Man Pleads Guilty to $23m YouTube Content ID Scam
A man at the center of a copyright scam that abused YouTube’s Content ID system to fraudulently obtain more than $23m to the detriment of artists has entered a plea agreement with the US government. Webster Batista Fernandez wrongfully claimed to own the rights to more than 50,000 tracks and illegally monetized user uploads for years.
Once detected, such content can be removed or monetized at the discretion of the relevant rightsholders.
While Content ID is generally considered effective and financially useful for rightsholders, the system relies on the honesty of those allowed to use it. Rumors of abuse have circulated for years, with many reports of user videos being monetized by people that shouldn’t have the right to do so. A grand jury indictment unsealed late 2021 uncovered one such scheme.
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