YouTubers, Copyrights, and the Abuse of Technological Security Tools

May 04, 2016

By: Julián David Ruíz Rondan

An unusual case has surfaced that shows us the differences between a YouTuber and a Peruvian television station. In early February, 2016, The Peruvian YouTuber Andysane published a video on his Facebook page in which he staged a “public lawsuit” against Latina, a Peruvian television producer. Latina was taking all the credit for and pocketing the royalties from a video that the YouTuber authored.

It all began with a feature that Latina broadcasted about the most successful Peruvian YouTubers. They included the video “Exposing Golddiggers in Peru” in the segment, which was posted by Andysane. Up to then, everything was fine. But the television stationg subsequently decided to upload the feature story to YouTube and protect it with a Google tool called Content ID. This allows users to inform YouTube that parts of their videos are original and to track videos on the web page that are similar to the video protected by Content ID. 

Latina expressed that all of the content in the story was theirs. The Content ID tool automatically identified the video “Exposing Golddiggers in Peru,” which appears on Andysane’s YouTube page, as belonging to Latina. YouTube then sent Latina a notice giving them three options: to do nothing, to delete the video found by Content ID from Andysane’s page, or to leave the video but redirect the monetization of the video to the supposed author protected by Content ID, namely Latina. The Peruvian television station chose the third option, which was obviously not to Andysane’s liking.

It is important to point out that YouTubers use the YouTube platform as a source of income.Uploading videos generate web traffic which is measured by the number of followers, the number of times they see the video, and, of course, by the number of times the internet user clicks on ads that appear around and on top of the videos. Based upon this, the amount of money that a YouTube account owner is due to receive is calculated. In this particular case, what happened was that the income that Andysane should have received by his video “Exposing Golddiggers in Peru” didn’t go into his account. Instead, they were diverted to the coffers of the television station Latina, even though they were directly generated by a video of which Andysane was the legal author. 

After the “public lawsuit”, Latina apologized to the YouTuber and published a statement in which it publicly apologized for the error. 

We researched the Content ID tool and it is worth mentioning that if a user received a “takedown notice,” he/she has the right to refute the claim and prove that he/she has the right to publish the video in question. Furthermore, if the rebuttal is not accepted, the user still has the right to appeal the decision. This all occurs within the YouTube platform. Additionally, the platform offers the user tools to remove any claims presented against them due to copyright breach. 

Without a doubt, this case allows us to see how self-regulation and control mechanisms are ubiquitous on the web and in social networks, who invest in tools to protect intellectual property. Perhaps, they are also doing it to limit their liability. 

Contacts: 

Tatiana Carrillo 

tcarrillo@lloredacamacho.com 

Julián Ruíz 

jruiz@lloredacamacho.com

Follow us in Twitter and LinkedIn.