YouTube let a contentID scammer steal a popular video


Originally published at:


Is it possible to build a “successful” contentID-like system and still preserve anything like anonymity and no upfront investment?

I have my doubts.

In most schemes in “real-life”, scamming is reduced by making it very expensive to publish and very expensive to challenge, which means that there are few enough cases to make it feasible to spend real resources judging the merits of a case.

The mechanics of a free on-line services make the ratio of costly human intervention to number of abuses too small to prevent rampant injustices. This is a problem that (in my opinion) won’t be solved because it can’t be solved.

Given the cost of justice, the trade-off seems likely to be free vs. just. Place yourself where you like on the spectrum (although there’s no 100% just setting…), but understand the closer to free, the less we resources there are to (try to) adjudicate fairly.


Perfect timing to show the EU that content filters do not work!


Where is the link to the petition?


Be careful what you wish for.

I suspect that you are assuming that if content filters don’t work, then there would be no content filters.

I suspect that for most of those making decisions, if they are convinced content filters don’t work, then many will choose not to allow content sharing (of a free or anonymous nature).


Pretty shocking stuff…

Slightly less shocking, but nevertheless, is the type of music this guy is creating that’s racking up 100 MM views.

Not wanting to be a hater, but I suddenly feel like I’ve dropped into a parallel universe whereby
content is only allowed to go viral if it’s extremely average or un-noteworthy.

Anyways, Merry Christmas - each to their own.


You know, saying you don’t want to be a hater, and then calling someone else’s work “shocking”, “extremely average” and “un-noteworthy” is kinda, well, contradictory.

Oh, but you threw in the “each to their own” at the end, so I guess you’re good. Phew.


This is not an isolated scam. There are people making a living off other peoples work with almost impunity thanks to a one sided YouTube policy.

3 fake copy infringement claims and a person looses his/her channel.
These people loose all revenue for a video for just unsubstantiated claims.
Messed up stuff.


The problem is there are absolutely no consequences for making false claims through ContentID. Therefore, it’s a treasure trove for scammers who can find ways to automate a fake copyright claim routine through which they can obtain funds through the works of others with nothing bad happening to them no matter what, yet the money they scam off legitimate content creators is theirs for the taking. YouTube always sides with scammers so this problem is only going to get worse before it gets better.


Yeah, a bit Grinchy of me for sure, but I’m genuinely shocked by both

  • the scamming,
  • and that something I’d class as ‘library music’ could get so many views.


In order to “always side with the scammers”, they would have to be able to tell which take-down requests were from scammers and which were from people trying to block a scammer from stealing their music. In other words, they would have a system that always tells them what the just outcome is, and then do the opposite.

While this is narratively satisfying, a more plausible explanation is that they haven’t found algorithms that are able to discern the scammers from the good guys with 100% accuracy, and we only hear about the examples of where these algorithms fail when they affect people with a large audience.

How much should a poor musician have to risk when he realizes his music is being stolen on YouTube? A $1,000 dollars? $10,000? Remember, even if you own the music, you may deemed “not the owner” and lose your stake. Is the idea that only the wealthy get to protect their work?

There is no simple answer.


It’s almost as if taste in music is completely subjective.


The system is already designed so that only the wealthy get to protect their work and make false copyright claims against content creators who have to shill shirts just to keep the lights on. Scammers are just bottom feeders riding the coattails of the rich who can already scoop up ad revenue from regular YouTube posters at will regardless of fair use law.

I say “scammer” to distinguish them as not being wealthy, but there’s really not much difference other than the lawyers they can afford.


“Premium mediocre” seems the most relevant perjorative, but I don’t think it quite gets at what this is (or is fair).


“Like the music from the Friskies Adventureland ad, but less edgy”


Man, at 6:34 in the video my perception about YouTube took a 180 degree turn.


The problem is not that scammers win every time. It’s the asymmetry between a legitimate content creator vs a scammer that makes it a near win for invested scammers. The narrative here is that the system sucks at identifying and depowering bad faith actors before they can do damage to legitimate content owners/creators.

remember that a content creator can only create so much content and can only create it in a limited timescale. And the creator often cares about their content. This is their brand.

A griefer can grief/bother/scam/harrass/harm/Rob many creators in a much shorter time than the creators can produce content. And the scammer only has to invest a small portion of their effort to do this and they do not care about the content.

Has Sony been banned yet for blocking classical music?


That’s the big disparity. If you’re publishing on youtube, three strikes and you’re out. If you’re claiming content on youtube, there is no concept of strikes at all.

While I have to be realistic enough to see that “three strikes” wouldn’t work for the likes of Sony, there really should be some ‘tripwire’ if a high enough percentage of your claims are invalid.


Here’s what I don’t understand. YouTube paid money to a crook who didn’t actually have a copyright on the work. How is that not against existing copyright law? If I open a theater where other people could come and profit by showing movies they don’t own, I’m still helping them break the law even if I don’t charge them to use my theater.

I get YouTube, Google and Alphabet are unlikely to actually answer for their crimes because they can tie up anyone with standing to sue them until the sun expands. But I don’t understand how what they’re doing is not against the law. And since they’re doing it systematically, with an algorithm that aids the theft of both copyrighted and public domain work by design irrespective of their bullshit claims, I would think that would open them up to a class-action lawsuit, but waive the right to sue them is probably buried in their terms of service somewhere under beware of the leopard.


I guess it would be permitted by the clickwrap contract the copyright proprietor agreed to when they unploaded it to youtube.