Diligence is often needed in order for people here in New York and elsewhere to protect their intellectual property. With the advent of platforms such as YouTube, it has become even more of a challenge. For this reason, the video streaming platform allows users and viewers to report so-called “YouTubers” when they believe a copyright law violation occurs. Doing so serves as a sort of community policing in order to stop protected materials being used without permission.
While this helps protect people with copyrighted material, it could also be misused by fellow YouTubers or others. In fact, recently, some YouTubers experienced a type of blackmail by another individual who lodged copyright reports with YouTube in order to put a user’s video in jeopardy of being taken down. The platform uses the “three strikes and you’re out” rule.
The would-be blackmailer lodged two complaints with YouTube and then demanded money from the owners of the videos to keep him or her from lodging the final copyright violation complaint. When users refused, their videos were reported and taken down by YouTube. Once the scam was revealed, the platform rightly allowed the videos to be reinstated.
With so much of people’s lives and livelihoods being online, it is not hard to imagine that such a scam could end up costing otherwise honest and rule-abiding users. The people who owned the materials may never even have known that a problem existed. New York residents who upload videos to YouTube may want to be careful when they receive notice of copyright law violations since the report could be a scam aimed at soliciting blackmail payment.