My Video Got Hit by a Bogus Copyright Claim on YouTube and I Can’t Do Anything About It


During the process of uploading my latest Link’s Awakening live stream to YouTube, I saw the Copyright Claim flag under one of my my Tetris 99 videos. Confused, I clicked to see who had filed the claim and on what grounds. What I saw made me very upset.

The passage flagged was a section where you could clearly hear the Game Boy Tetris Type-A theme. However, the claim was not filed by Nintendo or The Tetris Company. Instead, it was flagged by an EDM group who sampled the theme in one of their songs. While I can’t say for certain that they don’t have the rights to use that song in their music, they certainly don’t have the right to claim Nintendo’s music on my video.

I start the disputing process and hit an impasse. You can file a dispute based on one of four reasons:

  • Original content
  • License
  • Fair use
  • Public domain

The problem with these options is that none apply to this case. It’s not my original content per se, as it was technically a broadcast of Nintendo’s music. I don’t have a license to broadcast Nintendo’s music. This isn’t an example of fair use or public domain either.

Based on these options, I’m already at a huge disadvantage. How do I dispute on the grounds of, “It’s not mine, but it’s not yours either?” Also, this claim goes directly to the claimant, who of course isn’t going to let this slide and expose their shady dealings along the way, especially if I myself don’t have expressed written consent from Nintendo to broadcast that music on my stream. If anything, I open the door for them to hit me with a copyright strike, which would push my channel towards termination. Rightly or wrongly, it’s simply not worth it for me to go through that mess.

I took to Twitter and YouTube’s response ultimately wasn’t helpful. Their response just takes me back to the dispute form.

Copyright should be protected and I acknowledge that it’s hard to do. In this case, I’d have no problem if Nintendo or The Tetris Company took issue here. However, to have a third party try to claim the rights on my video and Nintendo’s music in one fell swoop isn’t right. They have the upper hand in this system because there’s no mechanism for me to fairly dispute my particular case.

Instead of giving them one iota of revenue, I pulled the video. It stinks to lose that 2.5 hour stream, but I don’t want them to get any credit for that work. Going forward, I’m never streaming with that particular Tetris 99 theme again in order to avoid this. Even so, I wish there was a better way to stop others from abusing the system this way.

For now, if you would like to watch the full broadcast, head over to my Twitch channel.

2 thoughts on “My Video Got Hit by a Bogus Copyright Claim on YouTube and I Can’t Do Anything About It

  1. Kris P. October 7, 2019 / 7:42 AM

    That’s a load of bull, both the copyright claim itself and YouTube’s response. I know about a year ago, Nintendo eased up a touch about using Nintendo games on Let’s Plays/Livestreams (https://www.nintendo.co.jp/networkservice_guideline/en/index.html?n), even if they still have a guide for what’s appropriate. I didn’t see anything touching upon music specifically, but I wonder if that would count as “I have permission” to use it or even the “I have significantly transformed the content” as per Nintendo’s guidelines/permissions.

    With that said, if it was a specific passage of your video, would you be able to edit that passage enough (edit in the airhorn or something) and then re-upload the video to metaphorically flip this copyright claim off?

    I have heard that Nintendo has been recently trying to crack down on channels that upload videos of only Nintendo soundtracks, but I highly doubt a passage from Tetris 99 counts. Do you know anything else about these people that filed the claim?

    • Jett October 7, 2019 / 8:09 AM

      You might have a point with regards to those options. Thanks for digging up the link! I think in this particular case, I’m concerned that it’s not worth the potential headaches to try and save this particular video. If this does happen again on a video getting many more views though, I will keep this in my back pocket.

      Unfortunately, there isn’t a way for me at this point to edit this one. I don’t record gameplay and my voice separately, so I can’t edit just the music. OBS does let you do that, but it does add extra strain on your computer. Still, figuring that out would allow me to do stuff like play my own music on live streams and then edit that music out for YouTube. After Extra Life, will add that to the list and pass along any info I dig up.

      Also, the claimant flagged 75% of the video, making it a massive job to fix even if I had them recorded separately. 🤬

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