AdAge reports that music videos vanished from YouTube on Monday because a 13-year-old Pakistani kid (using a YouTube Partner account called iLCreation) flagged VEVO channels with copyright claims.
It was widely reported this week that music videos for artists including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Shakira and others were temporarily taken down. But how did one person allegedly remove such huge clips that already had hundreds of millions of views?
Apparently iLCreation’s YouTube account had been granted official YouTube Partner status, thus enabling the user to make the copyright claim. Once the claim had been flagged, YouTube automatically removed the clips for review. Although the clips were quickly restored by Monday afternoon, Universal Music Group (which represents Bieber, Lady Gaga and Rihanna) and Sony (whose artist Shakira was also affected by the copyright claims) have yet to hear back personally from YouTube.
What’s the endemic cause of this problem? I propose two issues:
1) YouTube has been sued so many times that it’s tried to streamline copyright claims, thus making it easy, fast and efficient for a copyright owner to identify and remove infringements.
2) YouTube has worked hard not to segregate “Partners.” So while top brands and major media companies enjoy distinct but quiet privileges over amateur creators, there are some equalities between a solo, independent artist and a studio… apparently the ability to “instantly flag” and remove infringements is equally shared.
Since YouTube can’t likely afford to change problem one, I’d expect changes in the latter category. I’d be surprised, for instance, if in 6 months I can auto-yank an unauthorized version of “Farting in Public.” In fact I didn’t even know I had that ability, assuming I did. We’ll probably see the top tier of studios, networks, producers retain the right to “shoot first and ask questions later” on potentially “ripped” content. But the rest of us, thanks to the iLCreation stunt, will likely suffer from a delay that validates the claims.