On Monday, YouTube filed a lawsuit against a Nebraska man for allegedly abusing the platform’s copyright takedown process.
According to the suit, Omaha’s Christopher Brady filed false copyright notices against at least three popular “Minecraft” streamers. He then attempted to extort money from the YouTubers — and even launched a swatting attack against one.
For those unfamiliar with swatting, it’s a form of criminal harassment in which a vindictive person contacts emergency services to falsely report a serious crime, such as a hostage situation, at the address of their target.
In this case, YouTube claims Brady filed two false copyright notices against each of the three streamers.
He then threatened to file a third claim — which would trigger YouTube to terminate the streamers’ accounts — if they didn’t send him surprising small sums of money, ranging from $150 to $300 or $75 to $200 worth of bitcoin.
Brady’s con was admittedly clever. When one of his targets filed a formal counter-notice to get their content reinstated, they had to provide their real name and address as part of the paperwork. YouTube then passed that information along to Brady — standard procedure so anyone with a legitimate copyright claim can file a lawsuit against an offender.
Within a week, the streamer tweeted that they had been the victim of swatting — and if courts agree with YouTube that that timing couldn’t have been coincidental, Brady could be forced to pay out far more than he expected to take in through his malicious actions.
READ MORE: Man sued for using bogus YouTube takedowns to get address for swatting [Ars Technica]