By masquerading as legitimate music rightsholders, two men managed to extract over $23 million in revenue from YouTube’s Content ID system. Both were arrested and sentenced to prison. In the wake of the criminal proceeding, hundreds of disadvantaged artists came forward, and the court has now ordered the scammers to pay $3.3 million in restitution.
In 2021, the US Department of Justice launched a criminal proceeding against two men suspected of running a massive YouTube Content ID scam.
YouTube’s flagship anti-piracy system is supposed to protect rightsholders but, in this case, it was used to exploit them.
Multi-Million Dollar Scam
The scammers’ company, MediaMuv LLC., wasn’t a direct member of the Content ID program. Instead, it operated through a trusted third-party company, which had access to the platform.
By falsely claiming to own the rights to more than 50,000 copyrighted songs, the scammers generated more than $23 million in revenue.