Over the past several years, dozens of YouTube channels have sprung up to cover developments in the rocketing Kodi-related space.
These channels, which can vary in quality tremendously, provide an easy-to-digest fix of information, some of it accurate, some of it not so. Many, however, are littered with advertising and promotional content for illegal IPTV services, ‘pirate’ Android APKs, and third-party Kodi add-ons that provide access to otherwise premium content.
At the same time as these channels promote questionable tools and services, developers of these tools are being targeted by anti-piracy companies. They regularly receive cease-and-desist notices from organizations such as the MPAA-led Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, while some device sellers (Tickbox TV, for example) have found themselves on the end of actual lawsuits.
As a result, some YouTube channel operators are feeling the pressure too. Worried about demonetization following direct and indirect pressure from anti-piracy groups and YouTube itself, many are self-censoring and diversifying so as not to promote piracy.
One of these channels is run by ‘Doc Squiffy‘, a UK-based YouTube channel and associated website operator who has finally been granted a YouTube silver ‘play’ button award for gaining 100,000 subscribers. However, for some of the reasons detailed above, YouTube has delayed his award for months, to the point he now has more than 238,000 subscribers.
While Doc Squiffy says he’s grateful he’s now been approved, this week a rather ironic situation raised its head on his own website at DocSquiffy.com.
In order to generate revenue on the original content he posts (plus third-party content such as linked TorrentFreak articles), Squiffy runs AdSense ads provided by Google. However, while Google-owned YouTube took an age to verify his suitability for a silver button (Squiffy says his content type contributed to the delay), Google itself is now stepping over the mark.
In a Tweet to his followers, the YouTuber revealed this morning that Google has been embedding ads for illegal services in his site, something he’s fearful of doing himself due to pressure from the MPAA and UK-based anti-piracy outfit FACT.
My website and YouTube never advertises or pushed IPTV, with the pressure from Fact & MPAA this is something I will not do. But apparently it's ok for #google to advertsise it on my site ? pic.twitter.com/yTyhOfewLE
— Doc Squiffy ? ? (@DocSquiffy) October 30, 2018
As the image above shows, the advertising shows the StreamKings IPTV service (offered via apparent reseller Smarteriptv.club), which offers thousands of channels of unlicensed content, including premium sports channels, as the image above shows.
It’s worth pointing out that Google wouldn’t have knowingly accepted an advert from a pirate service and it wouldn’t have placed it on Doc Squiffy’s site in any human-powered calculated action. However, with the YouTuber under real pressure to water down his content on YouTube in order to avoid his videos being demonetized or even denied a place on the site, this situation is pretty ironic, to say the least.
Indeed, Squiffy has had to fight for his play button after being initially denied more than six months ago.
“We’ve had trouble from demonetization, trouble with [YouTube] not approving videos, upload issues, takedown issues, and lots of people are having issues over these types of things. Me especially, i’ve been hit a lot,” Squiffy says.
Finally, however, YouTube found it in their hearts to approve Doc Squiffy for a Creator Award.
“Thanks for waiting! I’ve got an update from our Rewards team and good news! Your channels has indeed qualified to receive a Creator Award. Congratulations on reaching such an incredible milestone!” the site told him via email earlier this month.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, Doc Squiffy says he had a “big issue with the MPAA about six months ago” but says his only pressures today come from YouTube itself.
While YouTube videos promoting piracy still exist on the platform, YouTubers are now more careful than they once were, particularly since many completely rely on the site for their income. This noose is likely to tighten in the months and years to come, which will probably drive more controversial content back underground – along with the ads for pirate services….probably.