suggested that Penna should not only dispute the bogus copyright claim but also sue the TV network to discourage others from going after creators on YouTube in this way. Others criticized YouTube’s copyright claims system and the giant’s response to cases such as this, accusing it of not showing any interest in fixing it.
One way to end copyright abuse on the platform, one Twitter user suggested, would be to set up a team and have humans review and approve or reject copyright claims. Some commenters believe more radical measures are needed, such as sacking YouTube’s CEO and protesting in front of the company’s headquarters.
Penna has in the meantime posted his video blocked on YouTube on Twitter, as the only place where it’s still available online, asking at the same time his Twitter followers to retweet his original post in the hope of finally drawing YouTube’s attention. But as one of the commenters observed, YouTube is probably aware of the problem – it’s just that they don’t seem particularly interested in it, or in any rush to fix it.
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