A much-loved YouTube account featuring calm hip-hop beats is back online today, after two popular radio live streams (the oldest of which has been playing non-stop for two years) got yanked from the platform due to bogus copyright claims. In a tweet, the owner of the Lofi Girl channel — which has been streaming relaxing ambient music since 2017 — announced that the streams have after a nearly 48-hour hiatus.
The origin of the DMCA claims came from FMC Music, a Malaysian record label. After receiving a counterclaim from the creators of Lofi Girl, YouTube manually reviewed FMC’s complaint and came to the conclusion that the record label had no ownership over the music.
“Confirmed the takedown requests were abusive & terminated the claimants account 😔 we’ve resolved the strikes + reinstated your vids – it can sometimes take 24-48 hours for everything to be back to normal! so sorry this happened & thx for your patience as we sorted it out,” wrote YouTube on Twitter, in response to Lofi Girl’s request on Monday that the streams be reinstated.
But FMC Music is alleging that it is also a victim in this affair. A spokesperson from the label local news site Malaysiakini that hackers broke into its YouTube account to file the copyright infringement claim. The record label said that it reported the incident to Google. Its YouTube account has since returned back online.
The relatively unknown record label was hit hard with online abuse over the weekend, as fans of Lofi Girl flocked to its social media channels and demanded to know why it filed the fake claim. Most of Lofi Girl’s largely Gen-Z and younger Millennial fanbase rely on the music to study, relax or meditate.
In an ironic twist, Lofi Girl also has a considerable Malaysian fanbase, who were also quite unhappy about the channel’s removal. In a Reddit on r/Malaysia entitled, “Who the hell is FMC Music Sdn Bhd Malaysia and why did they copywrite strike lofi girl?”, a despondent fan urged others to “make some noise” on the record label’s socials.
“For context, I was studying while listening to lofi girl before both of their streams got taken down by a certain FMC Music Sdn Bhd Malaysia. Now their livestreams can’t be accessed in Malaysia. What gives them the right to take down the best channel on youtube,” wrote the user.
Malicious copyright strikes are hardly a new incident on YouTube. Game creater Bungie decided to take one creator to after they allegedly filed nearly 100 fake copyright claims. Lofi Girl noted that an accidental takedown in 2020 also took the account offline, and called for a stronger vetting process for DMCA claims at YouTube. “This event has shone a light on an underlying problem on the platform: It’s 2022, and there are countless smaller creators out there, many of which engaged in this discussion, that continue to be hit daily by these false claims on both videos and livestreams,” Lofi Girl in a tweet.
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