YouTubers could face blackmail re copyright infringement

Glenn W. Peterson

The internet now provides a steady income for many people in California and across the country. Just a decade or so ago, no one would have thought that people could make hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a year posting videos on YouTube. Now, there seem to be others out there who are trying to get popular channels shut down by claiming the owners commit copyright infringement.

YouTube tends to take this type of activity seriously, as it should. While there are some YouTubers who do violate copyright laws on occasion, others do not. Even so, all it takes is for someone to make an accusation for the popular video giant to mark a strike against the channel owner. Three strikes and a YouTube channel can be shut down.

No one is saying that protecting other people’s copyrights should not be done. However, the problem is that YouTube has not always done enough of an investigation to make sure that the allegations are true. In one case in another state, it turned out that the owner of a channel with two alleged strikes was the victim of blackmail. Someone lodged the two complaints and then threatened to lodge a third unless he paid the person filing the complaints.

The Omaha, Nebraska man’s tweet about the blackmail went viral and YouTube cleared the strikes. The question is whether it should have gotten this far. The company does have a responsibility to those with the copyrighted material, but some would argue it also has a responsibility to those who own channels on its platform.

Making a living on the internet has become a viable option for many California residents, and most of them are careful not to violate YouTube’s rules in order to continue doing so. Allegations of copyright infringement can turn into costly litigation in order to clear someone’s name and potentially threaten their livelihood. Anyone who faces a possible lawsuit regarding this issue may want to get ahead of it as quickly as possible.