Christian Buettner, operating under the name TheFatRat, is a music producer with over 3 million subscribers on YouTube. He often shares his music online, amassing close to 700 million views and releasing some of his music on Spinnin’ Records. Some of his songs are frequently used in YouTube videos.
A while ago, a company named Ramjets stole one of his songs, The Calling. The song’s video has 50 million views and earns $3000 per month in ad revenue. Even though Buettner wrote and uploaded the song, YouTube transferred The Calling’s rights to Ramjets.
The moment Buettner contacted YouTube about the situation, the Google owned company told him that it does not “mediate copyright disputes.” YouTube advised Buettner to “resolve the issue with the claimant.”
Well, you guessed it; that approach did not work. When Buettner contacted Ramjets, the company simply didn’t respond. Buettner contacted YouTube again requesting additional contact information attached to the account. YouTube didn’t comply, saying that the claimant has to review the dispute. This means that the party who stole the song gets to decide whether Buettner or itself owns the song. If Ramjets would reaffirm it was their song, Buettner could get a copyright strike on his channel, resulting in not being able to monetize his videos for a certain period of time.
Buettner states that musicians and others often have to deal with similar false copyright claims, referring to Gus Johnson, who reviewed Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Johnson did not play the song is his video, he merely discussed the song, but still got a copyright claim from EMI.
YouTube uses its Content ID system to recognize songs and their owner(s). According to Buettner, there are three main issues with the recognition technology:
- Content ID favors claimants over content creators by automatically assuming their claims are factually correct
- YouTube does not mediate copyright disputes
- YouTube fails to provide claimants’ information to content creators
After getting in touch with his LA-based legal team, Buettner got his song back. He says that hiring a team of lawyers is no problem for him given his situation. He says he wants to fix the Content ID system so smaller music producers too will have a chance to prove they are the creator of a song.
Fed up with the way Content ID works, Buettner has launched an online petition online petition to persuade YouTube to solve the issues surrounding Content ID.
Buettner hopes that the petition will urge YouTube to treat both parties, content creators and claimants, equally. He also hopes that YouTube will remove “obviously fake” claims, and penalize the submittor. In case a copyright infringement situation arises, YouTube should give out contact information in case of doubt, Buettner concludes. This would help the parties involved to solve the issue.
So far, 107.000 people have signed his petition. Buettner hopes to get 200.000 people to sign his petition.