YouTube’s copyright strikes have become a tool for extortion

Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge:

An anonymous blackmailer has caught at least two YouTube creators in a scheme involving cash ransoms and esoteric copyright laws.

Last week, both creators shared stories of how their channels were being threatened with a third copyright strike — and the possible termination of their channels — from an anonymous extortionist. The scammer offered to reverse the strikes in return for payment to a bitcoin wallet.

It’s a balance issue. Copyright strikes let copyright holders protect their content, but open the doors to this sort of extortion.

Those who are able to appeal the strikes don’t have it much easier. The process, when successful, can take at least a month — and during that time, “you can’t upload at all,” according to Pierce Riola, a voice actor whose YouTube channel been hit by similar extortion scams in the past.

Interesting read. Reminds me of the issue in the iOS App Store, where copycats copy successful apps, down to the pixel, and the original creators are stuck between the hard rock of legally pursuing the copiers, or pressing Apple for a takedown, which can take time, if successful at all.

In the YouTube channel example, should this be YouTube’s responsibility to fix? In the case of the App Store, does Apple have a responsibility to prevent or repair the app copying scourge?