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You can own something, put it on YouTube, and still get a copyright-violation notice.
YouTube’s copyright-protection system is still hurting legitimate creators. VVVVVV and Super Hexagon developer Terry Cavanagh revealed earlier today that the video-sharing site has reinstated a claim against a video he uploaded. The clip in question is a gameplay video for Cavanagh’s game VVVVVV, which he owns the rights to. That didn’t stop someone else from claiming it at their own.
In December, when Cavanagh got the original claim, he went through the steps to dispute it. This morning, however, he found out that YouTube had rejected his appeal and reinstated the claim.
Who made the claim? A company called Indmusic, which is a partner of TuneCore, a company that helps independent musicians sell their tracks on place like iTunes. TuneCore also helps composers collect royalties from YouTube.
Magnus Pålsson, the man responsible for the music in VVVVVV, uses TuneCore to sell his work.
“You’re owed money every time people use your music in their YouTube videos,” TuneCore explains on its website. “We’ll help you collect the most money from YouTube when you use TuneCore for publishing and distribution.”
Sometimes people use music they don’t own in YouTube videos, and TuneCore will file claims against those clips to collect the revenue for the composer. However, this isn’t really a service when the site goes after the composer or the people they’ve given permissions to.
This is something that Pålsson confronted TuneCore with in an exchange on Twitter in December:
Pålsson went on to explain to the company that he doesn’t want to have to provide a whitelist. He wants all people playing VVVVVV on YouTube to have the capability to monetize their content without fear of a copyright strike. Obviously, this is not something TuneCore is prepared to handle, as evidenced by the reinstated claim on Cavanagh’s YouTube clip.
We’ve reached out to TuneCore to ask why it went through with the claim.
YouTube has struggled for years with copyright law — especially when it comes to gaming. That came to a head in December, when the site’s automated copyright violation-finding bot, Content ID, began flagging dozens of videos that feature gameplay. Many of the developers of the claimed games had already given full permission to the YouTube community to monetize the games, but that didn’t stop other companies, like TuneCore, from making claims of their own.