'Dreams' by Joakim Karud is a popular track in Youtube's library of safe, royalty-free music, which it supplies to video creators who want to stay on the right side of copyright, but Sonyatv and Warner Chappell claim that the Creative Commons-licensed song contains an uncleared sample from the Kenny Burrell Quartet's 'Weaver of Dreams,' which has allowed the giant rightsholder corporations to claim ownership over any video that incorporates the track and demand the lion's share of the revenue generated by the tens of millions of views associated with them.
Youtubers who appeal the automated process risk having a copyright strike placed against their accounts: after they accumulate three strikes, they can lose access to their accounts forever.
'Dreams' appears in a very large number of videos on Youtube, and it's likely not the only track in the Youtube royalty-free library that could generate copyright claims. It's not clear whether 'Dreams' even contains the sample, nor whether the sample is used in a way that would fall under US fair use law, which no algorithm is capable of determining.
A clearly exasperated Matt took to YouTube, noting that any ads that now show up on his videos "split up the revenue between all the companies listed" in the emails, with Matt himself "allowed to keep what's left of that." He doesn't know what that amount might be, because he says there's just no way of knowing.
After highlighting the vague use of the word "may" in YouTube's emails to him, Matt then went on to describe the real "kick in the gut", which revolves around the track itself.
'Dreams' composer Joakim Karud allows anyone to use his music on YouTube, even commercially, for free. And the fact that Matt downloaded the track from YouTube's own library was the icing on this particularly bitter cake.
"So I guess this library can't be trusted at all," says Matt. "YouTube might just remove songs from it after the fact and then shrug off any consequences for videos that use that music as you know, shit happens."
Matt said he had to time out to manually protest the automated claims against his account but he says his overtures were immediately rejected, "almost like it's an automated bot or something." But things get worse from there.
'Royalty-Free' Music Supplied By YouTube Results in Mass Video Demonetization [Andy/Torrentfreak]