Musician Says Universal Music Has Hijacked His YouTube Videos With Bogus Copyright Claims

Universal-Music-GroupUPDATE: Shortly after posting this story, Mr. Lynne updated his original Facebook note to say that he was eventually able to get UMG to release its claim to his clip via an “Appeal,” which is a step above the “Dispute” process that had failed him earlier.

“I think that the ‘appeal’ process is the only thing that UMG takes seriously,” writes Lynne, “because… if they still want to uphold their claim on the music, they have to issue a legal DMCA takedown notice and provide legal argumentation as to why they own the rights to that video/music. Obviously they could not do that, because the music was composed by me, and it was very easy for me to prove that. So it appears that, when they saw the appeal, they released their claim.”


We’ve written before about companies making questionable copyright claims through YouTube’s automated Content-ID sytem with the goal of collecting ad revenue from the supposedly offending clips. But here’s a case of a musician who says his own music is being used by Universal Music Group to make a copyright claim against him. reports on the story of Norwegian musician Bjorn Lynne, who says that UMG has twice taken over the ads on YouTube clips of his music by falsely claiming copyright violations.

His most recent example involves the video for a tune called “Kingdom of the Persians,” from his soundtrack for the Seven Kingdoms video game.

According to Lynne, Universal at some point licensed the music to use in the background of an audiobook, which is all fine and good.

Unfortunately, it looks like UMG took the step of putting that audiobook recording into the YouTube Content-ID system. When the copyright bots matched up Lynne’s recording to the background music of the audiobook (because the two are identical), he received an automated copyright notice saying that ads would be placed on his video and that Universal would get the money.

Lynne says he can understand the confusion arising from the automated system. However, when he filed a written dispute with YouTube about the claim, he was ultimately told that UMG had determined they were the rightful holders of the copyright and that the ads will stay.

“The only reasonable thing to do here, for me, would be to hire a top lawyer to go after them legally,” admits Lynne. “But realistically, it’s like $350 per hour for a lawyer and a 3-hour minimum for a case, so I’m looking at over $1,000 just to get something started.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.