Two men accused of stealing $20 million in music royalties from YouTube by claiming to...

midian182

Posts: 7,424   +65
Staff member
TL;DR: Two men face decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines for allegedly stealing $20 million in royalties from a company that is almost certainly YouTube. How did they pull it off? Simply by claiming they owned the rights to over 50,000 Spanish-language songs.

MarketWatch reports that Jose “Chanel” Teran, 36, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Webster “Yenddi” Batista, 38, of Doral, Florida, are accused of fraudulently claiming their company, MediaMuv, owned the rights to the songs.

The scheme began in 2017 when they are alleged to have approached a third-party royalty management firm identified only as A.R. In some instances, forged notes from the artists in question were used to claim the pair managed the music rights.

A company that the court documents identify as Y.T., presumably YouTube, approved the pair for the platform’s Content ID system, which is supposed to identify songs that appear in video uploads so rights holders can claim ad money. They also signed a sound recording and audiovisual content license that allows Google to offer the music to users in exchange for monetization revenue, writes Gizmodo.

One of the tracks, Piso 21’s ‘Me Llamas,’ earned Teran and Batista over $100,000 through the video’s 700+ million YouTube views.

In 2018, MediaMuv was reported to the royalties administrator by someone claiming to be a rightsholder to one of the songs in its catalog, but Teran said someone didn’t deserve royalty money “just because he say [sic] he has the right to,” which is precisely what the pair were doing, allegedly.

The scam continued until April 2021, by which time it had brought in over $20 million. Some of the money was used on a $550,000 mansion, $129,000 went on Teslas, $93,000 to buy a BMW hybrid, and $62,000 on jewelry.

Teran and Batista have been charged with 30 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. They face a cumulative 37 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each felony conviction.

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Puiu

Posts: 5,177   +4,045
TechSpot Elite
Why do people never stop? Do they really believe nobody will find out? If they had just exited after 1-2 years they might have had a chance to get away with it.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,954   +5,468
Why do people never stop? Do they really believe nobody will find out? If they had just exited after 1-2 years they might have had a chance to get away with it.
Greed!

IMO, its hilarious that YT could be involved in this in any fashion.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,173   +214
It's only theft when you're stealing from big multi-billion dollar corporation. it's just bad luck when small creators missed their paycheck because they got ripped off from various fraudulent copyright claims by youtube.
 

Fox God Records

Posts: 78   +74
Who knew that google's copyright system was rigged against creators? Maybe the CEO of a frickin' record company. Maybe this CEO of a record company.

Illegal copyright claim scams have been known for YEARS, and it's always up to the creators to prove their innocence in the face of false claims. It's a shitty way to treat people, but when it's youtube. . . Where else are ya gonna go?
 

Phaetos

Posts: 63   +54
It's only theft when you're stealing from big multi-billion dollar corporation. it's just bad luck when small creators missed their paycheck because they got ripped off from various fraudulent copyright claims by youtube.

I tried uploading my first reaction video a week and half ago, when it got claimed I disputed under Fair Use .... it's still under review. DMCA is garbage and needs to be reworked.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,173   +214
I tried uploading my first reaction video a week and half ago, when it got claimed I disputed under Fair Use .... it's still under review. DMCA is garbage and needs to be reworked.

I made some tutorial videos on working with cars that has no-copyright audio in it. somehow it got flagged and when we got in touch with the artist he says it is still no-copyright. but I believed he must have made a deal with a music studio at the same time because lots of people got flagged. after a month of dispute I got the video back but the revenue was lower than what it was supposed to (I regularly check analytics). I blacklisted that singer and started using youtube's own audio library. after some time I don't even bother putting music in any of my videos.
 

Phaetos

Posts: 63   +54
I made some tutorial videos on working with cars that has no-copyright audio in it. somehow it got flagged and when we got in touch with the artist he says it is still no-copyright. but I believed he must have made a deal with a music studio at the same time because lots of people got flagged. after a month of dispute I got the video back but the revenue was lower than what it was supposed to (I regularly check analytics). I blacklisted that singer and started using youtube's own audio library. after some time I don't even bother putting music in any of my videos.
What I attempted to find was music or music videos that are now public domain and should not be able to be claimed. Unfortunately, the only searches result in Music from Epidemic Sounds and Happy Birthday .... sigh