Ludwig discovers massive exploit in YouTube’s copyright system

Another exploit in the YouTube copyright system is being used.

Screengrab via Ludwig

With all of the new rounds of copyright claiming and DMCA takedowns going around on video and streaming platforms, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone found a new way to exploit the system on YouTube. 

Twitch streamer and content creator Ludwig Ahgren was hit with a copyright claim on one of his newer videos, but with a little bit of research, it became clear that it was a scam. 

The claim in question came on his video that was supposed to go up today where he talked with fellow streamer Devin Nash. The copyrighted material was listed at the end of the video. After pulling it up, however, the only sound playing was Zelda’s Lullaby from The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time.

If the claim came from Nintendo, it would have held some actual credibility. But video game music is frequently used in videos because companies tend to avoid copyright striking those to avoid taking down gameplay by accident. 

But it wasn’t from Nintendo or any other company. Instead, it was from someone named Hezkej Benes from a video called “Happy Doge.” And after a quick search, Ludwig found the video in question, which had less than 200 views, and was simply a collection of the beginning of popular songs and meme sound effects.

This has been an issue for a long time on YouTube, where anyone can claim that a portion of a creator’s video is theirs and take the revenue from it. Several users, like Hezkej Benes, that will set up bots to claim videos automatically if any of the content matches something they have in one of their compilations. 

As Ludwig pointed out, those bots/users hope that the claims go through and the creators don’t dispute it so that they can farm money. 

YouTube has tried to address this issue in the past with updates to its system, but because there is so much content going up on the website, the company is forced to use an automated system instead of manual reviewers. Because of this, it is inevitable that people will find a way to game each iteration of the copyright claim system and exploit it to their advantage. 

Twitch has also started flagging content and sending DMCA takedowns for users who use copyrighted music in their broadcasts. Because that content is live, it only really applies to the VODs and clips on each channel, but further claiming potential could lead to similar issues popping up on the streaming service in the near future.

About the author

Cale Michael

Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also use to cover the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.