Is YouTube Against Cats?

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Sorry to drag you in here with an alarmist headline — an odd story has been brewing regarding an odder YouTube video.

Last March, a YouTube channel called Digihaven put up a video of cats purring — for a freaking hour. Recently, the video was flagged for copyright infringement because the Content ID algorithm used by YouTube apparently triggered — somehow mistaking obnoxious cat purrs for a copy of a song called “Focus.” And since the system automatically triggered by YouTube’s Content ID system, a standardized complaint was automatically issued by EMI, a company that looks after royalties for artists.

So long story short: YouTube made a mistake and the error was quickly fixed. These things happen. The video is no longer flagged, no one thinks that the song “Focus” is actually hidden within the cat purrs like some sort of subliminal message. Except for the websites that reported it as such (which Digihaven has helpfully linked to on their channel).

In fact, a YouTube spokesperson said, “When it’s brought to our attention that a video or channel has been claimed mistakenly, we work with the claimant to fix it. Everything is now purrrfectly fine with this video.” So there you have it … almost.

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Apparently the Digihaven people have allegedly decided to use the error as an enormous PR campaign to boost the crappy 3,000+ views that the video currently has. The channel has posted messages on their video, which announce: “Subscribe to share the cats of YouTube” and that large record companies might “want to take videos like this down.” Alright then.

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Well, we’re fans of seeing bizarre-ass gimmicks at play, so let’s see what happens here.

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