A YouTube gamer who goes by “Mumbo Jumbo” woke up on Sunday morning to his phone lighting up with notifications like the Fourth of July. They were email notifications from YouTube, indicating that Warner Chappell – the publishing arm of Warner Music Group – was mass filing copyright claims against his content.
The emails were coming at the rate of 30 a minute. It didn’t stop until more than 400 copyright claims covering nearly a quarter of his 1800 videos had been filed.
Worse, Mumbo Jumbo – who has more than 3 million subscribers on YouTube – claims to have the rights to all music in his videos.
“I have a signed contract that says I can use the songs for my videos,” Mumbo Jumbo posted on Twitter. “This isn’t your money.”
The company claiming my videos is @warner_chappell
They are doing so at a rate of about 30 a minute. By the end of the day they will be taking the revenue from all 1800 videos I've made.
I have a signed contract that says I can use the songs for my videos. This isn't your money.
— Mumbo Jumbo (@ThatMumboJumbo) May 19, 2019
Copyright trolls have become endemic on YouTube. Companies which claim to own the publishing for music use YouTube’s ContentID system to claim ownership of a video, which is left online while this new, “real” owner takes the revenue earned from advertising.
Frequently the trolling companies are unable to prove their claims to the music, or flag things that aren’t music at all. Last year a musician who uploaded a 10 hour video of white noise – similar to the static on TV – was attacked by 5 notices of infringement. They didn’t want the video taken down – just the revenue from it.
In January of this year, reports surfaced that criminals were actually using bogus copyright claims to extort money from channel owners:
Targeted users can appeal strikes and ContentID claims. In the case of Mumbo Jumbo, though, this would require filing an appeal 400 times and doing so every time a publishing company’s broken bots flag content on his channel.
Previous overreach by Warner/Chappell using YouTube’s ContentID system provoked a strong reaction, though false flagging hundreds of videos on large channels would seem to be a fun new experience for them.
Mumbo Jumbo later made a video addressing the mass reporting and seems unsure there is anything he can actually do that will solve the problem long-term.
A request for comment from Warner Chappell Group was not returned.