I have a question for the folks at YouTube. Usually, if a user receives multiple (3 or more) DMCA takedown notices, the associated account is suspended for repeated violations of their copyright policy.
Two weeks ago I wrote about a YouTube account holder, “MyTrailerIsRich,” who makes money piggy-backing off the work of others–uploading and monetizing movie trailers without permission from the rights holders. Since then, I know for a fact that at least four different distributors have submitted a total of at least 8 takedown notices for trailers uploaded (and monetized) by this user without permission.
Yet, as of this morning, the channel (with its 50 million plus views) is still online and earning income for YouTube and the user. Why? The user hasn’t filed a dispute (counter-notice) to protest the takedowns. Could it be because this particular channel has attracted so many views (and so much income)? Could it be that the intermediary that uploaded and claimed the content (Wizdeo) has a special relationship with YouTube? If you look at YouTube’s criteria for account termination you will note that it’s conveniently vague:
Accounts determined to be repeat infringers may be subject to termination. Users with suspended or terminated accounts are prohibited from creating new accounts or accessing YouTube’s community features.
It’s been my experience with YouTube that some users have had their account terminated for 3 violations. It’s also the figure bandied around in Google’s own product forums.
Yet, to date, MyTrailerIsRich’s has received at least 8 and remains online. I’d love to ask someone at YouTube about this, but unfortunately, they won’t respond to email queries. My guess, it’s all about the money. Perhaps YouTube should update its terms to clarify matters and say:
Accounts determined to be repeat infringers may be subject to termination (dependent on how much income they generate for us).