How My Life's Work Disappeared Into A YouTube Loophole And Why You Could Be Next!
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I've spent the better part of 8 years uploading videos to youtube, with over 3000 completed works, garnering me a subscriber base of 23,000 and nearly 5 million views.
That was, until I received 3 false copyright strikes on the 7th of August, 30th of September and the 27 of October 2015 respectively.
I was then given 7 days notice by youtube that my channel would be deleted.
On the 28th of October,
I filed counter claims against 2 of the videos, knowing that they were published under fair use,
Then asked people privately to message the claimants and ask politely to retract their claims.
On the 29th of October,
I received a private message from a listener informing me that the remaining copyright claim was for a fair use documentary that had no copyright at all, so I appealed that 3rd and final complaint.
However, despite appealing all 3 false complaints, on the 30th of October my channel was taken down early for unknown reasons.
On the 31st of October
I notified people via Facebook that the channel was deleted,
As of today, 2nd November 2015, no response from youtube staff has been logged and the channel is still down.
The attempts by my listeners to contact the complainants and nicely ask them to remove the false copyright complaints has revealed that at least one of them filed 2 complaints maliciously with the intention of having me deleted off the internet for personal reasons as screen shots of conversations with this individual confirm:
Because of this malicious act, I’ve been irrevocably financially impacted,
Losing as much as 1/3rd of my monthly income and an estimated 70% of my web presence.
The reason why it has effected my web presence so substantially is that every single video that was linked, embedded, shared or posted now has dead links instead, meaning no one can see my content and obviously I cannot gather any revenue from it.
This includes my own radio website www.thevinnyeastwoodshow.com where each daily radio show I've produced dating back to 2010 is archived alongside the youtube version and all those links no longer work.
That’s just what’s happened to me directly, indirectly, this also effects the hundreds of people who've appeared in those videos.
This hurts the careers of well established guests who now have inactive links on their websites, some of these people were in very dire circumstances at the time of said interviews, some still are.
In many cases, the guests were relatively unknown activists and researchers that had never been interviewed on radio or appeared on youtube before.
The content of the videos and who flagged them is inconsequential in hindsight as it highlights a loophole in the YouTube copyright complaint form.
This "3 strikes and you're out" rule makes high profile you tubers who depend on it for part (if not the majority) of their income, vulnerable to financial sabotage by anyone malicious enough to file 3 false copyright complaints.
The law says that you have to have copyright filed with the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in order to establish the ability to claim legal copyright.
If the material you’re claiming on is not your legal copyright, then, according to YouTube’s copyright form you’ve perjured yourself under penalty of law for not being the owner, an agent representing the owner or an owner agent.
However, ANYONE can file claims for copyright on YouTube without producing any evidence that they hold said copyright, meaning that anyone can be taken down immediately regardless of if the complaints filed are legal.
Google did not do their due diligence in legally verifying the complainants copyright claims against me and by default, they're not protecting their clients, the YouTube community.
It only serves to destroy the YouTubers right to produce content for fear of a false copyright claim being filed against them, this policy must change!
I'm appealing to all YouTubers to make a big deal of this loophole, because, if it can happen to me, it can happen to any one of us, the worst part, is there's virtually no defence against this kind of attack because copyright counter-claims take up to 30 days minimum, so, even if your channel is successfully restored, the loss of income for a month or even several months can be quite extreme, additionally, there's no mechanism for compensation either, unless the disgruntled youtuber in question wishes to take Google itself to court for non-performance.
This is an issue that effects all YouTubers and if we are to maintain freedom of speech with our content we must close this loophole and force YouTube to change it's copyright complaint form to require the complainant to provide proof of claim that they hold legal copyright.
If they don't, then there must be immediate and enforceable penalties, for example, a US $10,000 fine per false copyright complaint and suspension of their YouTube channel permanently.
This will serve as an effective deterrent against false copyright complaints and ensure the YouTube community is safe from the abuse of this mechanism which should be there to protect its people's works, not provide an easy way to destroy them.
The Youtube Channel www.youtube.com/mrnewsguerillamedia represents what I consider to be my life’s work and what is happening to me can happen to anyone.
It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve worked,
It doesn’t matter how closely you follow the YouTube community guidelines,
It doesn’t even matter that you haven’t done anything wrong,
Even if you are a YouTube partner like me, you are just as vulnerable, because anyone motivated by malice or revenge that wishes to use this kind of attack, can do so very easily and face no consequences of any kind for their actions unless taken to court (at great expense) by the victim.
This whole incident has taken a very big toll on me personally, not just financially, the stress and anxiety of seeing my life's work disappear without knowing if it will ever return has been hugely traumatic.
I've been virtually unable to work since it happened, possibly because I can't see the point, when my work can be deleted this easily with virtually no recourse available.
For 8 years I've struggled with poverty, abuse and more trolling than I can recall in order to build my channel to the size it is, gaining more subscribers than every other New Zealand youtube channel that makes news, including every single mainstream media news outlet.
This was only achieved because I dedicated my entire being to giving the activists and researchers in my country and the world the coverage I felt they deserved, THAT, in my humble opinion, is the #1 most important use of youtube in the modern age, not to just have access to great entertainment, but also direct access to an audience by those with important issues to discuss whom are unable to afford to buy their own multinational media conglomerate.
In the meantime please go to www.youtube.com/eastwoodvincent and subscribe to my much smaller backup channel for further updates.
Please download this video and upload it to your own youtube channels and please send this message around the world, everybody who earns an income from YouTube needs to watch this video because again, if this can happen to me, it can happen to any one of you and that threat will remain until this loophole is closed.
If you want to help me, go to www.change.org and sign the petition to get my youtube channel restored. https://www.change.org/p/google-youtube-google-restore-vinny-eastwood-s-youtube-channel-now?recruiter=12933665&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink
This is Vinny Eastwood from www.thevinnyeastwoodshow.com thanks very much for listening, we'll see you again sometime.
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