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A frustrated YouTube user has filed a lawsuit against the company in California, alleging multiple failures to comply with the requirements of the DMCA. While the case is likely to fail, it may provide useful pointers for those in a similar position and considering the same kind of action.

Fueled by the massive resources of Google, YouTube is now considered one of the most important sites on the Internet. Every month two billion users log into the platform and according to the latest statistics, people watch more than a billion hours of video every day. This wouldn’t be possible without creators uploading their content to YouTube, with many doing so in the hope of gaining exposure and/or a share of the financial spoils. However, despite increasing numbers of channels earning five and six-figure payouts, the road is not always smooth for smaller contributors. In particular, many feel they are overlooked or mistreated when it comes to copyright claims that target their content and leave their accounts in poor standing.

One such user is LaTonya R. Finley of Oakland, California. Finley ran out of patience with YouTube recently and responded with a lawsuit demanding compensation and an injunction against the company for alleged failures under the DMCA. Filed in California district court last week, the lawsuit is being allowed to progress in forma pauperis (“in the manner of a pauper”), meaning that since the plaintiff has limited financial means, she is excused from paying filing fees and court costs. After even a cursory view of the case, that is probably a good thing for the plaintiff.

Alleged False Copyright Claim, YouTube Refuses to Process Counter
According to the complaint, around May 4, 2020, Finley received a notification from YouTube indicating that a company called ‘Pixel World Roleplay LTD’ had submitted a copyright complaint against her channel and as a result, it had received a copyright strike from YouTube. Finley claims that YouTube provided no contact information enabling her to reach the copyright holder and she wasn’t told which content she’d allegedly infringed. Then, when she tried to file a counternotice under the DMCA, YouTube informed her that it hadn’t “been able to process her counter notification given the information she had provided. Aside from the bare claims, the lawsuit provides no evidence indicating the validity (or otherwise) of the original claim nor any details of Finley’s response. However, the complaint goes on to criticize YouTube for only providing limited means to contest a copyright claim and to be frank, only goes downhill from there.
 
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