Scammers Blackmail YouTubers with Copyright Claims

AlphaAtlas

[H]ard|Gawd
Staff member
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Messages
1,713
Motherboard reports that some scammers are using YouTube's "three strikes" takedown policy to extort money from legitimate YouTube channels. While the larger profile of popular channels might offer some protection, smaller channels seem to be particularly exposed. The ~8000-subscriber "ObbyRaidz" and "Kenzo" gaming channels, for example, were hit with 2 strikes by someone calling themselves "VengefulFlame, and were threatened with a potentially damaging 3rd strike if they didn't pay a Bitcoin or PayPal ransom. While "suspicious" copyright violation claims supposedly have to be verified by human YouTube staff, apparently, VengefulFlame "complied with the company's request, and YouTube wrongly took down the videos."

Automatic scans and manual takedown requests on YouTube often demonetize videos that use a second or two of copyrighted content in compliance with fair use laws, meaning money a creator would've made on the video is taken away, or diverted to the claimant. Sometimes, the video in question might contain no copyrighted material at all. Worse, creators say trying to get in touch with an actual human at the company to reverse the decision can be a nightmare. "I'm legitimately surprised it took this long" for scammers to start extorting channels, Katharine Trendacosta, a policy analyst at digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Motherboard. "The system is set up to incentivize false reports, and it is so bad at catching them and punishing people for making false reports."
 

Megaslug

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2015
Messages
173
I bet if filing a false DMCA/copyright claim became an enforced criminal offense and those who take down are considered an accomplice. Then Youtube would really be putting some work into verifying these claims before implementing sentence. Too bad.
That would help, I suppose. So would doing away with the completely useless DMCA and putting in place some actual reasonable copyright laws. Alas this too will never happen so long as Hollywood and the RIAA can lavish millions on Congresscritters.
 

StryderxX

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Messages
1,173
If (A) YouTuber files a false claim against (B) YouTuber a strike should be charged to (A) YouTuber's account. That should get some of this under control in the interim.
 

kju1

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 27, 2002
Messages
3,058
Just wait until I get my copyright on cat videos....I will END youtube! muwahahaha.
 

Morphish

n00b
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
Messages
39
I bet if filing a false DMCA/copyright claim became an enforced criminal offense and those who take down are considered an accomplice. Then Youtube would really be putting some work into verifying these claims before implementing sentence. Too bad.
That's the issue, though. These are NOT DMCA takedowns. This is Youtube's own process that they use in order to avoid having to mess with DMCA issues. If they used the DMCA, there would be penalties for fraudulent takedown notices. But since this is their proprietary system, they get to manage everything without recourse to the courts. No creator "owns" the hosting of their video on Youtube - Youtube as a private company decides to host or not to host (and who gets any share of the advertising dollars) based on their interpretation of their ToS. DMCA takedowns would only be issued if the creator of the videos self-hosted their content.
 

STEvil

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 17, 2000
Messages
2,819
If (A) YouTuber files a false claim against (B) YouTuber a strike should be charged to (A) YouTuber's account. That should get some of this under control in the interim.
Dont have to be on youtube to issue a takedown. It can be done anonymously.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
772
Who cares about the little guys, they got Alt-right Trumpers to silence!
yes because illegal and immoral activity is just peachy-keen so long as its only used against those YOU disagree with.


just stop ... you're part of the probelm and not helping .... even if you are just making a joke.
 

umeng2002

Gawd
Joined
May 23, 2008
Messages
923
Blame YouTube for being spineless. As bad as the DCMA is, this squarely on YouTube putting large media companies ahead of it's users.
 

Darunion

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
3,962
Blame YouTube for being spineless. As bad as the DCMA is, this squarely on YouTube putting large media companies ahead of it's users.
Its fear and financial. The users can't tie them up in court costs and paperwork, the media companies can. It is easier and cheaper to let them be bullied as opposed to paying a large staff to investigate every single claim for validity. Is it right? No. But I understand sadly :(
 

PaulP

Gawd
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
776
As soon as they got the ransom demand, they should have forwarded it onto youtube. Of course, that is assuming that youtube channel owners have some way of reporting such things to youtube. I would hope they do, but I don't know.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
520
Many YouTubers like Gopher has had issues with music in games where scamming firms put takedown notices when they don't even have a copyright on the material used even if it is legitimately fair use.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
520
Its fear and financial. The users can't tie them up in court costs and paperwork, the media companies can. It is easier and cheaper to let them be bullied as opposed to paying a large staff to investigate every single claim for validity. Is it right? No. But I understand sadly :(
Fraud and rackateering charges, screw civil court, and screw YouTube take evidence to the DAs office and press charges no lawyer needed. YouTube will have to comply thus repealing the monetization issue.
 

Nobu

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
3,682
Is this not literally extortion? And since it's across state lines, a federal offense?
 
Top