Copyright trolling is a real issue. YouTube’s copyright claim tools are frequently abused by music publishers and record labels. Many are looking to profit off YouTube musicians anyway they can, knowing they won’t be challenged.

The sad truth is music publishers actually have people hired to scour the internet looking for any snippet of copyrighted music they can claim and make a profit from. Even YouTubers using the music under fair-use are often still hit with copyright claims. While creators can challenge the claim, YouTube has a rule where if you lose a copyright challenge, you will receive a channel strike. If you receive three strikes, your entire channel will be taken down for good. Even then, you can continue to dispute these claims, but it is often a long and arduous process.

Rick Beato shines a light on the fear scam headed by the music industry

In a recent video posted to his channel, Rick Beato discusses this issue. He, like many others, has experienced first hand the tactics used by the music industry. In one of his educational videos Beato demonstrates the John Lennon and Paul McCartney song, “She Said She Said.”

The video was quickly claimed, demonetizing the video. However, Beato was operating in fair use. Under fair use, you can use excerpts from copyrighted material if the sole purpose of its use is to educate. These kinds of claims are making it really hard for YouTube musicians to educate on the platform, Beato points out.

Video courtesy: Rick Beato

In Beato’s case, he was hit with a sharing revenue claim. That means Sony’s record label keeps about 66 percent of the revenue made by the video. Many of these claims are being sent manually. You can clearly see in the summary of Beato’s claim that the video was manually identified by the claimant. This means the record label was looking for videos like Beato’s to make money off of them.

“… somebody at Sony Publishing is looking at YouTube channels, specifically ones with a lot of subscribers, to see if there is any type of copyright claims they can make so they can rip off the YouTuber,” says Beato. “How do I know this? Because I’ve talked to people that work at all the different publishers.”

The music industry is looking to make money off YouTubers

In his video, Beato reveals he has talked to many different music publishers and knows that they make a lot of money off of copyright claiming YouTubers. “I have friends that work at labels that tell me ‘oh man, we make so much money from YouTubers because they can’t fight this stuff because they don’t dare fight it’” says Beato. That is the sad truth because if a YouTube musician’s channel, or any channel, fails too many times to appeal a copyright strike, they will lose their channel.

YouTube has made some effort to prevent this kind of abuse from record labels, but clearly it hasn’t done enough. In no way are we saying there should be no kind of copyright regulation on YouTube, but when the video comes under fair use, it’s a clear abuse of power without any kind of realistic recourse for creators.