A scammer used YouTube’s highly controversial Content ID system to extort money from two gaming channels – but the crook’s plan didn’t last long.
Two YouTubers, going by the screen names of ObbyRaidz and Kenzo, reached out to YouTube for help after being targeted by the scammer, who used YouTube’s Content ID system to falsely claim their videos under the guise of copyright infringement.
The scammer, under the name ‘VengefulFlame,’ claimed enough videos until their channels had two copyright strikes against them, each – just one step away from ultimate channel termination.
I have two false copyright strikes on my channel & someone out there is extorting me for my money to have the strikes removed. help. pic.twitter.com/pNmzNH34Ff
— Kenzo (@KenzoPvP) January 30, 2019
It was then that VengefulFlame approached the YouTubers with a proposition: hand over money, or be faced with the deletion of their channels.
According to a report by Motherboard, the scammer would double the ransom amounts each time their messages went unanswered, with some amounts jumping to $200 in Bitcoin or $300 via PayPal.
VengefulFlame would threaten to issue a third strike, should a user refuse to meet their demands.
YouTube took action after being notified of the situation by ObbyRaidz and Kenzo on Twitter, removing the offending strikes and reinstating their videos.
YouTube likewise claimed that they had originally flagged VengefulFlame’s strikes as suspicious, and later terminated the scammer’s channel following the debacle.
Appreciate your patience —we confirmed that this takedown notice was (obviously) abusive. The strike on your channel is resolved and the video is reinstated. This is an example of a fraudulent legal request, which we have zero tolerance for, so we also terminated this channel.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) January 30, 2019
This isn’t the first time the site’s Content ID system has spiraled out of control, either; YouTuber ‘TheFatRat’ had his original song claimed against him in December of 2018, and was unable to get in contact with the claimant – despite reaching out to YouTube for help.
While TheFatRat has since found justice, similar stories continue to pop up across the platform, prompting mass outrage and even petitions from angry creators.