The YouTube community has recently bonded together to fight the fair use scourge that has been plaguing the site recently by building a joint fund that will be used to fund fair use lawsuits for any YouTube channel that might need it.
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) May 26, 2016
YouTube channel H3H3 recently announced that, with the help of a GoFundMe page set up by fellow content creator Philip DeFranco and the generous donations of thousands of YouTube community members, they have set up a huge legal fund for any YouTube channel that may ever require legal help in a case involving fair use.
The story behind what happened is heart-warming and shows that the YouTube community really is just that – a community.
Why Something Had To Be Done
Most people even tangentially aware of the landscape making up the YouTube community have heard about the many, many fair use scandals YouTube content creators have had to deal with as of late. Basically, all kinds of media companies – usually outside of YouTube – have been suing YouTube channels for infringing upon the media company’s copyright.
The media company doing the suing can vary in size from powerhouses like Viacom, the cable conglomerate that owns MTV and Comedy Central, to tiny firms like Merlin CDLT, an organization that, according to YouTube content creator “NFKRZ,” makes a business of filing false claims against YouTube channels in order to exploit YouTube’s lax copyright claims policy.
Over the past year, there have been countless YouTube videos, from channels of all genres and subscriber counts, bemoaning how YouTube is really suffering thanks to these time-consuming, expensive, creatively restrictive, and often illegitimate fair use claims.
The prosecutor generally ends up losing in these cases, meaning the YouTube channels do not generally have to pay any money directly, but the content creators generally lose the ability to publish new videos while the claim is ongoing, meaning that they lose their main source of income for at least a while – or, in some cases, permanently. They have also had to spend money on lawyer fees if the case were to go to court. Until now, that is.
What Happened to Youtube Channel H3H3
Matt Hosseinzadeh, who goes by the YouTube alias “Bold Guy,” sued H3H3 creators Ethan and Hila Klein on April 27 for supposedly ripping off content from one of his videos without permission, reports Variety. Although the Kleins argued the use had been valid because their video has been a critique of the original, meaning it fell under fair use, Hosseinzadeh disagreed and carried on with the law suit.
Hugely popular YouTube content creator Philip DeFranco soon caught wind of the scuffle going on between Hosseinzadeh and H3H3, and he decided the YouTube community had had enough of being dogged by these fair use issues. So, he set up a fundraising page on GoFundMe, a site where users can donate via the internet to worthy causes, in order to help H3H3 obtain money for legal fees required to solve the Bold Guy controversy.
— Chase Jones (@chasejonesss) May 26, 2016
H3H3 was delighted someone from the YouTube community cared enough to set up this fundraiser for them, but they could never have predicted the huge amount of support they would receive from the YouTube community at large. The GoFundMe page racked up over $115,000 dollars in the first 24 hours, already exceeding their $100,000 goal.
As Ethan and Hila point out in a video they made thanking the YouTube community, even $100,000 was substantially more than they would likely need for their case, and they vow to use the leftover money to establish a communal fair use lawsuit fund.
The fund is still growing, and it is a true representation of the communal spirit of YouTube.
Why It’s So Inspiring
As the married couple of Ethan and Hila Klein explain in their video, it is unbelievable that so many members of the YouTube community, even those with differing interests, can set aside their differences and fight for the one entity that unites them all: YouTube itself.
“This is like a dream,” Ethan Klein says in the video.
“We, as a community, came together and fundraised to help protect everybody… it’s like a YouTuber’s union. I’ve always dreamed of this.”
— KWWK-DB (@KWWKRADIO) May 27, 2016
Thanks to the combined efforts of the YouTube community, a community that is evidently very civically conscious, the fund is still growing, and has, at the time of this writing, already exceeded $150,000. All this community spirit may be YouTube’s savior.
“This is like a new chapter for fair use on YouTube. We finally stood together,” Ethan says.
“YouTube is great again. You guys made YouTube great again.”
And, as the Kleins agree, it is all thanks to one man: Matt Hosseinzadeh.
Feel like supporting the YouTube community by throwing in a donation of your own? Click here to go to the GoFundMe page.
[Photo by Dan R. Krauss/Getty Images]