YouTube Creators and Twitch Streamer have performed hideous a capella covers of popular songs in comical attempts to circumvent YouTube's widely criticized copyright system.
Over the last few months, YouTube creators have encountered problems creating TikTok response videos where they collect and respond to cringey TikTok clips. However, these TikTok videos contain music from artists signed to labels like Sony and Warner, and these labels release copyright claims that prevent authors from monetizing their videos.
To get around this, producers like Danny Gonzalez and Kurtis Conner have begun to sing the music with their own vocals. Gonzalez and Conner half-heartedly sing songs like Linkin Park's "In The End" and Imagine Dragon's "Believer" while the corresponding TikTok video plays on the screen. Both creators explain in their videos why they sing instead of playing the music. Conner jokes: "I think that makes it better." It's a little painful to hear, but ultimately it's got to force a very funny hole in YouTube's copyright system
The move effectively allows for a final monetization of videos that could not be monetized due to copyright infringement in the past. The hope is that major labels such as Sony Music or Warner Music Group can not claim copyright infringement, or that singing does not trigger YouTube's automated system for finding copyrighted content.
YouTube creators have dealt with over-zealous copyright infringements and dismantled for years, leading to debates about fair use policies and monetization. If the owner of copyrighted content issues a cancellation notice or claims that a video violated copyright, YouTube must act. This may mean that a video is taken down or money is sent from ads to the owner of the copyright, rather than to the creator of the video.
TikTok videos are responding to an interesting case of how copyright claims work on YouTube and why their creators are so frustrated. TikTok videos contain less than 10 seconds of music, but that's still enough to claim copyright – on TikTok itself, the music is licensed exclusively by the labels.
The problem remains that creators on YouTube are trying to monetize videos This includes content they did not create. They are not partnering with Sony or Warner Music like TikTok currently. React videos are a big part of YouTube's current culture. People pick up popular movie trailers and film their reactions to what's happening on the screen. These videos are usually monetized.
"I've removed music from Warner Music Group because I do not intend to use their music unfairly," author Holo FX wrote in the description of a TikTok compilation video. "I do not claim to own one of the played music. We just dance to it and have used the TikTok app to create this.
The Gonzalez and Conner workaround does not work just for TikTok. Game developers and streamers have shared the same gap to get copyrighted songs beyond YouTube's Content ID system. In the following example, the creator The Apekz sings "Let It Go" from Frozen to try to prove that his video about Kingdom Hearts 3 containing the song is not demonized
the video is over, he jokes that he hopes his bad vocals will not protect him from copyright. He does not want to be "forced to sing more songs" just to avoid being copyrighted.