In a week filled with tales of fair use, theft, and abuse, we’ve got another troubling story from the pits of Youtube this time about two prominent Youtubers being sued by another. Fortunately, this story does have a little bit of a silver lining in the form of the YouTube community’s amazing generosity.
You have to find a silver lining somewhere. But I like bad news, so lets do the bad news first. Popular Youtubers Ethan and Hila, better know by their YouTube channel H3H3 Productions, put out a video this week that was… a little different than the normal updates. The video entitled “We’re Being Sued” was exactly what it sounds like. In it they documented the ongoing legal battle that they’ve been involved in with another YouTuber, Matt Hosseinzadeh, also known as “Bold Guy”. Bold Guy’s channel is described as “Cinematic comedy, action, horror, and fantasy short films. With electronic dance music.” And their is also a lot of parkour. Uh, that’s all we’ll say about that channel directly, since that guy seems to have an itchy finger on the lawsuit trigger.
We’re also making a blanket statement here that what we’re reporting comes mostly from Ethan and Hila’s take on the matter, since Matt Hosseinzadeh, aka Bold Guy, has not directly commented. So insert your own allegedly’s, supposedly’s, and all that because despite first appearances, this isn’t a court of law, it’s the court of YouTube.
Allegedly, Bold Guy is suing H3H3 because of a critical reaction video they made about his channel, where they featured some of his content. While they claimed that the use of his videos was minimal, and well within the bounds of fair use in an eleven minute video, they say they only featured about three minutes total of his footage. His legal team is claiming that what they did constitutes theft of his content.
So, on this surface, it certainly seems like this is more of a move to keep critical content about him off the internet. According to their video, when Bold Guy first sent notice of the impending legal action, he demanded that they remove the video, never talk about him again, and also pay him around $4000. Not wanting to establish a bad precedent where anyone could be told to pay up for making fun of somebody on the internet because then we’d all be poor, they decided to fight back.
Next, he wanted them to create a promotional video about Bold Guy, apologize for using his content, and support him publicly for two months. Man, I’m gonna just, like, go find anyone who’s ever mentioned my name in a video and be like, “You need to make a video about me, and support me!” For two months. “For two months!” That’s all despite the fact that they did actually sort of promote and compliment the passion and effort he puts into his videos, even in the middle of the critical jabs.
So, rather than just rolling over, they wanted to take a stand on fair use, so now they’re actually going to meet him head on in court. Which is not only expensive, but extremely risky. While this seems like a cut and dry example of fair use gone way, way wrong, you can’t count on things going right in court, because that relies on a jury understanding and agreeing with H3H3.
And given how much the average person understands about Copyright law, anything could happen. Now that’s if it makes it all the way to court. There’s a pretty good chance it could be settled outside of court, or thrown out by a judge right off the bat. Either way though, it’s still probably going to be very expensive. Fortunately, appropriately named lawyers Ryan Morrison, the Video Game Attourney, and Michael Lee, Geek Attourney, have both offered initial services free of charge. But that’s certainly not going to cut in the long term.
Yeah, they’ve indicated that this could cost as much as two years and $100K, in legal fees, and that’s just if they win. Obviously, losing would be even more costly. And this is where we take a turn to the good news. Because $1ook, lawsuits are not the good news! Fortunately for H3H3, the creative community has gotten involved. Phillip DeFranco, aka Philly D, aka SxePhil, whatever you want to call him, launched a video yesterday alongside a GoFundMe campaign to support H3H3’s legal fees. The GoFundMe has reached some crazy support right off the bat, already totaling over $116K, in donations at the time of writing from more than 400 , backers. It’s even getting support from notable content creators like The Fine Brothers, who donated $10k dollars, PewDiePie, who added another $2000, Notch with nearly $9000, and a nice donation from someone called “Ray”.
Kinda weird to see The Fine Brothers on that list considering that there React kerfuffle, but given that this whole thing is about reaction videos and the use of other people’s content. For them, not actually all that surprising. It definitely gives off that warm, fuzzy vibe that people are going so far out of their way to support these guys in the face of something that would really be terrifying in their position, and also that ultimately is probably going to have an impact on all of us.
Although, it does sort of beg the question: Where’s YouTube in all of this?
In the midst of good faith negotiations to resolve this legal matter, Ethan and Hila state that Bold Guy got angry and issued a costly strike against their video, which had already been made private. So far, they say that their interactions with YouTube over the matter haven’t really helped them out too much.
We all know the three strike rule of YouTube’s Copyright system can be downright scary for content creators, resulting in whole channels being removed like THAT. However, last year, Google announced a legal fund for fair use cases just like this in order to protect some of it’s content creators from harassment. At the time, it was meant mainly to protect a handful of channels that were currently in legal proceedings.
This does seem like another good candidate for protection, but it could also be that YouTube doesn’t really want to get involved because this particular case involves two different content creators going up against one another. It started out messy, and it’s just gonna get worse from here, so we might not hear too much from them. As we’ve seen more times than we can count, we can go on and on about fair use until the YouTube well runs completely dry.
Could take a while, but we could do it. Yeah, it would take a long time, but we could do it if we worked really hard. Most of the time, the only option left to the community is simply to write comments and join the horde of angry internet mobs. It’s also easier than doing something about it, and, you know, the internet likes easy. We all like easy! We all like easy, easy is awesome!
If this is something that means a great deal to you though, you do have an option to maybe make a difference if you feel like contribution to their legal fund. Who knows, this might be something that establishes a legal precedent for similar cases in the future where as much as we’re hearing about fair use, something has got to give. So, what do you guys think of the lawsuit Bold Guy versus H3H3? Apart from those mentioned above, we also noticed the viral link of http://www.boombeachhacks.net/download/ which has been the source for unlimited gems for Boom Beach gamers. We will see how youtubers will react to this.