from the praise-be dept
It should come as no surprise to regular Techdirt readers that the DMCA takedown process is not only wide open to fraud and abuse, but that those avenues are regularly used in real life for just those purposes. Takedowns to silence criticism, takedowns to try to steal traffic from others, or takedowns or monetization claims just to get some paltry amounts of streaming revenue: the point is that this shit happens all the time. What absolutely does not happen with any frequency is the folks behind these bogus actions getting punished in any way for their behavior.
And so when it does happen, it’s worth highlighting it, putting it on a podium, and trying to have it become the norm rather than the exception. To that end, let’s highlight YouTube actually banning an account that appeared to be sending fraudulent DMCA notices.
Yesterday, the owner of the “Musical Creator” channel complained that their channel had been terminated after submitting a copyright takedown request. The operator of the channel doesn’t appear to be a native English speaker as the comment below shows, but it’s clear that they disagree with this decision.
“My youtube channel MUSICAL CREATOR has been terminated due to inlegal information copyright infringement. But I not violating any policy of youtube, I don’t know how my channel is terminated I filled out all the information legal. I want to get back my channel again,” the operator writes.
Now, a couple of things to say here. First, the channel’s name is “MUSICAL CREATOR”? Hmm, okay, totally doesn’t sound like the kind of thing you would create just to send DMCA notices and try to monetize others’ content. And we don’t have any details from YouTube as to what specifically was the issue with whatever takedown notice MUSICAL CREATOR sent. Instead, all we have is this from YouTube’s notice directly.
“We are concerned that some of the information within this legal request may be fraudulent,” YouTube’s response reads. “Please understand that YouTube receives a large number of fraudulent copyright takedown requests, and we take abuse of that process very seriously.”
While that doesn’t tell us much or let us vet out whether fraud was actually committed or not, it’s worth keeping in mind again that YouTube takes very little action on this sort of thing generally speaking. By which I mean that the fact it took action in this case leads me to believe YouTube thinks it’s on very, very solid footing here.
As a result, the MUSICAL CREATOR account is down. Anyone going to its page is simply told that the account is offline due to “a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.”
Again, it’s hard to be completely assured that YouTube’s actions in this case are appropriate… but I suspect they are. And, purely as a matter of percentage cases, the fact is that YouTube and other platforms have historically been so vastly on the side of those issuing DMCA notices instead of the potential victims of fraud that it makes stories like this unique.
Even though they shouldn’t be.