This YouTuber Put A Middle Finger Up To YouTube's Content ID System

4 May 2016, 16:00 | Updated: 17 July 2017, 12:15

We the Unicorns

By Charleyy Hodson

This is officially the best way to mess with the Man.

We've written about the struggles of fair use and Content ID's on this website before, but mostly because it's crushing the creativity and user rights of so many small and talented creators. However, thanks to the brain box that is Jim Sterling, a way to confuse the copyright claim system has just been discovered to make YouTube and other large companies completely disappear up their own bottom. It's genius.

First things first: the YouTube Content ID system (in case you haven't read up on our other features yet) essentially allows one YouTube channel to own a piece of digital content the very first time it is uploaded, as long as it is 100% theirs. This means that if and when a second person uploads a video, a song or ANYTHING that features the exact same content, it can be flagged up to the original owner - this is how large YouTube channels are able to stop other people freebooting on their platform.


Now the copyright infringement has been flagged up, the original user can choose to monetise is new video for themselves or even block it completely from the Internet. Problems always arise when large companies hand down Content ID claims to smaller channels over minute clips of videos or music, but if these aren't dealt with appropriately then "YouTube Strikes" can occur - either stripping away channel privileges or total channel elimination. So are we all on the same level of understanding now? Yes? Well, this is how one YouTuber managed to use this crushing system to totally f**k with The Man.

In a video posted last week, Jim Sterling posted one of his weekly and highly-popular Jimquisition episodes, in which he discusses the brand new Nintendo game, Star Fox Zero. Nintendo are infamous on YouTube for handing out copyright claims to every single person who uses even a millisecond of their content, so Jim decided to see if he could cancel out their claim. He does this by using footage from games such as Metal Gear Solid V and Grand Theft Auto V for absolutely no reason as it's not related to the subject of Star Fox. You can see the effect of this below:

At the end of the video, Jim addresses this strange and alien intrusion into his Nintendo-focused video; “You may have noticed this week’s video had footage from Metal Gear Solid V, Grand Theft Auto V, and Beyond: Two Souls in it. Now, there’s a reason for that. The reason is Nintendo. Because I’m talking about a Nintendo game this week, I’ve used Nintendo game footage, and that means Nintendo will attempt to monetise this video even though the point of Jimquisition is to be ad-free, thanks to your lovely help on Patreon”.

So what happened when the video was uploaded? Not only did Nintendo inevitably send through a copyright claim, but so did WMG for the use of their song by Erasure, as well as a claim from Take-Two for the use of GTA footage. This mess of content claims meant that NONE of their actions took president and monetisation did not occur on the video - Jim beat the system. “I figured every time I talk about Nintendo, I’m going to throw in other stuff that gets flagged by Content ID, and just watch the corporations battle it out”.


Talking to Kotaku, Jim talks more about the success of his scheme; “I discovered this by accident a few months back when competing claims from Sony and Konagi meant no ads ended up running on my video. Pretty good workaround for someone trying to keep my series ad-free, even if it means you have to actively try and ‘infringe copyright’ to exercise your fair use rights”.

Obviously, this is not a system we would recommend to anybody and we're unsure if Jim will be continuing on with his devious plans to corrupt YouTube from the inside, but we certainly applaud his efforts to mess about with a fair use system that is 100% not fair to its users. He has since posted a follow up video discussing his plan and what happened after the original video was posted, and you can see that below. Let us know in the comments what you think about Jim's plan and if you think it will change the Content ID system for good.