Cover Photo by Steve Galli
German producer Christian Büttner, known by his stage name TheFatRat, has been quite busy making new music this past year. On March 8th, he released his song, “Chosen,” with many more songs teased to be on the way this year. However, new music wasn’t the only thing he was working on these past few months.
In December 2018, TheFatRat posted a YouTube video about how his song, “The Calling” was falsely copyright claimed by a YouTube account that claimed his song as its own. In the video, TheFatRat addressed several kinks within the YouTube copyright system that tend to favor the person making the claim. Although he was able to successfully get his video back, the problem is still present and smaller channels are extremely disadvantaged when trying to win a case. Currently, he has over 125,000 signatures on his #FixYouTubeCopyright petition. We wanted to reach out to see how he has been recently and to learn more about his experience with fighting the copyright claim.
Festival Squad: I noticed your last performance was in June 2018! Do you miss performing or do you enjoy having the break?
TheFatRat: I definitely miss performing. It’s great to travel and meet my fans in person. But I won’t complain since I also really enjoy being in the studio and working on new music.
FS: What music festival or show has been your favorite to perform at and why?
TheFatRat: What first comes to mind is Dreamhack in Sweden. The crowd was crazy! They did a wall of death on every drop I played. At some point the security stepped in and tried to stop them, but they had no chance.
FS: Was there a specific turning point in your career that you believed greatly contributed to your overall success?
TheFatRat: No, I believe in continuous progress. Of course there were some songs that did better than others, but I’m not thinking about turning points. I focus on doing the best work I can do every day.
FS: Has your daughter ever seen you perform and does she know that you are a popular artist?
TheFatRat: Yes! She knows what I’m doing and she’s very proud of it. First she saw some videos of me performing. After that she always played “DJ” on the couch screaming, “Look daddy, I’m doing just like you!” And recently she also saw me live at the DOTA 2 ESL finals in an arena. She was very proud to be the youngest person in the audience.
FS: I saw you were able to get your “The Calling” video back! Can you share the process that happened post-the video you uploaded on December 21st that contributed to the success? What has the aftermath been so far since your #FixYouTubeCopyright campaign launched?
TheFatRat: After I posted the video, it went pretty quick. It was a little confusing because I didn’t get an email from YouTube, but they reached out over Twitter and told me that the video belongs to me again and also that they completely removed “Ramjets,” the false claimant, from YouTube. They know who this person is, and he or her will never be able to get into the YouTube system again. What happened then was that other channels who had similar problems reached out to me, and I was lucky that I could help most of them to resolve their problems.
FS: Do you think YouTubers making this corrupt copyright system public is dangerous for potential people to abuse this system more? Since there seems to be an obvious preference towards the people making the claims.
TheFatRat: Yes, I think that might be a danger. But I think that’s only short term. As I said in the video, I trust YouTube and I’m sure they will take action that such things won’t happen again. But a company like YouTube can’t change their system over night. So we have to give them a bit of time.
“You can expect a lot more music this year. The past months in the studio finally bear fruits and I’m super excited to share them.” -TheFatRat
FS: I know Ramjets’ channel was deleted. But do you know if the person who attempted to monetize your song was fined for stealing your song or penalized in any way aside from deletion?
TheFatRat: No. I have no insight into that. But they were administering over 300 songs, so I think it was quite a penalty for them.
FS: Why do you think YouTube has been sleeping on this copyright issue for so long, considering many instances of copyright abuse have been happening and been addressed by them?
TheFatRat: Yes, maybe. But I also have to acknowledge that YouTube is in a really difficult situation. Most copyright disputes are difficult to understand and usually both sides think they are correct and they want YouTube to solve the case quickly in their favor.
FS: Do you think this copyright system prevents artists from utilizing the platform?
TheFatRat: I think the copyright system is not the biggest problem. What I think is much worse is that some channels get demonetized for ridiculous reasons. The biggest problem here is that such things happen over night. Some people invest years of work to build up their channels and finally make a living of it and then YouTube throws them out over night. Such cases definitely make it less attractive for content creators.
FS: I know the petition is to raise awareness of the corrupt copyright process. However, it seems like YouTube is well aware of this problematic system. What’s the next step and how long do you predict this copyright battle to last?
TheFatRat: The petition has reached its original goal of 50,000 subscribers long ago and I have talked with YouTube about it. They have already taken steps where the community managers have more permission to help the content creators.
You can sign TheFatRat’s petition to fix the copyright protection system here.