What A Shock: Scammers Are Abusing YouTube's Notice And Takedown System With DMCA Claims

from the duh dept

There has been something of an explosion of copyright claims on streaming services as of late. Frankly, the impetus for these claims is all over the place. You have your ever-expanding cadre of copyright maximilists going ballistic. There are the political actors, looking to copyright claims to try to take down content from those on the opposite side of the aisle. There are the automatic bots that crawl for content and get it wrong many times. And then there are the scammers.

There are lots of ways to abuse copyright to scam folks out of money, or their accounts and content. But one recent method appears to be crawling for YouTube videos that incorporate tiny sections of video game music and then attempting to take over monetization of those videos.

Twitch streamer and content creator Ludwig Ahgren was hit with a copyright claim on one of his newer videos, but with a little bit of research, it became clear that it was a scam. The claim in question came on his video that was supposed to go up today where he talked with fellow streamer Devin Nash. The copyrighted material was listed at the end of the video. After pulling it up, however, the only sound playing was Zelda’s Lullaby from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time.

If the claim came from Nintendo, it would have held some actual credibility. But video game music is frequently used in videos because companies tend to avoid copyright striking those to avoid taking down gameplay by accident.

But it wasn't from Nintendo or any other company. Instead, it was from someone named Hezkej Benes from a video called "Happy Doge." And after a quick search, Ludwig found the video in question, which had less than 200 views, and was simply a collection of the beginning of popular songs and meme sound effects.

So, how it works is that the scammer loads up a video of snippets of copyrighted video game music and the like, since game makers don't typically issue takedowns for that sort of thing, and then makes copyright claims on other content using those same snippets. From there, assuming there is no pushback from the maker of the other video, the scammer gets to slurp up whatever revenue those videos generate.

This is effective as a scam due to the notice and takedown system in place with YouTube. Without the opportunity for review, either by the impacted streamer or by a human at YouTube, scammers can fire off these notices at will and rely on a small percentage of pushback being received. Whatever the intent behind this system, it's clear at this point that there are multiple avenues for abuse. That makes it high time that we revisit all of this and see if there is a better way.

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Filed Under: abuse, copyright, takedowns


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  1. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 14 Jul 2020 @ 4:14pm

    Of course, getting all the money from a minutes-long video for a seconds-long clip is plenty scammy in and of itself.


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