PewDiePie says he's losing all revenue from a 30-minute video because he played an unrecognizable Celine Dion cover
- KSI cohosted PewDiePie's "Meme Review" this week, and the two YouTubers serenaded their subscribers with Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" at the end.
- They played the song on a recorder and an alpine horn for a few seconds, but it was pretty much unrecognizable from the original.
- PewDiePie said the terrible cover was enough for a company to claim all the revenue from the video.
- PewDiePie said that he appealed the claim but that it was subsequently rejected. "I just thought it was bulls---. I don't even know," he said in an Instagram Story.
PewDiePie and KSI, who appeared on PewDiePie's YouTube channel to cohost his "Meme Review" segment this week, serenaded their subscribers at the end with Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," played on a recorder and an alpine horn.
Despite their best efforts, the song was hardly recognizable — but that didn't stop a company from making a copyright claim over the video.
PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, said in an Instagram Story on Wednesday that a company was claiming the revenue for the whole video as its own for the cover he and KSI played for a few seconds at the end.
"It's too similar, isn't it," Kjellberg said sarcastically while showing the part of the video.
"So I appealed it, obviously, because it's bulls---. Like, why" he said. "And they rejected it. This is actually infringing on copyright, according to this company."
—Sara (@blendyourglow) November 25, 2020
He said the unnamed company was now receiving all the money made from the 30-minute video.
"So all the revenue now goes to this company for the entire video," he said. "I just thought it was bulls---. I don't even know."
Creators often object to YouTube's copyright system
YouTube's copyright rules say that "if you upload a video that contains copyright-protected material, you could end up with a Content ID claim issued by the party who owns the music, movies, TV shows, video games, or other copyright-protected material."
"A Content ID claim may result in a takedown or lost revenue depending on the actions specified by the copyright owner (but you can dispute a claim you believe is wrong)," the website says. "We believe it's important to keep YouTube a platform that inspires vibrant creativity and protects creative rights."
YouTube's copyright system uses a program called Content ID that scans videos and flags to creators where work might be being copied. The creator then decides whether to make a claim depending on whether the video falls under the fair-use copyright exception.
Companies or people with YouTube accounts can also manually make claims for anything Content ID misses.
Creators have said that the system can be exploited and that YouTube automatically sides with the claimant and assumes the breach is real.
One YouTuber previously told Insider that Warner Chappell Music kept copyright-claiming her videos because she hummed a song for a few seconds.
"I reached out to YouTube about it, and they said they'd look into it, and I never heard anything again," she said.
"They bend over backwards to keep big advertisers and companies happy. They probably don't want to even risk taking the fall for copyright lawsuits so they let the rights holders paint with a broad brush that leads to a ton of copyright abuse."
PewDiePie's fans think he's treated more harshly
Kjellberg, who has 107 million subscribers, has the second-biggest channel in the world after the Indian music label T-Series. Some of Kjellberg's fans have been discussing the copyright issue on social media and saying they believe YouTube treats him more harshly than other creators.
PewDiePie "makes a video covering my heart will go on, barely sounds like it, and he gets copyrighted," one fan tweeted. "I did a video with the same audio and everything is OK, @YouTube proves they really don't know what they're doing, it's just unfair."
In October, a glitch that affected Kjellberg's channel resulted in his videos and profile not appearing in YouTube's search. This led to speculation online that Kjellberg had been "shadowbanned" — when a user's content is blocked from viewers without their knowledge. YouTube said it was an error, and the bug was fixed after a day.
"I didn't think they shadowbanned me. I just assumed it was a glitch," Kjellberg said in a video a few days later. "But it begs the question: How does that happen? How did it happen? It didn't happen to anyone else. I asked around."
Kjellberg and YouTube didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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