Content Protection Company Makes Bogus ContentID Claims On Gameplay Videos; Sega Steps In To Clean The Mess Up

from the how-abusive-entities-ruin-YouTube-using-this-one-simple-trick dept

YouTube's ContentID system is again being abused to take videos out of the control of the uploaders. The latest wave of bogus ContentID claims comes from (possibly) Japan's eLicense, which is seemingly staking a claim to as many Sega-related videos as possible in order to siphon ad money away from the account holders. (via GamePolitics)

One YouTube account holder was hit with over 100 ContentID claims alone, while others have had some hits and some misses. Nowhere on eLicense's site does it say the company is authorized to make ContentID claims on behalf of Sega. Sega America has since responded to the uproar, denying having anything to do with the hundreds of filed claims.

Regarding eLicense, this company is not working on behalf of SEGA in any capacity. We are issuing a Cease & Desist to eLicense and reaching out to YouTube directly to work on resolving this problem.

eLicense is acting independently and Sega intends to take the necessary action to prevent this from happening again.

Please help us in spreading the word wherever you see it online, feel free to link back to this post. Thanks all for reporting and documenting this issue!
Now, there are a couple of confusing factors. eLicense is a Japanese company and it could be possible that Sega Japan has retained its services. If so, the American arm of Sega doesn't seem to be aware of this. Among the evidence in favor of pointing the finger at this eLicense is this tantalizing headline from its website touting its move into ContentID management.


But it could be that Japan's eLicense (which actually spells its name "e-License" on its site) has nothing to do with this debacle. It could be a nearly-identically named American company whose official spelling ("eLicense") matches up with the name listed in Sega's statement.

However, this eLicense -- while apparently in the business of protecting game developers from infringement (its [unarguably lousy looking] client page contains logos for EA, Out of the Park, Pogo and Sports Interactive) -- doesn't have Sega listed as a client either.

No matter which eLicense it is, the claims are bogus. And some gamers/YouTube account holders aren't too happy with the fact that challenging bogus claims puts their accounts at risk. If a challenged claim fails, it's a strike against their account. So, many have just taken the hit and allowed another company to start monetizing their personal uploads.

The good news is that Sega has been very responsive. Many of those affected by these bogus claims have reported that these have been removed. Others are still waiting to have the claims lifted, but it's obvious an effort is being made by Sega to clean up this mess.

Back to the bad news: this is yet another failing of the ContentID system and YouTube's general approach to copyright claims. Nearly any entity can make a claim on someone else's uploaded videos and the burden of proof is passed along almost entirely to the accused. With ContentID, this process is nearly automatic. We've seen multiple cases of abuse in this system by bad actors who have used content that isn't theirs to make bogus claims on hundreds of gameplay videos solely for the purpose of grabbing ad revenue without actually having to earn it.

Sega's past efforts in the IP enforcement field haven't always been on the side of its fans and customers, but it is heartening to see it has made a proactive effort to retract eLicense's unauthorized claims.

Filed Under: contentid, japan, lets play, takedowns
Companies: elicense, sega


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 7:50am

    Risk vs Reward

    As long as it's as simple as claiming to own the rights over something in a video to gain the ad revenue from it, people, both individuals and companies, will continue to do it. After all, as the systems stands now, what do they have to lose?

    The one's who are having their videos claimed, they risk their accounts if they fight back, but I'm not aware of any risk that those who make bogus claims face. As such, why not at least try? Worst case, the account holder fights back, and the system finds in their favor, at which point the one making the claim(s) moves on to another mark, one that will hopefully not fight back.

    The current ContentID system is incredibly biased in favor of those making claims, bogus or not, and until that is addressed, until the penalty for making a false claim is as serious as posting infringing content, cash grabs like this will continue to occur.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 9 Feb 2015 @ 8:10am

      Re: Risk vs Reward

      I'm not aware of any risk that those who make bogus claims face.
      Perjury convictions.
      /sarc

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Robert's Grip, 26 Feb 2015 @ 9:22am

        Re: Re: Risk vs Reward

        Technically, that is Fraud. Fraud is a criminal offence (ie they are scamming money from you). So if this happens to one of you I would contact the FBI about this if you are in the US. This is just another fraud scheme like Madoff, etc (although smaller, fraud is fraud). If somebody is claiming to own copyrights to content they don't and they are getting YOUR cash flow, even for a small time, that is a scam like would be seen on American Greed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 8:15am

    Dear Sega,

    Release PSO2 in the US.
    Thanks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 9 Feb 2015 @ 8:43am

    Maybe...

    Maybe make the one *making* the claim post a bond with a risk of forfeit if they lose. For large content companies, this would be trivial for legitimate claims. They are probably paying a law firm several hundred dollars or more to do each claim. What's a bit more paperwork?

    Revenue would go into escrow until the company provided certified proof, bond would stay active for 1 year or when the matter is "settled" by agreement of the other side, whichever is longer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      RD, 9 Feb 2015 @ 9:14am

      Re: Maybe...

      "What's a bit more paperwork? "

      But you see, that is the ENTIRE point of systems like this. Rich, entitled media corporations want to lock up every idea under the sun under copyright, then be completely lazy asses about discovering and pursuing infringement. They lobbied hard to make accusing infringers *easier* so they don't have to do any work managing their copyrights. They want to shift that burden entirely to 3rd parties (whom they can then sue if they don't do it "right") and make any and all work of filing boiled down to 1 simple accusation and BAM! it disappears. This also makes a very effective hammer against the nail of speech and competition too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RD, 9 Feb 2015 @ 9:10am

    Not a bug

    It's not a *bug* of the system, it's a *feature*. The ability to take down content simply at an accusation, with little to no recourse, and with the burden *entirely* on the accused, is the *design* of the system, not a failing of it. The failing is in implementing such an absurdly one-sided takedown system in the first place, all to benefit big players at the expense of everyone else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:42am

    Simple answer. using ContentID causes an immediate hold on ANY money paid to the person claiming the content.
    One month should be sufficient.
    Also ContentID could easily implement a "you tried to steal $X, therefore must pay the original owner $Y + a processing fee to Youtube of $Z " before you can request further takedowns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RR, 9 Feb 2015 @ 11:47am

    If it's not broke....

    If it's not completely and totally broke, it won't get fixed. It's been proven time and time again, in the markets, the courts, and among the legislature. There's too much money involved, too many special interests. That's why I cheer for the patent and copyright trolls. Until we finally let them burn down the house around us, there will be no progress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Watchit (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 12:01pm

    Nintendo should learn from Sega

    If only Nintendo could take a look at Sega and realize "Oh shit, our policy is ass-backwards" and get rid of their awful youtube affiliate program.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2015 @ 6:26pm

    Bawk-bawk-bawk. Bawk bawk!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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