YouTube says it has found a “smoking gun” to prove that a class-action lawsuit filed by Grammy award-winning musician Maria Schneider and Pirate Monitor Ltd was filed in bad faith. According to the Google-owned platform, the same IP address used to upload ‘pirate’ movies to the platform also sent DMCA notices targeting the same batch of content.
Schneider told the court that a number of her songs had been posted to YouTube without her permission. Pirate Monitor Ltd argued similarly, stating that pirated copies of its works had been uploaded to the site. Both further said they had been denied access to Content ID.
In its response, YouTube focused on Pirate Monitor, alleging that the company or its agents uploaded the ‘pirate’ movies and then claimed mass infringement, something which disqualified them from accessing Content ID.
“Through agents using pseudonyms to hide their identities, Pirate Monitor uploaded some two thousand videos to YouTube, each time representing that the content did not infringe anyone’s copyright. Shortly thereafter, Pirate Monitor invoked the notice-and-takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to demand that YouTube remove the same videos its agents had just uploaded.”
In all, YouTube processed nearly 2,000 DMCA notices it received by Pirate Monitor in the fall of 2019. All of the targeted videos had a uniform length, around 30 seconds each, generated from “obscure Hungarian movies”. They had been uploaded in bulk from users with IP addresses allocated to Pakistan.
“That alone was suspicious, there is no obvious reason why short clips from relatively unknown Hungarian-language movies should be uploaded to YouTube from accounts and devices in Pakistan,” YouTube writes.
Furthermore, YouTube notes that the videos were uploaded by users with similar names, such as RansomNova11 and RansomNova12, who gave the clips nondescript titles. Perhaps even more telling, the takedown notices were sent soon after the videos were uploaded, sometimes before the videos had been seen by anyone.
After considerable digging, YouTube found a smoking gun. In November 2019, amidst a raft of takedown notices from Pirate Monitor, one of the ‘RansomNova’ users that had been uploading clips via IP addresses in Pakistan logged into their YouTube account from a computer connected to the Internet via an IP address in Hungary,” YouTube explains.
“Pirate Monitor had been sending YouTube its takedown notices from a computer assigned that very same unique numeric address in Hungary. Simply put, whoever RansomNova is, he or she was sharing Pirate Monitor’s computer and/or Internet connection, and doing so at the same time Pirate Monitor was using the same computer and/or connection to send YouTube takedown notices.”