Taking legal action against fraudulent scientific content creators on YouTube – Video

Taking legal action against fraudulent scientific content creators on YouTube – Video

The issue of scam and spam content on YouTube is a growing problem that has caught the attention of many, including prominent YouTuber Brennon Clement. In a recent video titled “Suing YouTube’s Science Scammers,” Clement highlighted the epidemic of misleading and stolen content flooding YouTube, created by bots and nefarious individuals for monetary gain. The response to his video was overwhelming, with millions of viewers agreeing with his concerns. Clement has since collaborated with a company dedicated to combating scam channels and has been interviewed by the BBC World Service on the issue.

Despite some channels being taken down as a result of increased attention to the problem, the issue persists. Clement also received an anonymous email from someone claiming to be behind these scam channels, boasting about the money they make and dismissing any efforts to stop them. However, the majority of responses he received were from people wanting to help, uncovering deep rabbit holes of business emails and job listings linked to these scam channels.

The BBC also conducted their own investigation, finding more examples of stolen content and spam. They interviewed experts and even did an experiment with kids, revealing troubling results on the effect of these videos on young minds. While YouTube has claimed to be committed to removing misinformation from their platform, Clement believes that more needs to be done in the face of this exponential threat to protect creators and viewers alike.

Watch the video by Kyle Hill

Video Transcript

I have been posting at least one sciency thing somewhere on YouTube every single week for the last 10 years and I can safely say I’ve never seen a response like I did when I posted this the problem is an epidemic of Miss and disle content made to scam your attention

Written and read by Bots created by probably nefarious individuals for monetary gain alone after I highlighted what I saw at has a growing problem a glut of channels with clickbait and spam and AI generated stolen content flooding your watch Pages millions of you seem to agree and after

That I got contacted by many of you who wanted to help I got interviewed by the BBC World Service and I even work directly with a company that exists solely to destroy these scam channels but we’ll get to that in a minute this video represents an update on everything

That has happened to me and happened generally as I see it after we were one of the loudest voices on this problem so where are we now unfortunately a couple months after the video not much seems to have changed same whiteon black logos same trick bait thumbnails and topics

Same videos crossposted to multiple channels by whoever owns them but there have been some interesting developments one of the channels I used as a Spam example was actually taken down or deleted two channels now explicitly point out in the top line of their description that they are read by AI

Voice clone just as we suspected now that seems like a direct result of increased attention to this issue and I’ll take that any little bit that I can as a win one of the channels that I put on blast one of the largest was riddle

And after I put out the video they went through the effort of making a fully animated and voice overed hit piece about yours truly look at that they made me channel executioner I think there could have been been more blood riddle has since taken their video down but I reacted to

It in real time just minutes after it went up during my office hours podcast I eventually took down my response as well it didn’t fit the topic I was talking about the gist of my response was that riddle deliberately misunderstood my criticisms and seeing how not much has

Changed I believe my criticisms are still valid oh and this guy he’s not the Creator or owner of riddle like they make it seem he’s a prolific and admittedly very talented voice actor but he’s just like the dozens of other voice actors hired to voice these channels if

They’re humans at all all of this effort from them because I just took a few seconds to point out them using a similar title and thumbnail for a video well I’m sure glad they never did that more than once or more deliberately and obviously man wouldn’t that be

Embarrassing and further prove my point what can you imagine just walking head first into hypocrisy like that another entity I called out was much angrier with me but they didn’t put in nearly as much effort in instead of a video I got an anonymous email from ostensibly one

Of the people Behind These scam channels they were ranting about how nothing I could do could stop the spam machine that they have created How It’s All About The Money How only they understand the business and that YouTube could care less oh and if you’re wondering the email is redacted here because I’m

Covering up all the homophobia anti-Semitism and racial slurs in it classy people the vast majority of responses I got though were from people like you wanting to help and help you did like I suspected the rabbit hole is pretty deep here you found the same business emails linked to multiple scam

Channels you found the cutand PAC job listings that are sent out to recruit voiceover actors you even saw inside some of the businesses and how they as we suspected try to make the most amount of content with the least amount of effort as possible sometimes by deliberately directing employees to crib

From other channels one of you was even a former script writer for one of these channels and more or less confirmed exactly how they work then something bigger happened I got contacted by the misinformation desk at the BBC to appear in a video investigation of their own

And I highly recommend that you watch it the video is in the description in it they find more examples of stolen content and scam and spam they interview their own experts including yours truly and they do an experiment with kids that has some troubling results that speak to

The effect of these videos on their growing brains and at the end of their video YouTube actually responded and they said this YouTube told us that they recommend YouTube kids for under 13s which has a higher bar for videos shown they said they’re committed to removing misinformation from their

Platforms they also directed us to information panels that show additional context on conspiracy related content we found this was only present for a few of the videos across the 50 channels they didn’t comment on Advertising Revenue they may receive from these videos are these responses satisfactory well no I don’t think so at

Least not in the face of an exponential threat everything we’ve gone through so far makes it seem like we’ve made just a little bit of a dent in this problem but that turns out to be pretty naive as I found out behind the wall of misleading thumbnails and titles is a nearly

Bottomless pit of content theft and criminality we’ have single viral videos being stolen upwards of 100,000 times by 100,000 different channels my name is Brennon Clement I’m a stormchaser you may have seen me on Netflix series earthstorm I was featured there as well as my YouTube channel WX chasing and my

Company WX chasing I go around the world and Shoot Extreme video from weather whether it’s it’s tornadoes and hurricanes volcano I left a well-paying job with a great future and jumped off into the unknown and I’ve made a little niche business living out of it my videos have been stolen repeatedly for

Years and as a videographer who makes a living licensing content um I have learned how to protect my work and I started seeing my colleagues suffering the same um same thing I was going through these channels have been trying to hide under the GU of fair use with

Copyright and it is affecting me it’s affecting my clients I started a business with uh a couple Partners called viral DRM and we just protect we’re the digital right managers and we just protect the copyright for other major creators out there videographers photographers and we act on their behalf

To come in and take content down uh file lawsuits when it’s appropriate and do everything we can to shut the piracy down having started this company and working with your clients what do you think is the true scale of the problem here it’s hard to see on the front end

But now that you’ve done some inves ating on the back end how big is this issue we started off with Weather Channels doing nothing but weather and they were just spamming the same weather videos over and over and over again with these outrageous headlines and outrageous thumbnails same thing you’re

Seeing with the science spam we’re seeing on the weather spam this is true against across Aviation it’s true across history it’s every aspect of uh every genre on YouTube is now being spaned like this it’s heartbreaking to see because I know it’s every one of these gen there videographers photographers

Going going through the same thing we’re going through YouTube does of course have a process in place to deal with stolen content even content that tries to hide under the guise of fair use if you believe a channel has stolen something of yours you file a copyright strike which gives the offending channel

Three options they either wait 90 days for the strike to expire contact you and ask very nicely please thank you retract the strike or they can submit a counter notification either because they believe they Ed the footage fairly or they’re trying to run out the clock the system

Is fine in theory but easily breakable in practice any channel that is a YouTube Partner will get a full week to simply delete the videos they had already made their money on and avoid the strike a channel needs three strikes on three separate videos within the same

90 days before it is subject to real consequence like deletion meaning that scammers can and do make sure that they only have two strikes at any time in a 90-day period 11 copyright strikes a year is totally acceptable if you delete and make private videos you spent almost

No time on anyway finally if someone you strike really wants to fight they can submit a counter notification which is a legal request for YouTube to reinstate content that was removed due to a copyright removal request again fine in theory but in reality what it does for the scammers is prolong the entire

Process and make it less likely that you are going to go through with it they know they are in the wrong but they don’t expect most people to go any further than this not wanting to waste time and money but this is where viral DRM comes in they are willing to file

Federal lawsuits freeze Google AdSense accounts and get entire scam channels some with tens of millions of subscribers and tens of thousands of videos deleted entirely how many takedowns and lawsuits do you think you filed so far it’s five or six but some of them were bulk because we have we

Have gotten counter notifications with false information we had subpoena Google to get the real information when we got the real information we saw that they were multiple different accounts with multiple different people in multiple different countries all given the same same fake counter counter notification information mhm so we could prove they

Were working together or organized and we took them all out we we we’ve got another court case on December 15th at the time I’m recording this video right before New Year’s Eve 2023 Brandon and viral DRM have now done some real damage a major Indian news Outlet news nation

Has been hit with 40 to 50 copyright strikes and as a result they have deleted 27,000 videos hoping to escape any penalties future Unity who you will see in a second I have a huge problem with has also been sued Brandon says that future Unity quote reach out to us

Begging for removal of the copyright strikes they will still not identify themselves though they claim to be in the United States but want us to reach out on a WhatsApp account with a country code in Malta coming from random Gmail accounts end quote in other words they

Want to try to intimidate Brandon first I mean just on one of our rounds That these channels have probably generated you know I hate to guess I I know it’s high seven figures probably getting up in that eight or nine figure uh range for for for for the channels combined

Anywhere from10 to $100 million or more or more how many channels just in a ballpark figure are you identifying that are doing this just for your content specifically so that we you know don’t talk school here thousands thousands have you learned who these people are

And where they are or is there a general Trend that you know in either of those it’s all over the place for the the the science channels you’ve been hitting a whole bunch in Canada there’s a couple in the US but most of these are all foreign actors Pakistan Iran Albania

Russia UAE Saudi cutter Vietnam Indonesia Philippines that’s where it’s all coming from like like I say all I’m saying greater than 90% just from those actors from those countries how has generative AI which is still in its infancy how is that impacted the problem

As you see it right now uh what they are doing is they’re using AI generated voices we even had uh one of our our clients has a a very popular YouTube channel he has an amazing voice he’s a singer he chases tornadoes great cinematographer great Storyteller he

He’s got everything you want for YouTube personality he’s fantastic and they’ve trained an AI voice that sounds like his while they’re stealing his content wow derating over the top of it yeah so that’s one way it’s been affecting it the other way is there’s AI editing

Programs now a lot of these channels are doing I don’t want to generalize all these channels at one there’s different levels of this what they’re doing uh is putting one to two minute segments together for the top 200 clickbait titles and and and uh genres you can

Find put a video together with 10 segments to equal 12 13 minutes make sure they hit those mid rolls and all that good stuff maximize ad Revenue they’re using AI to generate SEO tags they are using AI generated thumbnails that are so absurd as I’m am funny yes

And then running that video now these channels it’s not just it’s not just one channel that one channel has a channel in 16 different languages yeah and that one channel has four other channels that also have channels in 16 other languages and then all of a sudden you have uh

Other groups that just have 40 45 channels What are the real actionable things that it could be possible for the average person to do the easiest thing to do if you’re a viewer it’s just don’t watch the channels notice the clickbait if that thumbnail doesn’t look real it probably

Isn’t especially like top 10 or top five or uh can’t believe this is captured on camera or the Drone captured something on top of this mountain you can’t believe when you see or you know like it’s it’s just it’s just really clickbait just avoid it just avoid that channel

Report them a Spam go about your business speaking of people being stolen from I heard you had a little uh surprise for me as well that I haven’t you know I’m sure they may try and copyright strike you on this but I’m going to go ahead and play it for you so

You see the channel down here no that no that’s what that’s one of the specific channels that I pointed out yep that’s that’s one that’s one of the same logo same thumb and that is my footage of the puppies the results of their analysis are enough for the entire world

To take quick action and talk Noble are we at risk of having genetically altered studied despite their potential to give significant insights into the how many visible populations remain oh my goodness various these populations recogniz thaty they are bounded Geographic con and they have the same AI

Voice region with a roughly this is just completely completely shamess City ripping the whole thing yeah I had to edit your content out to make this that way uh they didn’t have any value even though we’re being critical and it would follow in fair use so yeah so repeating the same the

Same Clips over and over again that I I I feel maybe maybe not exactly how you felt all these years since this is one of the first times I’ve seen this how how this could be infuriated like one of the things I’m most proud of

That I’ve done is try to go to some of these very uh controversial places and get footage that no one else has I mean I think I have the best footage of these dogs probably in the world but then to have someone you know getting 50,000 views on one of these specific channels

I said take that footage is is is is maddening I say 50,000 that’s only 50,000 some of these channels when they steal our content they’re getting we’ve taken videos down with 60 70 million views geez so they’re making money off of your your trip and hard work going to

Chernobyl yeah into into a disaster Zone cost me tens of thousands of dollars to do what I did yeah yeah and and and you’re doing it to raise money for charity organ yes so so what we do is we we we find when we go after a channel we

We go after them and find multiple instances of video that’s been used to where we can hit them you know five six strikes at a time and when they counter notify we actually file federal lawsuits on on those channels so if you don’t if you don’t follow Federal lawsuit they counter

Notify it goes away they keep running your video and keep making money off so you were trying to address the problem of actually putting in the effort that they don’t expect people are going to put in right and if and if you’re going to file a federal lawsuit you better

Have the evidence so you know we have to download all the video we we take uh screenshots and sit you with with our content and their content side by side we take screenshots of all their thumbnails that when they say it’s science you can be like yeah look at

Your thumbnails that’s not science that’s not how science works and then you look at their about page and it’s nothing but a long list of why you shouldn’t copyright strike they’re trying to intimidate you so you don’t do it yeah and if you do copyright if you

Do have a problem with copyright don’t contact YouTube contact us that way when you contact us we’ll just delete the content and the evidence is gone right so so yeah so you know you’re a content creator love to have you join viral DRM and we can look out for your content and

When it comes up we can do exactly that for you you don’t have to worry about it to date viral DRM has sued more than 70 channels and not one of them has shown up in court just recently they took down a Channel with over 12 million subscri subscribers and 240,000

Videos why because more than 8,000 of them contain Brandon’s footage well Kyle I appreciate all your time um I I can’t thank you enough for addressing this problem I know we’re coming at it from different angles but we’re both butting our heads against the same wall here and

I’m I’m I’m glad you’re standing up for it and I thank you for that well hey thank you for reaching now thank you for addressing the actual scope and scale of the problem and for getting yourself into the trenches where they don’t expect you to be fighting so um keep

Fighting the good fight and uh hopefully everyone who watches this and is interested in this issue can go to viral DRM connect videographers photographers With viral DRM if they know they’re having this problem and um follow all the advice that Brandon has given us in this video and maybe we can make a

Little bit more progress in the right direction Youtube if you’re watching you can just reach out to me and I would gladly help help consult on this problem with respect to science content specifically you already have my name phone number and home address let’s talk baby if you’re a videographer or

Photographer who you think Brandon could help viral DRM information is in the description below if you are a viewer dislike these videos just don’t watch them report them or tag the original content creator they are stealing from in the comments below for my part in the

Meantime I will try to keep you updated on this if it needs to be updated and I will continue to make educational content that I think is truly worth your while and I don’t have to trick you into watching it what about me could trick you into watching something until next time

Video “Suing YouTube’s Science Scammers” was uploaded on 01/02/2024 to Youtube Channel Kyle Hill