Fighting Invalid Copyright Claims…The Good Fight?

YT Copyright

A little while ago, I received an email from YouTube stating that a copyright claim had been filed against a video from a live-stream from back in September 2014. It was of a fan-made Mega Man game called Super Mega Man 3, and so it wasn’t strange for me to receive a claim against it. However, what was strange was that the claim was from someone called “Dig Dis,” who goes around making video game music remixes on YouTube. He claimed that the credits theme from this fan-made title was taken from his own work, but in fact the credit theme was from Duck Tales for the original NES, which actually was a good choice by the game designer since that was an actual Capcom musical tune. Dig Dis basically remixed the theme (in a techno remix) but was making false claims.

I disputed the claim, naturally, and gave precise reasons for why it was not valid. However, a few days later I received an email with the information listed above. Basically, it said that the claimant reviewed the dispute and turned it down, and if I want to appeal that decision, I may get a copyright strike on my account. Since when does the claimant himself (or herself) get to be the judge of a copyright dispute? Apparently, YouTube doesn’t research this stuff at all.

To add further insult to injury, on the behest of a friend I reached out to Capcom and let them know what was going on, and promptly received an email that basically stated that because the song was found in a fan-made title, it was out of their hands to go after the person making the claim. They said that this was something I would have to do myself if it meant something to me. I asked if it mattered that it was their own music, but they insisted that this was from a fan-made work and so they would not pursue the invalid claim.

Ultimately, I’m thinking that this isn’t as weird as it seems. It feels like this is sort of becoming the “new normal,” where people can go around making false claims and YouTube (or Twitch, or whomever else) won’t really stick up for the little people out there who are just doing this for fun, or a small income on the side.

My choice was whether I wanted to take the video down, so no one could improperly receive money from it, or leave it up so that fans could still enjoy it, but this other person could take a few dollars in invalid ad revenue. I was tempted to leave it up, feeling that taking it down was just punishing people who wanted to enjoy some Mega Man goodness, but I was upset enough that I just deleted the entire video. It made me that mad.

This type of stuff really gets to me, because even though it wasn’t something that a lot of money was tied into, what if it had millions of views? What if I needed that for a living, and this person was taking that money away? Well, I bet this does happen to people who do need the money and get tons of views, and that’s what makes it very, very wrong. It’s sad that no one would stick up for it.

Well, everyone loses here, because that video is gone for good, and with the backlog of current stuff I need to cover, it’s unlikely I’ll come back to that one any time soon, if ever.

Jessica Brown

Retro Games and Technology Editor. She'll beat pretty much every Mega Man game without breaking a sweat.