Hey YouTube, You Need to Curtail YOUR Piracy Problem.

Zoltan Tasi — Via Unsplash

I had a friend contact me recently regarding one of my audiobooks that had been uploaded to Youtube.com which had over 1500 views and, sweetly enough, a few comments talking about what a great writer I was and how great the narrator was, etc. While I appreciate the kind words, guys, piracy sucks.

You know, I could go into all the reasons why I wanted it taken down, but quite frankly, I shouldn’t have to. In the age where consent is everything, my work should not be made available on a platform without my knowledge or without my consent. Doing so removes my rights, illegally, as the creator of the content.

To have the content removed, I had to file a claim with Youtube.com and inform them of my copyright and my wish to have it removed. While the form wasn’t hard to fill out, and was pretty self explanatory, I just found it interesting that even after rights were claimed on the material, it still took a few days for it to come down.

I come from a school of thought that says, “You shouldn’t present a problem without a possible solution.” So, how about this? How about, before anyone is able to upload content, they have to prove they own the rights to it?

Why should I have to do this? Why is the burden placed on the artists whose work has been pirated and viewed (x) amount of times before some random friend was able to catch it?

There’s an argument out there that, “Well, the people who watched it on YouTube wouldn’t have bought it anyway.”

So what?

That’s like arguing that the burglar who broke into your house wouldn’t have paid Sony $500 bucks for your PlayStation 5, anyway.

But you’re the one out 500 bucks and a PlayStation 5.

If you take the cost of the audiobook, without a membership to Audible would have been about 20 bucks, and multiply it by 1,500 views, the income would have been around 30 grand.

Maybe I would feel different if I were a big time author with money to burn, movie deals, and agents banging my door down.

But I’m not.

I’m a piddly independent author out there trying to make his way into the big bad world of publishing. Trying to make my mark and entertain people with diverse fiction about queer people.

I got this reply from YouTube.

Hi Author F.E Feeley Jr.,

Thank you very much for your notification. The content has been removed.

You may take back your claim of copyright infringement at any time if you change your mind.

- The YouTube Team

“You can take back your claim of copyright infringement at any time if you change your mind.”

Not, “Dude, we’re sorry that your shit was uploaded on our platform without your consent nor without you being duly paid for the content. In the future, we will work toward ensuring that this isn’t doesn’t happen again.”

Are you fucking kidding me?!

I’m not the only person who had their work uploaded on this site under this one username. And I don’t know if YouTube struck those videos down as well, and honest to God folks, I don’t have the stomach to look.

I hope they did. Now we’ve gone from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars that isn’t going toward author’s bills, their dinner table, and the cost of creating audio books to begin with. Especially now that COVID -19 has body slammed the entertainment industry from Hollywood to Broadway and everything and everyone in between.

It’s disheartening to say the least. It’s unfair. But YouTube and other Piracy avenues are so freaking big that it’s impossible to really do anything about their ability to rob people of their rights. I certainly don’t have the power to take them to court or to congress and beg for some type of protection against this.

But I can warn other authors out there to check YOUTUBE.COM and make sure your shit hasn’t been stolen from you as well.

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Frederick E Feeley Jr

Frederick E Feeley Jr

Queer AF Author. Poet. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Human Being.