YouTube Creates Financial Incentive for Counternotices that Profit YouTube


You knew it was coming.  Google always finds a way to profit from copyright infringement.

Google has found a way to “listen” to the exactly 86,000 form comments the Copyright Office received on its DMCA study of the corrupted “notice and takedown” system at the core of Google’s business model.

Now YouTube has announced that it will hold money on ContentID claims unless the YouTube account files a counternotification, including ones based on the poster’s interpretation of fair use. The next step for a creator or rightsowner to dispute a counternotification is to file a federal copyright infringement case.  That’s the most likely meaning of “dispute process” in the little YouTube picture below.

Since independent artists can’t afford to file those cases (and even major labels rarely do), even if the artist has complied with the murky requirements of “considering” fair use (itself a murky concept), it’s unlikely that these cases will ever be filed.

If the lawsuit isn’t filed, then YouTube releases the money.  And of course keeps its share.


So YouTube will continue to monetize infringing content–stop right there.  What does that mean?  That means that YouTube’s share of the revenue from monetization continues to flow to YouTube.  And if the dispute is “resolved” in favor of a rightsholder who does not want to monetize, who gets the money?

That’s a rhetorical question.

But here’s who is not mentioned in YouTube’s latest insult to creators–advertisers.  Does YouTube ask advertisers if they want to be caught up in all this mishigas?

And hasn’t YouTube just created a financial incentive for infringers to file counternotifications regardless of the merits if they know that the money will keep coming in after this hiccup of ContentID is pushed to the side?

While YouTube says that ContentID claims are disputed “less than 1% of the time”, Google has said publicly that they took down 180,000,000 videos from YouTube in 2014 alone.  (Google v. Hood at p. 8)  Given the scale at which YouTube rips us off…sorry…operates, it’s entirely plausible that “less than 1%” is tens of millions of videos–and dollars.

As usual, Google is bending the rules and flexing its litigation muscle to protect its crony capitalist position at the top of the corrupted DMCA food chain.