More Issues With Copyright Enforcement At Scale: YouTube Reinstates Videos After False Claims

from the it-keeps-happening dept

It’s no secret that Techdirt believes YouTube’s copyright enforcement program is an absolute mess. On the one hand, it’s difficult to be too hard on the company. After all, it is trying to figure out how to enforce draconian copyright laws in countries like America at a scale that is absolutely absurd. On the other hand, the way it works today is so wide open for fraud and abuse, that it’s literally a challenge to pick out which of a ton of stories I want to link to in order to show the history of fraud, mistakes, and nefarious copyright claims taken for reasons that fall completely outside of any interest in copyright law or protection.

And it just keeps happening. Meet Lofi Girl, the name of a YouTube account that streams low-fidelity hip hop music to serve as background music for studying or resting. Two of Lofi Girl’s live streams were taken down after someone submitted a copyright takedown notice for them. That copyright takedown notice was shared by Lofi Girl on Twitter and, well…

Forgive my American-centric viewpoint on this, but it seems like a copyright claim from some random “music publisher” in Malaysia probably should have triggered a deeper dive into whether there was actually infringing activity here or not. Instead, because of YouTube’s stock policy, YouTube simply took the streams down and informed Lofi Girl it had done so. Many on social media noticed all this and took to the streamer’s defense.

Many rallied behind Lofi Girl on Monday using the hashtag #BringBackLofiGirl, with some also criticizing YouTube’s copyright strike policies.

And eventually YouTube rescinded the copyright takedown and removed the strikes from Lofi Girl’s channel. And that’s all well and good, except that the only reason anyone even had to go through this exercise is because YouTube’s reporting system is so completely wide open that it practically begs for this kind of fraud and abuse.

The remaining question is, when is YouTube going to get around to doing anything about that?

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: youtube

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “More Issues With Copyright Enforcement At Scale: YouTube Reinstates Videos After False Claims”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
ECA (profile) says:

Re: we can

Lets go backwards, where Copy rights didnt go past borders. If you wanted that your CR be in another country you HAD to register Personally in each of those countries and DISTRIBUTE it also.
Australia has a Problem with 1 Company that HOLDS its name and Food items under CR. But only opens a company once every 10(?) years to KEEP the registration.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That just changes the problem slightly, while consuming vast amounts of storage and computing power, because how do you validate registration for all works, including self published works. Registration without a copy of a work to compare with other works, van be abused, and will end up containing competing claims. Also, just how do toy compare a written work to an audio work or a video work, to see if either of the latter are the same work in a different form?

Pre-Internet it was possible to maintain a reasonably up to date catalogue of all published works, but the Internet has opened the flood gates for people publishing their own works and we are talking about hundreds of hours of video and audio per minute, and hundreds of written works per minute being published on the Internet, and don’t bother trying to count the number of photographs per minute published.

Copyright was a workable solution to managing the industries with limited publishing capacity, and where thousands of copies are created before on is sold, but has become problematic where publishing capacity is effectively unlimited.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: ITs kinda simple

AS all of it has to be registered in the first place to have any actionable power.
SOME ONE had to sign paper work.

AND the creator has to keep up with most of it.
If he doesnt, THATS HIS problem, NOT YT or FB or MS or anyone else.

This company dont hold Copies of anything except the Paper work. Cross referenced and everything else. It Verifies all information which will take time to get everything caught up for the first 3-5 years of hard work.
After that point, it upto the creators to send us a copy and we verify WHO/what/why/when and how.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

You fail to grasp scale, as YouTube alone is used to publish, as a conservative estimate, at least 1.4 million new works a day. Also, without robust verification, people will be claiming other peoples works, and without looking at the actual works, that is an undetectable problem in the registration system.

Any one individual sees such a small part of human creativity that it is hard to understand the real scale of human creativity.

Anonymous Coward says:


Where is the databases that allows YouTube to validate companies, and who owns what copyright

To ask copyright fanatics like Tero Pulkinnen, databases aren’t necessary from a technological perspective (the jury is still out on an elaboration for that explanation). The RIAA has always dutifully answered with, “We’ll just know whether it’s infringing”, because blind faith is all they’ve ever used to determine whether infringement has happened.

Realistically, vested interests in copyright won’t bother with a database. For them, they’re only interested in accusing, not maintaining.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The RIAA has always dutifully answered with, “We’ll just know whether it’s infringing,” because blind faith is all they’ve ever used to determine whether infringement has happened.

Just like ContentID knows whether something is infringing. Let’s not mention the one time* that it pulled someone’s video of them performing a public domain track.

*One time that I’ve read about here, but probably more often than that.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Only one choice carries a penalty

The remaining question is, when is YouTube going to get around to doing anything about that?

When the law is changed such that it’s not vastly safer to take any accusation at face value since ignoring a claim of infringement can cost you but taking down non-infringing content doesn’t.

Anonymous Coward says:

One thing that seems like it could help at least a little, if you’re not a verified rights holder (I’m talking a known media company), require identifying information. Phone call to verify your identity, drivers license scan, hell, even a refundable credit card charge. Might not have helped here, but in the Bungie case at least it probably would have prevented the fraud.

Arijirija says:

Re: Re:

I’ve read complaints from guitarists on Del Camp’s classical guitar site about people issuing takedown notices about Public Domain music being played on Youtube by these guitarists.

When it gets to that level of fraud, it’s clear that copyright is no longer serving the interests of performers. And if it doesn’t serve the interests of performers, it equally doesn’t serve the interests of composers who live if they get performed, and who wilt if they don’t.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Jamie says:

Gum it up more

If we’re stuck with this pile of shit, and it looks like we are, then at least they Google should develop a memory. The keep everything else, so why don’t they preserve reputations for the various actors?

If Malay Records Imposter keeps filing bullshit grabs, they should blackball the entity and their associated bank account.

Similarly, if Lofi Girl demonstrates a history of being honest in the face of these attacks, she should get some benefit of the doubt. (I realize this is complicated by US legal horseshit, but that makes me wonder about their duty to the Malay scammer…)

Isntead, corporations are going to force normal people back into consumer boxes on the net soon enough. I’ll probably have to get a license and pay for IP audits or some such to keep my machines in a DC, and everyone can go back to a medicated TV reality again, only with far more surveillance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Forgive my American-centric viewpoint on this, but it seems like a copyright claim from some random “music publisher” in Malaysia probably should have triggered a deeper dive into whether there was actually infringing activity here or not.

Alternatively, youtube’s American-centric business would be more harmed by accusations of racism than by accusation of incorrect copyright enforcement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Because there are thousands of videos posted to YouTube every minute, and millions of users posting every day, and the only way to deal with volume is via an automated system. Such a system cannot be made robust enough to prevent cheating and false claims of ownership.Even content ID is a limited system, in that it only compares the sound of submissions against a small subset of prior publications, those registered by legacy labels and studios.That is the works it ‘protects’ are a small fraction of the works ever published.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

And thanks to ContentID’s automated take downs and monetizations, there are very few DMCA notices, one of which is what got Lofi Girl’s live streams pulled. As I suggested, it’s hardly too much to require links in a DMCA to show exactly how the complained of work is similar to yours, and it’s then on YouTube’s human moderators to investigate rather than just pulling the video like a bot. If the sender of the notice doesn’t include the required links, then the video stays up due to lack of evidence of infringement. It’s very simple, really.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

The DMCA only allows YouTube to ignore a notice if it is badly written, such as mandatory information not provided. Other than that, to ignore a notice is to risk being sued for copyright infringement. Besides which, YouTube is the wrong party to decide about infringement, as they lack knowledge about how a work was created, any licensing etc.

In other words, the DMCA is written to give all the power to those making claims, and leaves the recipient with no choice but to act on a notice that looks valid.

Anonymous Coward says:

The remaining question is, when is YouTube going to get around to doing anything about that?

Can they realistically do anything about it though given the labyrinthine nature of having to navigate so mahy different copyright laws in so many different countries (some of which would inevitably conflict with others)?

Anonymous Coward says:


Overall there isn’t a lot one can do, given both scale and the laws, but sometimes we think one could be better at pattern (and no-pattern) matching so that the most egregious false takedowns happen somewhat less.

It would definitely help if there were real and actual penalties in even just the US DMCA for false notices.

Anonymous Coward says:

“When is YouTube going to get around to doing anything about that?”

Simple, when they decide it’s their problem big enough for THEM to pay attention to. It comes to how much their asinine moderation practice negatively affect their profits. They are not in the business of defending people’s speech, but to make money off it.

It may be people’s problem as to Youtube’s asinine moderation practice but does it necessarily make it Youtube’s problem?!? Youtube is not obligated to defend our speech if there’s no money in it. We are free to move to another platform, they are free to do whatever to screw up the platform as they OWN it. There is no legal obligation for Youtube to be fair to people as it comes to what they decide to host on its servers which are THEIR property. Why do people have problem respecting Youtube’s right to do whatever with their property?!?

It’s not like we are PAYING CONSUMERS. It’s free. What do you expect from a free service? Beggars can not be choosers. What is with people’s self- entitlement to tell YouTube what to do with their property? It is not the people’s business to tell Youtube what they must host on their property. I understand YouTube do not want to take risks with hosting potential copyright infringing material. Are we are going to pay YouTube to defend itself against copyright lawsuits resulting from hosting our materials? Is Lofi Girl offering to pay YouTube’s legal costs in case Youtube has to defend in court for hosting her materials? No? Then maybe she should shut up. It’s easy for us to whine about YouTube not hosting our materials as it’s not our money at risk or our liability to assume. Are we paying YouTube to sort out properly which materials are legally safe enough to host? No? Then maybe we should shut up about that.
If there is no money in it, then YouTube should not have to. It is a BUSINESS which is all about profits, we should recognize and respect this.

This is problem of our creating not YouTube’s. We created this free speech problem we are having with Youtube by supporting the copyright regime. Simple, just end this ridiculousness by telling the copyright cultists to go fuck themselves and push to abolish copyrights. Copyrights are not compitable with free speech rights or actual property rights. It has to go.

Christenson says:

Re: Re: Incentives

Right now, youtube, by overblocking, sees a certain amount of weeping and gnashing of teeth. There was no liability in the dancing baby case.

If they underblocked, they might get hauled into court, a very expensive proposition… so the incentives aren’t there — unless tik tok or someone figures out a better way and gains market share.

What they could do is introduce friction… if you want action from Youtube, supply the copyright registration number. This gets checked at least statistically — just as a clown check.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Is Lofi Girl offering to pay YouTube’s legal costs in case Youtube has to defend in court for hosting her materials? No? Then maybe she should shut up.

That’s what you originally said, putting all the blame on Lofi Girl for someone else’s bad faith actions. What next? Blaming a rape survivor’s underwear for the attack they endured?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Nonesense. It does not compare. Victimizing Lofi Gorl is beside the point. Lofi Girl is not a PAYING customer, how much can she expect? It’s a free service, what do we expect from a free service? Are we not expecting too much from Youtube? Maybe we have too much of self- entitlement when it comes to a free service? If fairness costs money, why should Youtube pay for fairness when we dont pay Youtube for using of their property. People are going to be dicks when it comes to their property, are we going to moan and whine and snowflaking about the unfairness of other people when it comes what they do with their property? I have a lot to tell about what people are doing with their “intellectual property”, you know.. all that unfairness that copyrights create. you want to talk about fairness??

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Here you go, doubling down on your victim blaming. Oh, it’s free, so we should be filled with gratitude for whatever little we get! Entry to some nightclubs is free before a specified time. Should I not expect everything in the restroom to be in good working order just because I didn’t pay to get in?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Jesus fucking Christ

Torrentfreak’s copyright cultists have found the place…

Speaking about madness… which is better, the madness that copyrights are bringing latest or the “madness” of pushing to end this “madness”

Get over it. Copyrights benefits no one but the copyright holders. Fuck your profits or your job that depends on exploiting people. State-forced monopolies are wrong, period. Your push to oppress the people for the sake for your stinking greed is wrong. It is not madness to stand and fight for what is right. Jesus wept.

Anonymous Coward says:


This wasn’t an automated take down, going by the article, so presumably a human glanced at the notice before pulling Lofi Girl’s live streams. It wouldn’t have taken as long to investigate as it did to get the streams back up, but properly just isn’t the way YouTube does things.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...