James Charles and his fans win copyright battle against YouTube

9 April 2019, 15:47

james charles copyright win
Picture: Instagram: James Charles
Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

A rare case of a YouTube copyright story where the YouTuber comes out on top

James Charles and his fans have won a victory against YouTube's increasingly stringent and often seemingly random content ID copyright system.

It all started when James had a video of him singing copyright claimed by a music label, meaning that all the monetisation from that video was switched from James to them. This was pretty unprecedented in the world of YouTube - Content ID (YouTube's internal system) usually only flags actual uses of a song - not covers which feature none of the original track.

James and his friends and followers were, understandably very mad and confused by that turn of events, and took to social media to rail against YouTube's actions.

But luckily it seems now that YouTube has changed its course and decided, after some delay, that maybe copyright striking someone for vaguely singing a song, might set a bit of a dangerous precedent.

James tweeted:

"I know you guys hate when I tweet about this stuff but this is why it's important to use your voice and speak up!! thank you @SonyATVMusicPub for doing the right thing 💞 working WITH creators instead of against is a win win, trust me!!"

Along with a screenshot of a message from the YouTube team, which explains that the label has decided to release their copyright claim on the video.

They also add that: "if you earned any money during the dispute, you should receive that money as part of your next YouTube payment" - meaning that, happily, Charles won't end up out-of-pocket after this ridiculous saga is over.

It's a rare win but seems to indicate some actual logic in the way YouTube conducts these claims - that being said, it was pretty ridiculous that any of this happened in the first place. James' Sisters celebrated the victory:

Hopefully this will be the start of a more measured approach by YouTube when it comes to Content ID - but we'll have to wait and see.