Two men have been indicted by a grand jury for running a massive YouTube Content ID scam that netted the pair more than $20m. Webster Batista Fernandez and Jose Teran managed to convince a YouTube partner that the pair owned the rights to 50,000+ tracks and then illegally monetized user uploads over a period of four years.
YouTube previously said that it paid $5.5 billion in ad revenue to rightsholders from content claimed and monetized through Content ID but the system doesn’t always work exactly as planned.
Over the years, countless YouTube users have complained that their videos have been claimed and monetized by entities that apparently have no right to do so but, fearful of what a complaint might do to the status of their accounts, many opted to withdraw from battles they feared they might lose.
Complaints are not hard to find. Large numbers of YouTube videos uploaded by victims of the scam dating back years litter the platform, while a dedicated Twitter account and a popular hashtag have been complaining about MediaMuv since 2018.
As early as 2017, complaints were being made on YouTube/Google’s support forums, with just one receiving more than 150 replies.
“I want to make a claim through this place, since a few days ago a said company called MEDIAMUV IS STEALING CONTENT FROM MY CHANNEL AND FROM OTHER USERS, does anyone know something about said company?” one reads.
“[I] investigated and there is nothing in this respect. I only found a channel saying that several users are being robbed and that when they come to upload their own songs, MEDIAMUV detects the videos as theirs.”