Music Tech

YouTube Tells Music Copyright Infringer To Contact Himself To Resolve Dispute

YoutubeBy Tim Cushing, republished from Techdirt.

When bots handle copyright enforcement, things are sometimes going to get screwed up. YouTube's various algorithms do a lot of heavy lifting, sorting through the thousands of hours of video being uploaded every minute. Sooner or later, the bots hit a snag, as any automated process will during multiple iterations.

But Hugh Atkin's video, which utilizes John William's instantly-recognizable opening theme from Star Wars, triggered a copyright claim from SME (Sony Music Entertainment)… and a conundrum. (h/t to Nate Hoffelder)

Here's what he received for resolution advice from the YouTube helper bots.


Thank you for your message.

The claimant has reviewed your dispute and reaffirmed its claim to your video. Specifics of the policy applied to your video are in the Copyright Notices section of your YouTube account.

You may click the underlined link to the right of the video's Edit menu to learn more about this claim.

If you are certain this claim was made in error, you may be able to appeal the claimant’s decision. Eligible users will see an “I want to appeal a disputed claim” link. Please note that an appeal may result in a copyright strike and the removal of your video.

Alternately, you may resolve this issue directly with the claimant at [MY EMAIL ADDRESS]

Please note that YouTube does not mediate copyright disputes.

The YouTube Copyright Team

That's right. The dispute notices are coming from inside the house!

Whatever glitched in the dispute process managed to make Atkin's both the master of his own destiny and the victim of his own copyright dispute. The problem can't be resolved as it stands, at least not to Atkin's satisfaction. SME has reaffirmed its claim and lobbed the ball back into Atkin's court, apparently permanently.

Atkin has since fired off a reply to YouTube pointing out the error and asking for contact info he doesn't already possess (in every definition of the word), but so far has heard nothing back.

Now, Atkin could turn this over to YouTube via the appeals process, but that's largely automated and would result in a ruling in SME's favor (Sony Music distributes John William's Star Wars soundtrack work). Sony seems to have a valid claim as far as the use of William's track. Running this through YouTube's appeal process is almost guaranteed to earn Atkin a "strike."

Atkin appears to want to work around this automation (since it doesn't seem to be working properly) by attempting direct communication, but Sony's response team will probably be even less "human" about the alleged infringement than YouTube's bot swarm (both those scanning for infringement and those "manning" the help lines).

Unfortunately, a "strike" may be inevitable. No matter how well Atkin pleads his case to himself, he doesn't have the power to grant himself the permissions he's seeking. And with no contact information forthcoming, the clock will run out before he can extricate himself from this loop.


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