YouTube's Copyright System Caused Creators To Be Blackmailed

Dhir Acharya - Feb 13, 2019

YouTube's Copyright System Caused Creators To Be Blackmailed

The scammer submitted fake copyright flags to YouTube, forcing creators to give money so that their accounts would not be terminated.

A scammer was discovered to manually take advantage of the automated copyright system of YouTube to hold take money from YouTube channels.

In particular, the scammer reported videos as fake copyright, bringing the risk of automatic deactivation to at least two YouTube accounts following the “three strikes” policy. Notably, even YouTube employees couldn’t find the scam through double checking the claim.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho A Scammer Used YouTube’s Copyright System to Ransom Creators

Gaming channel ObbyRaidz, which has over 8,000 subscribers, received a message:


The message came from someone nicknamed VengefulFlame, who sent a similar message to another gaming channel, Kenzo, asking for $300 via PayPal or $200 in Bitcoin. VengefulFlame also threatened to double the payment if receivers ignored the message.

YouTube said that, initially, its anti-abuse teams marked these the requests as suspicious, and required further information. VengefulFlame got away with that by complying this request and the videos were taken down.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho A Scammer Used YouTube’s Copyright System to Ransom Creators

The message from VengefulFlame

According to YouTube, the company later reinstated the videos, deleted the strikes, as well as removed the accounts making requests from the site. However, Kenzo and ObbyRaidz were the only to tweet about the problem.


Policy analyst Katharine Trendacosta, Electronic Frontier Foundation, expressed her surprise at how long it took scammers to abuse the system.


For example, in a genuinely bizarre scenario, four separate copyright holders filed claims against a professor’s white noise video.

As stated by Trendacosta, copyright in the US is extremely uneven between on YouTube and off. For example, a company can submit as many takedown notices to DMCA as their wish, but when a creator disputes the claim on YouTube, the company have to hand in all required information to begin a lawsuit. Here, it has two options: dropping the matter or suing the creator. But suing against a multimillion-dollar firm is scary, so creators rather give in.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho A Scammer Used YouTube’s Copyright System to Ransom Creators

A video was taken after VengefulFlame's claim

While YouTube appeared to take immediate action in the Kenzo and ObbyRaidz matter, the creators are not satisfied. ObbyRaidz said that the firm is simply putting a band-aid on a larger problem. He worries this kind of scam can be harmful to other YouTube channels.

A small gaming channel had an interview with ObbyRaidz, saying the system is apparently flawed and needs changes while talking about the copyright system of YouTube.

VengefulFlame didn’t respond to request for an interview via the email they used to conduct the scam. Both victim accounts didn’t, either.


Sort by Newest | Popular

Next Story