False ContentID Claims

Some of our customers have been experiencing a number of false ContentID claims recently. This is really frustrating for us as well as for our customers. The way it goes is this:

  1. Customer purchases music licence from us
  2. Customer uploads YouTube video
  3. Someone else (posing as a legitimate organisation) claims our music
  4. Customer cannot monetise video and emails us for advice
  5. We cannot lift the claim (since it’s not ours) and YouTube support only refers to the original claimant (who doesn’t even have a valid email address)

Our music is registered with AdRev, but since they didn’t place the claim, they have no way of lifting it. While wanting to avoid this scenario was one of the main reasons we registered our music with AdRev in the first place, it would in practice seem that AdRev (or any YouTube ContentID partner) is systematically unable to interfere with unassociated third party claims. With YouTube basically ignoring the authenticity of claims (and claimants), this is quickly turning into a bizarre Kafka-ish catch 22 predicament.

The YouTube Help section addresses the issue from a video creator point of view here:

However, it would seem like a long way to go, just to prove the uploader did “the right thing” from the very start. What I’d very much like to see is a smoother experience for our customers, where their videos with licensed music are being approved from the get-go and not subject to random copyright strikes. Wishful thinking? It just seems like however much all parties try to get it right (we, the customer, Envato, AdRev, YouTube), addressing the main vulnerability of the licensing (i.e. someone else claiming ownership) is a responsibility that falls between the cracks.

Have you experienced anything like this? How did you go about to solve it?

Hello Stockwaves,

Was the music from the illegitimate claim already registered with AdRev? (which would be scary as hell). Or was it an “unprotected” track?

I really… really… doubt Envato and Youtube have tried hard to get it right. All Envato has done is finally cave in after years of pressure from us authors to allow ContentID registration. And Youtube decided to put royalty-free music in ContenID limbo, not wanting to find a proper solution.

It’s crazy that these parties, major content providers, do not have open channels, so they can coordinate and find a standard solution, that would not be that hard to put in place.

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Fortunately, I haven’t experienced this (yet), but out of curiosity, were the claimed tracks some of your cover tracks, or original music?

Cover songs can be tricky, especially if it’s a famous track with thousands of different versions.

We registered the track with AdRev long ago.

Cover tracks, but I fail to see how “tricky” it could be for digital fingerprinting to recognise one recording from another. However in this case, obviously no “match” has been made with any other music than our own. I guess it works like this, anyone can submit any music to a ContentID partner and start collecting revenue. Once (if) they’re busted, start new account and try again. The culprit is the actual verification of ownership - no physical or other evidence is required to make a claim. Everything is really “up in the air” until someone hires a lawyer and takes it to court.

I’m not thinking this will be a huge problem that keeps on growing, but it is a real nuisance even if it just affects one out of 1,000 customers. What I think YouTube should do is restrict claiming to only “approved” entities - i.e. AdRev and other ContentID partners - and raise the bar a bit on who can do what. It’s usually not a problem that you CAN misuse the system, as long as you don’t let people in that really WANT to.

How do you know this? Who claims the track? Does it say “Title” by Stockwaves, but something different than AdRev under Claimant?

Covers can indeed confuse digital fingerprinting if they are similar enough. Let’s take two piano covers of “Rondo alla turca” for example. If two versions were played at the same tempo with similar piano sounds, and both registered with ContentID the system could mistake one for the other.

That might not be what happened here, but I’ve seen that scenario before.

Someone posing as “SOCAN”. I got in touch with the real SOCAN and they only manage performance rights within Canada. They say they never claim individual YouTube videos like this. The email address that the claimant offered to YouTube is using the SOCAN domain but the part before the @ is not valid.

So the most obvious clue that something fishy is going on, in this case, is that whoever is claiming copyright is not even using a real name or a real email address. The most annoying bit, for AJ authors like us, is that anyone can do this, and deprive our customers of monetising the video. It doesn’t even matter if the music is registered with AdRev or any other ContentID partner in the first place, it’s just a free for all first come first served.

The pace of fraudulent behavior is overwhelming. I hate to imagine it but these types of things are probably going to get worse for us. :angry:

A month ago or so I noticed a copyright claim on my own video, uploaded on my youtube channel.
The owner was Believe Digital, I followed the link of the matched track and it was a completely different track (mine is a trailer, the other was a metal track).

AdRev said that they couldn’t do anything but they gave me the email address of Believe Digital. I wrote them explaining the situation and the obvious wrong claim and they released it.

Bad part of the story is that it took 8 full days to have the claim removed (while AdRev is usually very fast, under 24 hours).

I forgot to add that the other track was using a sample which was very similar (but not identical) to an 8dio sound I used on my trailer (a sort of human distorted growl).

But it was super short, not repeated over the track, so I guess it was a complete YouTube match system fail.

It is also a nice reminder that these days is better to produce our own sound effects for music, rather than relying too much on commercial libraries.

Just to clarify, what I meant was: under CONTENT, does it say “Finger Song (or whatever track)” by Stockwaves or something different? Does it specify you as an artist, that it’s your version?

What I mean is that the registered track could be any version of the track, that is similar enough to yours. The system can’t always tell the difference. That’s what I meant with “cover songs can be tricky”.

Sure, I agree with that. This is what some of our customers have sent us:

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