A pair of copyright fraudsters have made over $20 million through YouTube’s Content ID scam, over a course of four years.
Batista Fernandez and Jose Teran, the two residents of the US have claimed to own copyrights of more than 50,000 songs on YouTube, and earned royalty on their usage by several petty YouTubers. They’re now indicted, plus forfeiture of all their assets earned throughout.
False Claims on Copyrighted Content
YouTube is a place for not just entertainment, but also for monetizing the talent too. And this could be done in many ways. While artists earn directly from YouTube for uploading popular and unique content, there are indirect ways of earning too.
And this is through copyright claims! People who don’t have authority on a particular content, but still monetize on its upload, should have it removed or share the earnings with the actual rights holder. And this happens so often that, YouTube admitted paying over $5.5 billion to rightsholders in this way.
This process is mostly managed by YouTube, through a system called Content ID, where it intelligently identifies copyright infringement and helps actual rightsholders to earn on their content. But, there are a few fraudsters who cash on this system too.
In a fresh case unsealed recently – United States of America vs. Webster Batista Fernandez and Jose Teran – the latter pair earned over $20 million by running a YouTube Content ID scam over a span of four years.
Since April 30, 2017, these two – Fernandez and Teran claimed to own copyrights of more than 50,000 songs on YouTube and began monetizing on them through fake Content ID infringement. They contracted with a firm called A.R, to lookup up infringing cases and have their royalty share paid by victims.
The pair did this under the name of MediaMuv and submitted fake documents in some cases to justify their copyright claims. With the earnings of $20,776,517.31 from 2017 to 2021, the pair had made purchases of a property worth $546,000, jewelry worth $62,500, and cars like Tesla for $130,000, and BMW i8 for $92,000.
Now, after the indictment of these two, the court charged them with thirty counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. Also, the forfeiture of all the assets earned by this pair, throughout their earning period.