Who knew that it was this easy to attack your enemies on YouTube? A prankster calling himself iLCreation has brought mayhem to YouTube today by successfully getting music videos for mega-stars like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, & Rihanna pulled from the site. How did this mastermind accomplish such a massive undertaking? Through the submission of simple copyright claims. Duh.
The disappearance of the videos was noticed immediately by loyal fans of the artists, who began screaming about it on Twitter. TMZ picked up the story as well, which probably helped bring about the quick repair. Yes, Bieber fans, you can relax. The videos have reportedly all been restored now, and the downtime lasted only a couple hours. (Don’t believe me? See for yourself.)
The only reason they went down originally is because YouTube’s just too big. There are too many videos, and therefore too many copyright claim submissions, for them to keep up with manually. So the system is automated. And when illegitimate claims are challenged, YouTube gets humans involved in sorting out the dispute. So iLCreation’s little trick was doomed to be temporary from the start.
But the bigger question remains: how many hooligans are going to read about this and set out to intentionally sabotage the YouTube channels of their rivals, other celebrities and artists, and everyday creators?
If getting videos removed–even temporarily–is really as easy as just submitting a (phony) copyright claim, then what’s to stop others from pulling the same prank? What’s to stop this from becoming a trend or a cool stunt to pull to impress your friends?
The issue of copyright is a huge one, and real money can be lost when copyrights are infringed upon, so you can at least understand why YouTube’s system is set up to spring into action so quickly. But maybe this incident shows that the site has grown too large to rely on an automated video removal system. Maybe the humans need to get involved before a video is pulled to help prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.