Scammers Are Using YouTube's Copyright Strikes For Extortion Schemes

Instead of protecting their content creators with an automated copyright strike system, scammers on YouTube are using it as tool to threat smaller channels with open extortion schemes. While the loopholes in the system have been addressed a lot of times prior to this complain, YouTube is still not changing its hands-off approach towards dealing with DCMA issues.

This time two of the creators, ObbyRaidz and KenzoOG, publicly shared their concerns about a third copyright strike, which they received from an anonymous extortionist. A third strike can technically get a video deleted from YouTube and therefore the blackmailer offered to transfer an amount in his bitcoin wallet or adjoining PayPal account if the creator wants to reverse the strike.

Copyright strikes were introduced to protect the authorization of every type of content from pop songs to movies or even cinematic reels. If any of the YouTuber receives one or two strikes, the offending video gets deleted and depending upon the seriousness of the complain, YouTube also restricts channels from being able to monetize for a long time. Smaller channels cannot afford to lose such privilege as it can also further push them down in the feed, so the recovery process then can take months or a year.

When ObbyRaidz tried to appeal against the strikes, he couldn’t even reach out to a YouTube personnel for help. In case of an appeal being considered, the channel gets bound to not post anything for at least a month. But, the disadvantages don’t stop here as YouTube’s algorithm also punish creators at the same time for not posting in a specific time period. Their videos are pushed back in the feed where content is less visible.
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However, the strikes have been reversed and the videos are reinstated. But, it seems like that the problems will still continue. Despite of having millions of followers, ObbyRaidz could only gather YouTube’s attention after number of tweets went viral aiming at him and KenzoOG. Moreover, the Reddit comments also forced YouTube to take action.

Once YouTube reviewed the strike, they took down the notices, terming them as abusive and reinstated that the company has zero tolerance for the submission of fraudulent legal requests.

The biggest problem lies in the system which gives more importance to the accused rather than accuser. The policies of platform trust the assumption that only pilfered content would bother to complain. They do warn users on their instruction page about misusing the process but that only stands valid for a minority of more innocent or optimistic people.

YouTube still prefers to not lose anything from angry copyright holders while ignoring the fact that little channels suffer the most in extortion schemes, who together make YouTube a better place.

They will have to improve the striking process with ways that could effectively fight unlicensed and pirated material before scammers create more trouble for the platform.

Copyright strikes on YouTube a tool for extortion?

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