According to Wikipedia a copyright troll is a party (person or company) that enforces copyrights it owns for purposes of making money through litigation, in a manner considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic, generally without producing or licensing the works it owns for paid distribution.
My problem with this definition, is that the above described type of businesses, even-though unethical as hell, it is still legal and within the rule of law.
The person or company filing for patents, and then enforcing them, is simply operating in an opportunist mentality, the same type of mentality adopted by domain squatters, who purchase thousands of domain names hoping to make a quick buck off the people that genuinely need a specific domain.
The real copyright trolls, are those claim ownership of the copyright for a specific technology/ media content / etc , while they do not really hold any copyright.
These kinds of individuals are actually scammers, and they are much more present that you might think.
These copyright trolls are frequently present on Youtube, yes that’s right, the video sharing site known for it’s infamous comment trolls, is also home to most copyright trolls. These shady individuals and companies take advantage of Youtube’s video identification tool
Here’s an explainer video on how the tool works:
You guessed it, these shady companies submit into the content id system, content -audio, video- that they don’t own any copyright of, and then ask to monetize the content, thus each time someone submits this content they are taking all the money made from it. Would they be caught, probably, when the real copyright holder shows up and decides to takes thing into court …
Their favorite tactic though is to submit content in the public domain, this way they don’t have to fear of being caught! Except we did catch them!
A client of us, decided to upload to Youtube an old public domain video, the video is produced in 1916 and is in the public domain.
A creative work goes into the public domain after it’s copyright expires,and may be freely used or exploited by anyone. The duration of a copyright spans the author’s life + 50 to 100 years (depending on the jurisdiction). Some countries require certain copyright formalities to establishing copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration.
In most jurisdictions the copyright holder must bear the cost of enforcing copyright. This involve engaging legal representation, and court costs. Due to this, many copyright holders, settle disputes by a direct approaching the infringing party, and thus settle the dispute out of court.
Youtube copyright enforcing is a bit imperfect, as it allows easily to claim copyright, without the need to go to court, thus rendering the system prone to exploitation.
Once our client uploaded the video, he was informed that at least 6 different companies are claiming copyright on pieces of the video, all 6 are claiming copyright over different songs and even 1 is claiming copyright over the video.
Obviously our client contacted us to investigate the issue, we immediately knew that these companies were copyright hijackers or copyright thieves.
To try to solve the issue, we swiped the audio with the youtube free to use tracks, and we focused on this 1 company claiming copyright over video content.
We first contacted this company “Orchard Entertainment”, after several days with no response, we filed dispute through youtube, surprise surprise, during 30 days they haven’t responded and we won the dispute for our client.
Good news! Your dispute wasn’t reviewed within 30 days, so the copyright claim on your YouTube video has now been released.
Job done, once again, we saved our client’s ass from copyright trouble -previously we restored his tumblr blog, suspended for multiple copyright content-, so our service was executed as it should.
But, the company claiming copyright still holds the copyright for the video, and this challenge only affected the client’s video, thus, they are still monetizing all the other videos.
And they probably are using this shady tactic on a vast amount of public domain videos and content.
And indeed it seams they are doing this scam-my monetizing technique on many different levels :
If you need to enforce your copyright or need us to save you from a copyright trouble, contact us, and we’ll provide you a quote.