Destiny, Halo Composer Martin O’Donnell Hit With Copyright Fraud on YouTube

The rampant copyright fraud problem is continuing with Martin O’Donnell being the latest victim. A video featuring his own work is the target.

General copyright common sense question: do you own the rights to the work you produce? Unless you sign away your rights, then yes, you own the rights to your own work. This, of course, is not controversial by any means. Once a creator affixes their work onto a medium, the creator owns the right to that work and is free to do what they want with it.

Of course, YouTube’s copyright ContentID system does not necessarily follow any basic copyright common sense. On the platform, even if you are posting your own original work on YouTube, you are by no means immune to copyright claims. This is because anyone who makes an accusation is automatically assumed to be right and it’s up to the victim to prove their innocence.

Martin O’Donnell is a well known composer in the world of gaming. If you’ve played games like Oni, Myth, Halo, or Destiny, you’ve already heard his work. In spite of his well known status, it seems that someone is using YouTube’s ContentID system to make a claim on his work. In this case, the “company” is placing ads on his work and funnelling all of the resulting revenue into their coffers. From Reclaim The Net:

The fake claim was filed by [Merlin] Redeye Distribution and Shock Entertainment Pty on one of these videos titled Reach Music Inception Pt1.

Wtf YouTube?

The video features O’Donnell’s early music ideas for the Halo: Reach soundtrack that he composed along with a description of his creative process.

As a result of the claim, [Merlin] Redeye Distribution and Shock Entertainment Pty will now either earn ad revenue or collect stats about the video’s views until O’Donnell successfully disputes the claim.

For long time observers, such instances are nothing new. We’ve seen our share of copyright fraud on YouTube. Examples of this include YouTubers receiving copyright strikes over video’s that don’t exist, companies claiming the rights to numbers, possibly fake companies randomly claiming copyright over people’s videos, YouTubers receiving claims over public domain material, a YouTuber getting copyright complaints over talking about rumours, and famous radio shows who were authorized to play the music getting video’s taken down.

Unfortunately for those who use the platform, the system isn’t going to be getting better any time soon. Back in December, YouTube unveiled new “tools” to “help navigate” the DMCA and ContentID system. We posted our analysis of these new tools and found that they only help YouTuber’s cave faster to copyright complaints. This essentially allows this rampant fraud problem to continue. A month after our analysis, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published their own complaints about the new tools as well. So, it wasn’t just us pointing out how incredibly insufficient these tools are at addressing such a widespread problem.

As a result, this sad reality of anyone being a possible victim to copyright abuse will simply continue for the foreseeable future. It really doesn’t matter what you post or how legal the material is, anyone can be a victim of copyright abuse. Until YouTube finds it within themselves to seriously address these issues, these problems will simply continue.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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