October 30, 2020

YouTube Streamer Hit With Demonetization Over Copyright Claims To Numbers ’36’ And ’50’

We’ve long had discussions about how wide open for abuse and error YouTube’s copyright and demonetization practices are. Between the hamfisted method by which the accused is treated as guilty from the get go, to the impossibility of doing large-scale policing like this in a way that’s even moderately good, to the avenue for abuse that all of this creates, the fact is that YouTube’s stance on copyright is a mess. The end result of all of this is that creators on YouTube operate in constant peril of having their accounts suspended or video revenues taken by others with the recourse for fraud and error being convoluted and lengthy. For a site that is in the business of content creation, that’s a real problem.

And it’s a problem that can get quite ridiculous, as evidenced by one recent streamer who had two videos demonetized over claims by a third party that she infringed its copyrights… on the numbers “36” and “50.”

did you guys know you can copyright the number 36 pic.twitter.com/dnja297R73

— Anne Munition (@AnneMunition) January 24, 2020

by the way, also got copyright claims for the number 50 lmao pic.twitter.com/MhWcMD9l8i

— Anne Munition (@AnneMunition) January 24, 2020

Now, if you’re wondering who in the world is claiming trademarks on these two random numbers, it appears to be a company in the YouTube content creation business as well. Why they think they own the copyright on those two numbers and can use them to siphon the income of innocent YouTube streamers is anybody’s guess.

The claim, made by media company Fullscreen, was simply over the number “36.” There wasn’t anything else to do with what media they were trying to protect, or any timestamps, just that the number “36” was not AnneMunition’s property.

Fullscreen describe themselves as a “social content company for talent and brands” on their company website. They are owned by Otter Media, a subsidiary of WarnerMedia, who doesn’t hold the license for The Witcher 3, or any trademarks related to the number “36.”

This is problematic for AnneMunition’s YouTube channel, because while claims are active, Fullscreen takes all monetization for the video. While the videos are over two years old, with both having very little views, they still leave a stain on her YouTube record.

Now, I fully expect that YouTube will get this corrected fairly quickly, as there is nearly zero chance that there is anything remotely valid about this copyright claim. But that really isn’t the point. For YouTube’s system and process to so clearly favor the accuser, particularly given how much error and abuse there is in all of this, is not sustainable. At some point, content creators will simply have had enough and go somewhere else. That might be far off on the horizon, but it’s going to come eventually if some kind of change isn’t made on YouTube’s part.
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