“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.