A popular YouTuber has been accused of plagiarising his own music.
Paul Davids, Dutch guitarist and YouTube star with over 625,844 subscribers, received a copyright notice from YouTube after the video giant’s Content ID system detected his song on another YouTuber’s upload.
“Someone took my track, added vocals and guitar to make their own track, and uploaded it to YouTube, but I got the copyright infringement notice!” he told the BBC.
Davids was sent the claim of copyright infringement and faced demonetisation of his own content. Davids is part of YouTube’s Partner Programme, to see adverts attached to his videos. A video can be “monetised” if the YouTube channel has at least 1,000 subscribers, and more than 4,000 hours of content has been watched in the past year.
YouTube’s copyright infringement claim meant that the money the video was earning through monetisation was being directed towards the copycat.
Davids told the BBC he contacted the person who used his song via Facebook. Davids asked the person whether he knew he was infringing copyright.
“A few hours later I got a response. ‘Hey, I don’t know’,” he told the BBC. “‘I did download a couple of guitar licks somewhere off YouTube. Would you consider letting me still use this?'”
It’s not the first time YouTube’s Content ID system has failed the original creator. The automated system decided Justin Bieber had infringed copyright in 2010 when someone had uploaded his track ‘Pray’ before him. The
The ordeal was sorted after YouTube addressed the issue on Twitter, but not before it passed the buck over to his label.
In Paul Davids’ case, he has told the BBC he’s decided to let the copycat keep using his song.
“It’s not like he will make tons of money with it,” Paul said. “It’s OK. It probably happens all the time.”