Thieves Stole $23 Million in One of the Largest YouTube Royalties Scams Ever

“Need an easy way to make $23 million?” asks Mashable.
“Have you ever considered just claiming music others uploaded to YouTube as your own and collecting the royalties?

That’s basically all two Phoenix men did to swindle Latin music artists like Daddy Yankee and Julio Iglesias out of millions of dollars in royalties, as detailed in a new piece from Billboard last week.

According to Kristin Robinson of Billboard, Jose “Chenel” Medina Teran and Webster Batista set up a media company called MediaMuv and claimed to own the rights to various Latin music songs and compositions. In total, MediaMuv claimed to own more than 50,000 copyrights since 2017, when Teran and Batista began their scheme.

In order for MediaMuv to claim these copyrights and collect royalties through YouTube’s Content ID system, the fraudulent company needed to partner with AdRev, a third-party company that has access to YouTube’s CMS and Content ID tools and helps artists manage their digital copyrights. MediaMuv created a few fake documents and provided AdRev with this paperwork in order to prove ownership over the music it claimed. From there, AdRev not only helped MediaMuv collect royalties for those copyrights but also provided Terana and Batista with direct access to YouTube’s CMS so they could claim copyrights on its own.

Teran and Batista’s four-year-long royalties heist came to an end late last year following an investigation from the IRS. According to Billboard, the two were indicted on “30 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.”

Mashable calls it “a huge reminder that online copyright is deeply flawed…”

“[J]ust think about how many more careful scammers are still skimming royalties off of an untold number of artists.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

YouTube Ad Revenue Tops $8.6 Billion, Beating Netflix In the Quarter

YouTube topped Netflix in terms of quarterly revenue, with the Google-owned video platform delivering $8.6 billion in advertising revenue in Q4, the company said Tuesday. The Hollywood Reporter reports: For fiscal 2021, YouTube delivered $28.8 billion in advertising revenue. In the same quarter a year earlier, YouTube delivered $6.9 billion in advertising revenue, underscoring the continued explosive growth of the platform. For comparison, Netflix delivered $7.7 billion in revenue in Q4 in 2021, compared to $6.6 billion a year earlier. Overall, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported $75.3 billion in revenue for the quarter, and $257.6 billion for the year, with Google search advertising still making up the lions share of revenue.

With regard to YouTube, the executives cited commerce as a potential growth area for YouTube, with CEO Sundar Pichai calling it “a whole other layer of opportunity.” “Podcasts, gaming, learning, sports, across all of these areas we will take a vertical specific look and find out how we can support creators better,” he said. “While pretty early, there is a lot of pilots under way,” he added, noting that they were “super early” into testing how shopping could be baked into YouTube Shorts, its TikTok-esque shorts platform, which Pichai said now has more than 5 trillion views. The executives also called out YouTube’s connected TV opportunity.

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Programmer Restores YouTube Dislike Counts With Browser Extension

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: YouTube’s decision to hide dislike counts on videos has sparked anger and derision. One inventive programmer has attempted to restore the feature in a browser extension. The plugin currently uses the Google API to generate the dislike count. However, this functionality will be removed from December 13. “I’ll try to scrape as much data as possible until then,” the extension’s creator said on Reddit. “After that — total dislikes will be estimated using extension users as a sample.”

The alpha version isn’t perfect. It currently only works on videos for which the Youtube API returns a valid dislike count. The calculations could also be skewed by the userbase, which is unlikely to represent the average YouTube viewer. The developer said they’re exploring ways to mitigate this, such as comparing the downvotes collected through the public of extension users to a cache of real downvotes. The results should also improve as uptake grows. The plugin could provide a useful service, but its greatest value may be as a potent symbol of protest. You can try it out here — but proceed at your own risk. If you want to check out the code, it’s been published on GitHub. Further reading: YouTube Co-Founder Predicts ‘Decline’ of the Platform Following Removal of Dislikes

Read more of this story at Slashdot.