An unknown number of popular music videos disappeared from YouTube on Sunday night and Monday, thanks to what appeared to be either a hack or prank by what may be a 13-year-old cricket fan.
Videos from Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and other popular artists that were associated with Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards disappeared from YouTube's site, as well as the Vevo channel, WebProNews reported. The reason? A copyright claim that was filed by a person or persons named iLCreative.
Representatives from YouTube declined to comment. "A few videos by Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga were briefly taken down by YouTube as a result of false copyright claims. This issue has been resolved," a Vevo spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday.
It's unknown who or iLCreative is; however, the Twittersphere pounced on "Fayzann," who described himself as a "13 years old Kid" on his YouTube channel, published under the usernae "iLCreation". Fayzann, who joined on June 27, said he published excerpts from cricket matches. In response, "#iLCreation," "#WEWANTJUSTINBIEBERVEVOBACK," "#JustinBieberVEVO" and "#VMA" (a sponsored topic) all reached Twitter's "trending topics" list.
"Because, I'm a Huge fan of Cricket. & I wanted to edit the matches & to Provide Short Cricket Montages to YouTubers," he wrote.
Fayzann's YouTube channel no longer exists. "This account has been terminated due to repeated or severe violations of our Terms of Service," a message reads. In what appears to be a bit of tit-for-tat, Fayzann's first video, titled "Zaheer Khan's All 21 Wickets - ICC Cricket World Cup 2011," was removed as a "violation of YouTube's policy on shocking and disgusting content".
YouTube uses a few methods of identifying and removing content; an automated service called ContentID requires a Hollywood studio or other content provider to submit a reference file, an electronic ID of a particular movie, song, or other copyrighted work. YouTube uses this file and matches it against either a file that's on the site or a file that's attempted to be uploaded; in the latter case, that movie or song will be blocked from being uploaded. Some pirated films do appear on YouTube, especially if those content providers don't submit their reference files.
YouTube also has a manual complaint form, however, where users can request songs or videos be removed. That procedure leads through a step-by-step process, where an individual who wishes to report a trademark or other copyright violation may submit an email to Google's team, and is warned about the. (Content with pornographic or obscene content is flagged for deletion through a separate process.)
Users who choose the legal option are also warned that abuse of the procedure may result in termination of the user's YouTube account.
"Please understand YouTube is not in a position to mediate trademark disputes between users and trademark owners," YouTube states. "As a result, we strongly encourage trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with the user who posted the content in question. Contacting the uploader may allow for a quicker resolution to your claim in a way that is beneficial to you, the uploader, and the YouTube community."
Users then have three options: contact the uploader via a private message or email, or to fill out a form. That form provides fields to identify the copyright or trademark holder and the infringing content. It also has a box with room for a digital signature, listed as a "legal affirmation" of the claims provided.
Although the videos were restored as of Monday afternoon, Vevo had to step in and note that users could watch their Justin Bieber videos either on the Vevo.com site itself or on the Vevo app.