YouTube's copyright take-down system has been abused by blackmailers trying to extort channel owners into paying up or face the prospect of having their channels banned by YouTube.
A few weeks ago, YouTube creators ObbyRaidz and KenzoOG both independently received bogus copyright strikes on their accounts from blackmailers who asked to be paid in order for the strikes to be reversed. Both creators received two strikes each, short of the three strikes that could see their accounts disabled.
A channel that receives more than three strikes in a three-month period may be disabled, and it's this YouTube penalty that the blackmailers are relying on in order to extort content creators.
The blackmailers asked for $USD 150 to be sent to a nominated PayPal account, or $75 in Bitcoins, in order to not file a third strike to bring the channels down and to reverse the two earlier strikes.
YouTube does not require the person or organisation filing the copyright strike to provide sufficient proof of copyright abuse, and in the case of the blackmailers, they used a newly created account attached to a throwaway Gmail account in order to file the copyright complaint. YouTube's bias towards copyright holders when disputes arise have long been a complaint from content creators on the platform.
Posting about his situation, ObbyRaidz stated that he had attempted to contact YouTube to point out this flagrant abuse of their copyright system, but received no assistance on the matter. It wasn't until ObbyRaidz's pleas on Twitter received thousands of retweets that YouTube finally responded, also via a tweet, and reversed the fraudulent strikes for both YouTubers.
YouTube's lack of response has also become another point of criticism in this incident, with even bigger channels unable to get any attention unless their social media posts went viral, very much like the situation ObbyRaidz faced.
It is unknown how many others have fallen victim to the same scam, and if their pleas for help from YouTube were eventually answered, or without a viral backlash, completely ignored.