Unofficial YouTube Channels Openly Deliver Pirated Content

Some YouTube “creators” are brazenly uploading copyrighted content to unofficial channels and asking viewers for donations to continue their illegal activities. One example is Kitchen Nightmares Hotel Hell and Hell’s Kitchen, an unofficial channel that runs full episodes of chef Gordon Ramsay’s signature TV shows, asking viewers to support its onerous work “downloading, converting, editing, rendering and uploading” to make the illegal content available. The information was also listed on the pirates’ Patreon page.

Engadget reports that one of its journalists approached the maker behind the Patreon page (YoIUploadShows), but had no response. The Patreon page in question also suggests tiers of support for fans of illegal content: a $15+ donation gets a “shoutout in every video,” and $30+ per month earns “an episode of any show you want.” The channel has nearly 60 million views since 2016, although “the owner’s Patreon account has never received a donation.”

Other YouTube channels are doing the same thing, such as Dvr Night, that also offers “Kitchen Nightmares” episodes and asks for donations via PayPal and Patreon.

“Creators uploading copyrighted content is against our terms of use,” said a Patreon spokesperson. “We take action against this content when rightsholders send us a copyright notice.” But YoIUploadShows is still up and running.

The official “Kitchen Nightmares” YouTube channel only offers short clips. YouTube “says it does not mediate copyright claims,” but if notified of an infringing video by a rights holder, would take down the content per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998.

YouTube’s Content ID system was created to make it easier for copyright owners to find pirates. Once a rightsholder is notified, it can “let the content stay up on YouTube, track and monetize it or completely block it from the site.”

YouTube reported that, “more than 98 percent of copyright issues on its site are handled through Content ID, rather than the notice-and-takedown process” and that it has “paid $3 billion to content owners through its anti-piracy programs” in 2017 alone, points out Engadget. It added that, “rightsholders chose to monetize 90 percent of all Content ID claims, which gives them a way to create revenue from videos they own but that were uploaded by someone else.”