Due to bogus copyright claims, YouTube removed – then reinstated, with an apology – the radios of the popular YouTube streaming channel Lofi Girl, a popular music channel that plays chilled-out hip hop music that its subscribers say they listen while studying.
Lofi Girl relaunched its channels at noon ET on Tuesday, two days after YouTube removed the radios due to copyright takedown notices.
Label “FMC Music Sdn Bhd Malaysia” has issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, for the removal of Lofi Girl’s streams, according to a screenshot of the opinion that Lofi Girl tweeted on July 10.
On Monday, a YouTube spokesperson responded to Lofi Girl’s tweet, confirming that the “takedown requests were abusive” and terminating the requester’s account.
The takedown sparked wider online criticism – including 3,500 tweets under the hashtag #BringBackLofiGirl – of YouTube’s copyright warning policies, where three valid DMCA complaints in 90 days lead to account termination .
Critics have pointed out that bad actors can weaponize politics by falsely flagging videos they want taken down.
Throughout the takedown, YouTube users left comments on the now-defunct stream expressing their gratitude for the online community Lofi Girl’s stream has created through music and the streaming chat feature.
YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
20,843. That’s how long, in hours, Lofi Girl was streaming live music before YouTube removed it. Although a new stream has started, the original video still shows the notice “This live stream recording is not available” from YouTube.
Lofi Girl is far from alone, as any content owner can issue a DMCA takedown if they claim their content was posted online on any platform without their permission. The system is part of a US copyright law passed by Congress in 1998. In the years that followed, the number of copyright claims skyrocketed. As early as 2016, Google – which owns YouTube – said it was handling around two million copyright takedown notices a day.
And with the growth of the content creator industry, YouTubers who depend on the platform and its ads to make money have repeatedly called for change. Even for Lofi Girl, this weekend’s withdrawal was the third in the string, following incidents in 2017 and 2020.
“We are shocked and disappointed to see that there is still no kind of protection or manual review of these misrepresentations,” Lofi Girl job on Twitter on Monday. “Ultimately, it was entirely out of our control, and the saddest thing is there was no way to pre-appeal/prevent this from happening.”
The Lofi Girl avatar, which is an animated depiction of a girl listening to music while writing an essay, is inspired by the protagonist of the animated film Whisper of the heart. Over the years, she has become a beloved internet presence and is often the subject of Halloween cosplays and costumes.
YouTube has removed popular “Lofi Girl” streams after receiving false and “abusive” copyright claims (Business Intern)
YouTube apologizes for removing Lofi’s iconic daughter (Vice)
YouTube Says It Will Reinstate Lofi Girl Live Streams After False Copyright Claim (NBC)
YouTube channels are being held hostage with bogus copyright claims, but the platform’s hands are tied (Business Intern)
YouTube’s copyright claims system is being misused by extortionists (BBC)