Who knew that it was this easy to attack your enemies on YouTube? A prankster calling himself iLCreation has brought mayhem to YouTube today by successfully getting music videos for mega-stars like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, & Rihanna pulled from the site. How did this mastermind accomplish such a massive undertaking? Through the submission of simple copyright claims. Duh.

The disappearance of the videos was noticed immediately by loyal fans of the artists, who began screaming about it on Twitter. TMZ picked up the story as well, which probably helped bring about the quick repair. Yes, Bieber fans, you can relax. The videos have reportedly all been restored now, and the downtime lasted only a couple hours. (Don't believe me? See for yourself.)

The only reason they went down originally is because YouTube's just too big. There are too many videos, and therefore too many copyright claim submissions, for them to keep up with manually. So the system is automated. And when illegitimate claims are challenged, YouTube gets humans involved in sorting out the dispute. So iLCreation's little trick was doomed to be temporary from the start.

Justin Bieber & Lady Gaga Videos Pulled From YouTube By Simple Copyright Claim bieber 606x335

But the bigger question remains: how many hooligans are going to read about this and set out to intentionally sabotage the YouTube channels of their rivals, other celebrities and artists, and everyday creators?

If getting videos removed--even temporarily--is really as easy as just submitting a (phony) copyright claim, then what's to stop others from pulling the same prank? What's to stop this from becoming a trend or a cool stunt to pull to impress your friends?

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The issue of copyright is a huge one, and real money can be lost when copyrights are infringed upon, so you can at least understand why YouTube's system is set up to spring into action so quickly. But maybe this incident shows that the site has grown too large to rely on an automated video removal system. Maybe the humans need to get involved before a video is pulled to help prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000051471284 Nathan Daly

    lol to later for intentionally sabotage it's already happenend but youtube should check claim's or stuff like this happen's, hell I saw a video get taken down and the bloody company's name was spelled wrong on the copyright claim, really youtube? Come ON.

  • Steven Washer

    The copyright question is getting more interesting. That "right" mentioned in the Constitution has little bearing on the issue. The Constitution is a document that limits the rights of government, not people, so let's deal with the actual issue, which is scarcity. For property to be protected, it must be scarce. If I have a copy and you have a copy, we both have copies and therefore no one can be damaged, therefore copyright does not apply. In the late 1800's, the only way to get a copy was to buy one made of paper and ink. But basically free electrons assembling themselves into perfect replicas means that the law is going to have to catch up to the technology.

  • Omar Elbaga

    The easiest thing would be to simply give undesirable consequences to someone who claims a false copyright. I'd imagine, the copyright owner could probably sue the false claimant for the downtime and hassle as well. It's like going down to the police station and making up a bogus story. Probably not something you'd want to do for fun.

  • Ruth Hussey

    Hello. Copyright is the only right mentioned in the US Constitution. US Copyright Law serves Authors. Still a Work posted on YouTube has little financial consequence. Was has value is the Copyright Owner's exclusive right to make or authorize derivative works / new versions. Learn something about Copyright. It's good for you. Copyright.gov / JOHN LONGENECKER.

  • Robby Petersen

    There's a channel called QuizGroupMovies doing the same thing, and for months no one has been able to stop them. They're even getting ad revenue from the videos they've made claims on. Lame stuff.

  • http://www.videoleadsonline.com VideoLeadsOnline

    Sounds like this could turn nasty if businesses try to go after their competitor's videos! Hope it does not come to that (but it might).

  • Marc Goodman

    Considering that submitting a copyright claim through YouTube means you are legally stating you own the content under perjury of law, this prankster, if found, could be charged on cases of felony.

    I think YouTube might have to go hard to find this person to make a public showing to deter future false copyright claims.

    If that happens then we could expect YouTube to continue as is, otherswise we can expect some changed to youtube's policies

  • Bruce Fraser

    Some web hosts make you take links off your site to an offending video. I've seen some scared copyright holders not threaten (send a copyright notice) up loaders, especially if it's a hacker group or someone who can do some damage.