YouTube has settled a longstanding DMCA dispute with a man from Nebraska. Christopher Brady used YouTube DMCA takedown notices to extort channel owners.
YouTube has long received criticism for how it handles takedown requests under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Channels that receive three copyright infringement strikes can be banned, with creators effectively losing their livelihood. Scammers have taken advantage of the situation by extorting channel owners for payments via PayPal or bitcoin.
Last month, YouTube sued Christopher Brady and accused him of violating the DMCA by making false claims. Brady would pretend to be the legitimate owner of the content and issue two copyright strikes against unsuspecting channels. Then he would send a message extorting payment to avoid a third strike that could ban the channel entirely.
YouTube submitted an agreed judgment and permanent injunction in Nebraska federal court today. The order prevents Brady from filing fake copyright claims — he also agreed to pay $25,000 for his misconduct. Brady must also publicly apologize to everyone he extorted using the YouTube DMCA takedown platform.
“I, Christopher L. Brady, admit that I sent dozens of notices to YouTube falsely claiming that material uploaded by YouTube users infringed my copyrights. I apologize to the YouTube users that I directly impacted by my actions, to the YouTube community, and to YouTube itself,” the apology reads.
Courts have yet to sign off on the proposed judgement and injunction, but that could happen soon. Right now, it’s not clear if affected users will receive any compensation for the misuse of the copyright system. YouTube says it’s happy with the outcome and will “continue to work to prevent abuse of our systems.”
The copyright takedown system YouTube currently employs has rightfully drawn criticism over the years. The fact that some random troll from Nebraska was able to extort several smaller YouTube channels is proof of the system’s flaws. Indeed, this is a broken system — one that can’t be fixed with $25,000 and a ‘sorry’.