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    YouTube news channels including Ravish Kumar, Abhisar Sharma, Bolta Hindustan face multiple copyright claims from one company

    Multiple journalists and news channels on YouTube, including Bolta Hindustan, Abhisar Sharma and Ravish Kumar, have reported having received multiple copyright claims for their content. The warnings all came from a company called Ziiki Media Entertainment and targeted videos featuring public domain content like press conferences and speeches by politicians.

    Bolta Hindustan founder Haseen Rahmani told Medianama that he had received at least 10 warnings from Ziiki Media, with the first one coming on June 19. The videos claimed as containing copyrighted material in fact contained press conferences and speeches, which Rahmani said were all public domain. “Out of the 10-12 videos we received a claim on, four to five videos had their claims withdrawn without me disputing the claim,” he added. “Many of these videos are 4-5 years old, so even if they contain copyrighted material, why am I receiving the notices now?”  

    YouTube news channels including Ravish Kumar, Abhisar Sharma, Bolta Hindustan face multiple copyright claims from one company

    While none of his videos have been taken down, the copyright claim means that his videos cannot be monetised. “I believe that it may be an attempt to target independent journalists,” he said.

    Bolta Hindustan was the target of a takedown notice from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in April this year, with YouTube suspending the channel for a month after accusing it of circumventing a ban placed on an associated channel called Bolta UP.  

    The channel was reinstated the very next month, with YouTube claiming that Bolta UP was wrongly terminated by their system. 

    Senior journalist Abhisar Sharma, whose channel has 3.5 million subscribers, also received copyright claims from the same company. Similar to Bolta Hindustan, the targeted videos also contained speeches by politicians. “They were all publicly available soundbites, not any exclusive content. We never use that,” he said.

    Sharma challenged the claims, after which they were withdrawn. He told Medianama, “I wrote to the company, telling them that I had used publicly available soundbites, which were not their property. I warned them that if they pursued the claims, I would have to take legal recourse.” He also found out from YouTube that the company had sent copyright claims to many other journalists. None of his videos have been taken down.

    The journalist’s channel had been subject to copyright claims by Prasar Bharti last year, for posting videos of parliamentary proceedings. 

    Ravish Kumar, whose channel has 11.1 million subscribers, also confirmed to Medianama that he had been the subject of copyright claims by Ziiki Media. Kumar, alongside Bolta Hindustan and Abhisar Sharma are part of DIGIPUB News India Foundation, an industry body of digital news publishers.

    Ziiki Media representatives told Medianama, “There has been a system breakdown and we have not initiated these claims. We are in discussion with YouTube to resolve this.” It is as yet unclear what the system breakdown entailed and whether it occurred at YouTube or Ziiki Media.

    Medianama has reached out to YouTube and will update this story once we receive a response.

    What Is Ziiki Media?

    On its website, Ziiki Media terms itself as “Africa’s leading entertainment provider,” who work with “a broad array of businesses engaged in content aggregation and distribution in various formats i.e. recorded music, music publishing, merchandising, and audiovisual content,” across Africa, India and Southeast Asia. The website displays a South African address and phone number.

    Ziiki Media operates at least four YouTube channels, one dedicated to Punjabi and Haryanvi music, one for Indian devotional music and three containing African music. According to the MCA database, the company has a registered Indian address in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

    The company also has partnered with the Warner Music Group, licensing its India properties to the conglomerate Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) and Warner Music India.

    Both Abhisar Sharma and Haseen Rahmani confirmed to Medianama that their videos did not incorporate any music. The reason behind sending the notices is thus unclear.

    What Does A Copyright Claim Do?

    When a video receives a copyright claim, the uploader is unable to monetise the video and receive revenue from it. This is very concerning for independent journalists who depend on YouTube for revenue, as Medianama’s report on Prasar Bharti’s copyright claims showed.

    On its support website, YouTube describes two ways one can assert copyright ownership on the platform – copyright removal requests and Content ID claims.

    A copyright removal request, also known as a “takedown notice”, is a legal request to remove content from YouTube due to alleged copyright infringement.

    Meanwhile, Content ID is a YouTube tool that automatically scans YouTube for copyright-protected content. According to the platform’s policies, “It is a digital fingerprinting system that allows rights holders to upload content that they have exclusive rights to as reference files, and then scans videos uploaded to YouTube for matches of that content. When a user uploads content, Content ID scans against the database for matching videos.” If a match is found, then the copyright owner can either block a whole video from being viewed, monetise the video themselves or track the video’s viewership statistics.

    Based on the emails received by Sharma and Rahmani, it is likely that the claims were issued through Content ID.

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    The post YouTube news channels including Ravish Kumar, Abhisar Sharma, Bolta Hindustan face multiple copyright claims from one company appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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