US sues scammers for 50,000 fraudulent copyright claims via YouTube

Two scammers have been charged with forging copyrights for more than 50,000 songs. The suspects built up a large library of music via YouTube and earned more than 18.3 million euros in royalties.

The scammers, Webster Batista Fernandez and Jose Teran, managed to scam YouTube through a fake company called MediaMuv, according to a court document published by TorrentFreak. The two suspects managed to convince an intermediary between them and YouTube to own the copyright to the tens of thousands of songs. According to the court document, Fernandez and Teran also used forged contracts from the actual copyright owners of songs in some cases. The suspects are charged with fraud, identity theft and money laundering.

Fernandez and Teran reportedly started the scam in April of 2017 and have received at least more than $18.3 million in royalties through April 2021. This money, paid out by an anonymized intermediary, was actually intended for the entitled artists but probably disappeared completely in the pockets of the suspects. With the money, almost half a million euros in real estate, a Tesla, a BMW i8 and jewelry were bought.

MediaMuv has long been infamous among YouTubers, as evidenced by numerous videos, forum posts and a dedicated Twitter channel. Content creators have been complaining about copyright issues at YouTube since the scam began, in this case always following a claim from MediaMuv. Victims lose all their income on their own material with such a copyright claim via YouTube. The document shows that the thirty largest victims lost between ten and more than a hundred thousand euros because of the scammers. It is not yet clear what YouTube will do after these revelations.

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