Copyright Rendering Youtubers Helpless


YouTube is a wonderful place for viewers and content creators, allowing for passion, creativity, and entertainment. Some content creators found their calling on YouTube and use it as a significant source of income making videos for a large audience. This income, however, is constantly put at risk of being entirely void due to current copyright rules on YouTube.

Currently on YouTube, any video with copyrighted music in it is automatically demonetized by YouTube’s algorithm so the creator cannot make money off of copyrighted content. However, any company can make a claim to a video or music used in a video whenever they want, and YouTube does not make sure they actually own it. 

This means that if a content creator on YouTube has an intro or outro song in their video, and a company that does not own the song decides to file a claim anyway, the content creator will get hundreds of emails from YouTube saying every single video with that song in it is now demonetized. 

Recently, the YouTube channel Th3Jez had several of their videos claimed this way. SonyATV had claimed 24 of their videos for a sample of a song that Th3Jez took from YouTube’s “official” audio library. This library is offered by YouTube as an easy source for content creators to find no copyright music for their videos to avoid this exact situation. 

The song in question was ‘Dreams’ by Joakim Karud, which was royalty-free. This song happens to use a sample from Kenny Burrell Quarter’s ‘Weaver of Dream’ which is not royalty-free. Th3Jez, many of his fans, and thousands of other people who have faced this issue see this as a very grey area. 

The unfair claiming of videos, and by extent, the income of the Creator, does not end there. Two days after 24 videos were claimed by SonyATV, more emails came in all at the same time by YouTube to say 57 of his videos were mass claimed by SonyATV, all due to a song that SonyATV does not even own. 

While a company like SonyATV can mass claim a sample like this one, a creator cannot mass appeal the claims. Appealing a copyright claim is something a creator can do if some of their content is claimed unfairly; it will go under review and if the content does not have the claimed sample in it, the video will be monetized again. If it does have the copyrighted sample in it, the appeal will be denied. 

If Th3Jez were to tediously appeal all of the claims, if any three of the 57 appeals were denied, they would lose their channel. There is a lot on the line here – Th3Jez now has to work with a large portion of his income in his YouTube channel at risk, and take time away from his day of making more content to solve a massive issue that was caused because a company simply claimed something that wasn’t theirs. 

Th3Jez Tweeted about this, and said he was “feeling pretty helpless,” and I do not blame him. At this point, there is not much to do except either live with the massive cut to income from those videos and give it to SonyATV (who doesn’t deserve it) or contact people at YouTube and see if they will understand and help him get his videos monetized again without risking his channel being shut down. 

Cases like Th3Jez’s are not uncommon, and thousands of YouTubers face these issues, with few of them actually being subject to stealing content. Although these copyright rules seem to do nothing but harm content creators and generally make life harder, they are necessary. YouTube needs to do its part in protecting owners of copyrighted content from being used to gain profit. 

Recently, YouTube has proposed a solution to this issue, or at least measures that will take some pressure off of Content Creators. This new policy will make owners of copyrighted content cite the exact spot in the video that their content is in, and for how long. This increased specificity will greatly reduce the number of claims for content that should be royalty-free, although it is still possible. 

However, this still does not solve all of the issues content creators have with YouTube copyright policy. YouTube is still obligated by law to work with copyright owners when a video is claimed, cutting all monetary gain from the video until the claim is resolved.