In this article, I will share my experiences making copyright reports on different video platforms. Hopefully, this information can help you in similar tasks.
The content I try to protect is Lego videos. The videos are original content I created and released on YouTube. Here is a breakdown of the copyright reports I’ve done and how many views the videos got before they were taken down.
Reported stolen content:
- TikTok 150 videos 250M views
- Facebook 70 videos 55M views
- BiliBili 23 videos 25M views
- Twitter 1 video 15M views
- Instagram 20 videos 10M views
- LinkedIn 8 videos 1M views
- YouTube 150 videos 0.1M views
- Reddit 0 videos
In total, I’ve done 400 copyright reports. Those reported videos had 350 million views. In comparison, my own videos on YouTube have a total of 750 million views. So far, I’m leading the freebooters. 🙂 (of course, TikTok views are not the same as YT views, and so on, but it gives you some comparison)
Looks like TikTok and Facebook are the big ones for stolen content in my case. YouTube also has a lot of stolen content, but those don’t get views, maybe because the content ID system suppresses them.
The big question is, do those infringing videos reduce your original view count and affect your ad revenue? Unfortunately, I don’t know any data where you could see that. But somehow, I feel they don’t have much effect.
What to report?
When someone uploads an exact copy of your video to a public video platform, it is clearly a copyright infringement. But beyond that, the lines become fuzzy quickly. What is fair use? When is a work transformative enough?
My approach is to be lenient. That is not based on any legal consultation but just a personal feeling: I like free speech. I’ll allow any use of my content that adds something new to it. For example:
- reaction videos
- part of a long video that contains original content
- significant editing changes
If the uploader credits my channel, I’ll be more lenient. But only a little bit.
PewDiePie watched two of my videos in a members-only video. Here is another way to watch it. It is a reaction video and a part of a long video, so I naturally allowed it.
xQc, C7Reactions and Pokelawls have also done reaction videos using my content. I have no problem with those, either.
Someone posted a Teams meeting lecture on materials technology, where they played my video of Lego breaking a steel axle. They went through the entire video and sometimes paused while explaining what happened. It was interesting to hear material experts analyze a Lego experiment. Unfortunately I can’t find the video anymore. This usage was for educational purposes and a part of a long video, so I didn’t report it.
A teacher asked me for permission to use my videos as school material for students. Can’t see any harm in educational usage for public organizations. I gave the permission.
A BiliBili creator The Maker has stolen my ideas (example1, example2). He has copied the video subject, structure, story, Lego builds, and editing style. But he didn’t use any of my video footage. He just copied the ideas and filmed the video again. Legally, I think this resembles a cover song. You copy someone else’s melody but perform the piece yourself. Cover songs are copyright infringement, so I figure this is the same. But because I know how much work creating such videos require, I don’t want to report it. The guy deserves the views.
Another creator from TikTok does the same thing. He copies my video ideas, edits and Lego builds (example). I didn’t make a copyright report, for similar reasons as the previous one.
Many TikTok pages have posted my videos on 1.5x or 2x playback speed. Many of those videos got tens of millions of views. Playing the video at a faster speed is a very small re-edit that doesn’t require much work. Therefore I have reported these videos.
Here is an image of the Copyright tool in YouTube Analytics. It automatically finds infringing content on YouTube. It seems to catch content very well, even if they are heavily edited. Only once I’ve noticed a video that it missed. My match list currently contains 1600 items, and several new matches are found every day. Most of those videos get less than 10 views, so they are not a big problem.
Removal requests are in a separate list. I’ve removed 146 videos so far. I don’t bother reporting videos that get few views.
This is the copyright report form. Making reports is quick and straightforward. Most of the info is already in the form. You only need to write the relationship and signature and then click a few checkboxes. I usually select the “send a 7-day notice” so that the uploader can avoid a copyright strike.
On Facebook, I have no access to automatic tools (I applied to Facebook Rights Manager, but the request was denied). Therefore stolen videos are more difficult to come by. Sometimes fans send me links to illegal content they found. Other times I put a few keywords to the Facebook Watch search tool and see if I find anything. There is probably a lot of stolen content I’ve not found.
The reports are done with this form. You just need to enter a few basic info, a link to the stolen videos and a link to the original work on YouTube. I always enter the official BEC email address to help provide proof of authorization.
After the report is done, they send an automated email stating they received it. Then 0 to 2 days later, they usually send back an email saying, “it’s not clear that you are the rights owner … please reply to this message and provide additional information”. I respond to that with, “this email address I’m using is proof of authorization,” and also give them a link to my YouTube channel About page where they can see the official email address. After that, I receive an email saying, “we removed the content”.
I’ve done 70 copyright reports, and 66 have been successful. The failed ones have just been silently ignored.
Instagram is basically the same deal as Facebook. The copyright report form is similar (they are the same company, after all).
I’ve not found much of my content on Instagram.
TikTok contains a lot of stolen content, but I don’t always bother to report it because the uploaders don’t get ad revenue. Also, making the reports is tedious work. So far, I’ve reported 150 videos, but there are still hundreds of stolen videos on TikTok.
The report form is similar to Facebook but with two differences. First, you need to do an email verification before you can write the form. Secondly, there is “Evidence of rights and authorization”, where you need to upload documents proving you are the copyright owner. I have given screenshots from my YouTube Analytics as proof.
After submitting the report, they send an automated email stating they received it. Usually, within the same day, they send another email saying the content was removed. It works pretty fast (currently).
Two years ago (2021), it didn’t work at all. I remember making several reports that never got taken down, and no reason was given. Then in May 2022, they added the email verification step, and the copyright reports started working properly. It has worked well after that.
Here are some of the most prolific thieves I’ve found. Some of those accounts have been suspended by now.
The Chinese BiliBili also has a fair amount of my content uploaded. Many of those videos openly state they are taken from YouTube and provide a link to the original content. That’s why I didn’t report them for a long time because I felt they were helping the Chinese people see content they cannot see another way, as YouTube is blocked.
That changed a month ago when I opened my own channel on BiliBili via a 3rd party company. I’ve sent links to the company and asked them to make the copyright reports. Everything I’ve given them has disappeared from the site. I don’t know how the actual reporting happens since I’ve never done it myself.
Here is one example of a BiliBili page 沐恩TC乐高MOCer that gained around 5 million views on my content.
LinkedIn contains especially my engineering-related videos. I’ve done only 8 copyright reports on LinkedIn because the posters often credit and link back to my channel, and the view counts are probably low.
Those 8 videos I reported had a little over 100k likes. You cannot see the view counts, but if you estimate 10 views for a like, you’ll get 1 million views, which is probably in the right ballpark. In other words, not much views.
Recently I made a quick roundup and found 20 videos on LinkedIn that had a total of 170k likes. I didn’t bother reporting those.
The report form is here. After making the report, you get an automated response email saying they received it. Usually, 5 days later, you get another email with a general response: “We will process your Notice in accordance with our Copyright Policy”. After that, you get no more emails. The only way to notice if the report was successful is to open the post and see that it has disappeared (the page says, “This post cannot be displayed”). Not a very transparent process.
6 out of 8 posts I reported have disappeared.
I’ve only done one copyright report on Twitter. It didn’t go through. Maybe it was because I used a newly created twitter account for making the report.
Here is the tweet I reported. The video has 15 million views. It wrongly credits Be Maker, one of the TikTok creators that steals my videos.
In Reddit there are two types of videos: YouTube embedded and self-hosted. The embedded videos play on a YouTube player. Therefore, I see from my Analytics how many views those got. So far, I’ve got 555k views from Reddit embedded videos. That is 0.1% of my total YouTube views. Too bad I can’t see from Analytics how much ad revenue those external views earned. Subreddit r/Videos is often the place where my videos appear.
Self-hosted videos are different. They are hosted on Reddit, so my YT channel doesn’t get any views or ad revenue from them. Also, naturally, I cannot see their view count from YT Analytics. Reddit doesn’t show the view count, either. But I have done an estimation from upvotes. The embedded videos, which got 555k views, have 42k upvotes in total. That calculates to 13 views for one upvote. The self-hosted videos I found have 500k upvotes in total. So, assuming embedded and self-hosted videos have similar views-to-upvote rates, the self-hosted stolen videos have 6.5 million views. That is not very much.
I have not reported any videos on Reddit. That is because the view counts are relatively low and because many top commenters on Reddit put links to credit my channel.
Entire channels impersonating as my channel
Sometimes I find entire channels named “Brick Experiment Channel”, use my logo icon and post my videos. In those cases, I report the videos and also the logo icon. Sometimes that is enough to suspend the channel.
Here is a list of copycat channels I’ve found. Some of those are still alive.
Interestingly, my current Facebook username, or vanity URL, was also reserved by a fake channel. After that page got suspended in March 2020, the URL was not immediately released. There was speculation on message boards about how long it takes. In my case, it took almost a year: the URL was released in January 2021, and I was lucky to be fast enough to reserve it before anyone else.
Should you give permission to share content?
Sometimes people ask for permission to share my video or “feature it” on their Facebook/LinkedIn/TikTok page. Especially Facebook page owners have sent me a lot of requests. I’ve said yes to over 30 requests. For free. This happened a few years ago. Today, I don’t say yes anymore.
The most notable page posting my content for free was UNILad, which gained around 20 million views on 5 of my videos. Here is the most popular one, with 7.7 million views.
Those request emails always offer full credit. A top pinned comment and sometimes a watermark will be added. Those should give you “exposure” and “help grow” your channel.
After examining those posts and YouTube Analytics data, I’m quite sure it is futile. Nobody clicks those top pinned links. For example, one UNILad video made 3 million views in a single day on September 27, 2018. Here is a screenshot of my YouTube analytics data on that day, a day prior and two days later. Each day my channel got around 400 subs and 50k views. If there was any traction, even just 100 new subs, you would see it in the graphs.
The same goes for basically all other Facebook pages that posted my content. You gain nothing from giving content for free. But there was one exception. BeyondTheBrick posted my paper shredder video on Facebook and got 25 million views. In YT Analytics I saw 2000 new subs. Not much, but at least something. That Facebook page is followed by Lego enthusiasts, which I think made the difference.
On YouTube, I’ve given permission to Quantum Tech HD for one video that got over 4 million views, but I didn’t see any gains in my Analytics data. Un Poco De Todo is another channel I’ve given a total of 5 videos. That is a Mexico-based channel that produces Spanish-speaking videos. I can easily see in my Analytics data if new subs or views start to come from Mexico. Below is a screenshot of the first video, which got 800k views. I gained a total of 1000 subs and 20k views, mainly from Mexico but also from other Central&South American countries. If you convert those numbers to income, it is around 20 USD. It is something, but very little. The other 4 videos didn’t have any gains I could see. Needlessly to say, giving permission to other YT channels is not profitable.
After giving permission for free and seeing no gains, I started to ask for money. That stops the conversation most of the time. A few times, I’ve got 100 USD, 200 USD, 500 USD fixed payment offers for posting one video. I usually counter with a 50% revenue share offer, which no one wants to accept. The only one I have a deal with is BeyondTheBrick Facebook page, which posts all my videos nowadays.
Copyright claims I have received
How about being on the receiving end of copyright reports? I’ve received 6 copyright claims on my YouTube channel so far. Here are the cases.
My Googol video got claimed for using copyrighted music named GLG by Interstreet Recordings. What was funny, the “song” was just silence and Lego clicking noises. Someone had taken the video’s entire audio track and uploaded it to DistroKid, which musicians use to distribute their songs. My video had just gone viral, and I was potentially losing hundreds of dollars every day. It wasn’t funny at the time. I made a dispute on YouTube Copyright Tool and wrote an explanation of the situation. In less than a day, the claim was released. No money was lost.
The second claim I received was for my tank video. I had used a backing track music from another YouTuber with permission given in a YouTube comment. The copyright claim said the content name is Paradiso, and it is claimed by Adrev for Rights Holder. After some googling, I found the song. The song was a piece of music that used the same backing track I had used. I made a dispute, stating I had written permission from the copyright holder, and the claim was dropped in 3 days.
Two times I’ve received copyright claims for music on my Submarine videos. In both cases, I had permission from both the artist and the music producer. The claims were dropped after I informed the producer. I guess it is more convenient for them just to let the Content ID system trigger the claims and clear them afterward.
My Lego guitar video. got the first real claim. I had played a portion of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water. Just the four chords from the beginning – not even in the original key, but in E-G-A fashion. One could say that doesn’t amount to copyright infringement, but I didn’t want to try my luck disputing it. Especially since the video says onscreen, “Smoke on the Water”. The video went into revenue sharing mode (identified as a cover song). But it stopped generating any revenue and RPM dropped to 0. Looks like it was sharing 100% of the ad revenue. After a few days, I turned off monetization. Surprisingly, it started to generate revenue again. The only difference is now 60% of revenue comes from YouTube Premium and the rest from ads. Usually, less than 5% comes from YouTube Premium.
My latest video got a claim for using the melody from DragonForce’s Through the Fire and Flames. The melody was played with beepy Lego guitar sounds and in a slower tempo, but the Content ID system caught it immediately after it was uploaded. It was identified as a cover song. I turned off monetization, and the video has generated revenue well so far. RPM is 0.8, roughly the average rate for my videos in January.
I hope this article made gave you some sense of the copyright issues. Making copyright reports is a little nuisance, but quite simple after you get a handle of it.
If you want to inform me about stolen content, feel free to send links using the comment section below or email or private Facebook messages.
Quick note about song copyrights. There’s effectively two sets of ‘copyrights’ when it comes to music.
When an artist writes and records a song, they own the rights to that particular recording (“Sound Recording Copyright”), but they also separately own the rights for writing that song (“Musical Work Copyright”).
So if you record a cover version, you don’t have to pay for the original recording, but you do have to pay whoever wrote the music (which is not always the same people who recorded it).
And of course, most of the money will actually be going to a publishing company, rather than the actual artist.
heres another channel blatantly stealing content https://www.instagram.com/reel/CpKJFRnMHUO/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
Thanks, I reported the content.