Scott Tibbs

The unfair copyright process at YouTube

By Scott Tibbs, May 21, 2020

I have heard a lot about the copyright claims process at YouTube. There are a lot of people who make their money from YouTube videos, and taking away monetization of their videos is a deep financial hit for them. I do not think people realize how grossly unfair the process is unless you have uploaded content that has been unfairly claimed. In researching this, I discovered that a comedy review site called "The Cinema Snob" actually had a copyright strike on its account for two people in a car discussing a movie they had seen, without using any footage from the movie itself - which can be done under fair use.

I help a church in a neighboring county manage their YouTube and Facebook pages. When a company claimed copyright on two teenage girls singing the public domain Christian hymn "I come to the garden alone," I disputed the claim. I was shocked by the copyright "review" process. YouTube actually allows the people who make a fraudulent claim to be the ones to review it! This is obviously an unfair process.

There are many people on the Right who are calling for government to intervene to stop social media from censoring conservatives. While I have been skeptical of that movement, this is an area where we need the federal government to intervene. Copyright is a legal concept, not something that should be decided by someone who makes a claim on something to steal monetization from an independent content creator.

Now, the church does not monetize its videos and has no intention to do so. That is not the point. What matters here is the principle at stake. If Google decided it did not want the sermon on YouTube for whatever reason and took it down, they are within their rights. But it should not be legal to give a third party with no legitimate copyright claim the ability to steal monetization of a video. This is not protecting copyright - this is outright theft and should be illegal. Congress must intervene and protect independent creators.

Opinion Archives

E-mail Scott

Scott's Links

About the Author