study buddy

Lofi Girl’s 28-month stream was wrongly paused for false copyright claims

YouTube apologized for the error and said the music would come back soon.

Lofi Girl, drawn by artist Juan Pablo Machado, will be back to her studies soon
Lofi Girl/ YouTube

Lofi Girl (whose real name is Jade, by the way) had been constantly streaming chill beats for 2 years, 4 months, 18 days, and 11 hours. Until Sunday, that is, when YouTube took the stream down, prompting a deluge of comments in different languages, including: “Looks like lofi girl is finally on her summer break, she's earned this time alright!”. But Lofi Girl wasn’t finished with her homework yet.

False copyright claims — The Lofi Girl Twitter account tweeted on Sunday that the claim was based on “false copyright strikes,” and YouTube responded on Monday that Lofi Girl’s account would be reinstated. The takedown requests weren’t legitimate. YouTube allows copyright owners to file DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaints, which prompt YouTube to take down the video and put forth a copyright strike. Three strikes within 90 days can lead to an account’s termination.

In this case, YouTube confirmed after the fact that the takedown requests had been “abusive.” Lofi Girl expressed disappointment that there was no manual review of the false claims. “At the end of the day, it was entirely out of our control, and the sad part is that there was no way to appeal beforehand/prevent it from happening.” The account, formerly known as ChilledCow, was briefly taken down by YouTube between July and August 2017 for using footage from the film Whisper of the Heart and was taken down in February 2020, also for copyright claims. With 668 million views and more than 100,000 Twitter followers, the account was able to get YouTube’s attention quickly. Other victims of malicious copyright takedown requests aren’t as fortunate.

Lofi Girl’s story — According to the New York Times, ChilledCow was started by a French man named Dimitri back on February 25, 2017. Lofi beats became the soundtrack to studying, relaxing, or working and the girl in the video became a cultural fixture: she inspired Halloween costumes, endless spinoffs, and even Disney released a lofi album of its greatest hits with nods to the internet’s favorite YouTube study buddy. AV Club went as far to compare the stream to some sort of auditory nootropic, writing that it "turns the average person into a superhuman academic whose powers of concentration are rivaled only by headphone-wearing cartoon girls sitting at their desks during rainy days.”

I’m not quite sure Lofi Girl truly supercharges my brainpower, but I’ve had her on my screen so much that she practically feels like a friend. I’m happy to have her back. Hope she enjoyed her short study break.