#WTFU (Where's The Fair Use?)

#WTFU (Where's The Fair Use?)

Part of a series on YouTube Fair Use Controversy. [View Related Entries]

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#WTFU (Where's the Fair Use?) is a hashtag campaign launched in protest against YouTube's copyright infringement arbitration procedure, which has come under criticism for its apparent susceptibility to fraudulent claims and lack of due diligence in preserving content allowed under the Fair Use doctrine.


On February 16th, 2016, YouTuber Doug Walker (a.k.a The Nostalgia Critic) posted a video titled "Where's The Fair Use?", in which he explains the basic principles of the Fair Use[2] doctrine as laid out in the Copyright Act of 1976, and as highlights several examples of wrongful copyright claims against well-known YouTube creators, including I Hate Everything and YourMoviesSucks.

Notable Developments

That day, Walker's video reached the front page of the /r/videos[3] subreddit, where it received upwards of 6,000 votes (88% upvoted) and 1,400 comments. Also on February 16th, YouTuber AlphaOmegaSin posted a video in support of the #WTFU campaign (shown below, left). On February 17th, YouTuber Sargon of Akkad uploaded a video about the hashtag (shown below, right).

On February 18th, YouTuber Boogie2988 posted a video echoing Walker's complaints about YouTube's copyright infringement enforcement (shown below, left). The same day, YouTuber MysteriousMrEnter posted a video recounting recent controversies surrounding YouTube and Fair Use (shown below, right).

In the coming days, several other influential YouTubers posted messages in support of the campaign, including Markiplier, Ross O'Donovan (RubberNinja) of Game Grumps and Jacksepticeye.

Merlin[CDLTD] Debacle

On Febuary 24. I Hate Everything uploaded and video titled "THIS ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE". The video goes into details how his video "I HATE DAMN DANIEL" recieved 2 copyright claims. Both of the claims were issued by a company known as [Merlin] CDLTD, who claimed to issue the copyright claim on behalf of singer Dylan Dauzat and his song "Mine Tonight". The video reveals the Dylan had no involvement with the claims, and the song itself was nowhere in the video.[4]

YouTube's Initial Response

A member of Youtube’s policy team posted on the Google product forums on February 24, 2016 that Youtube was listening to the feedback and in a post said this:
“The good news is that the feedback you’ve raised in comments and videos on YouTube and beyond is having an impact. It’s caused us to look closely at our policies and helped us identify areas where we can get better. It’s led us to create a team dedicated to minimizing mistakes and improving the quality of our actions. And it’s encouraged us to roll out some initiatives in the coming months that will help strengthen communications between creators and YouTube support. We’ll also make improvements to increase transparency into the status of monetization claims.”[5]

Note From Youtube's Policy Team

On March 31, 2016 Doug Walker made a video in alliance with Fight For The Future where he stated that the Copyright Office was looking for feedback on how the DMCA has worked and whether or not it has helped or harmed people, and that the deadline was less than a day away. Over 30,000 posts were made altogether on Fight For The Future’s Website, and the form from which to submit. (video shown below)[6]

On April 28, 2016 three major developments have been made. A blogspot post on Youtube’s official page stated that they were going to implement a policy change for which when a video gets claimed for monetization instead of previously when the money would go automatically to the claimant, the money would be put into a separate third account and will be given to whoever ends up being decided as the owner of the footage in question. Youtube also stated that they would add contact links for anyone who has been struck for copyright infringement.[7]


Channel Awesome made a video talking about the success of the previous campaign to inform the copyright office about the DMCA’s impact. Doug stated in the video that "we have secured two spots in the US government round tables talking about copyright in the future. One in New York City on May 2nd and 3rd, and one in San Francisco on May 12th and 13th.”[8] (Shown below)

Doug also states that the WTFU movement is having hit pieces put out against them, one from Hollywood funded Copyright Alliance which called the supporters “zombies” and another which called the movement a “cyberattack”.[9]

Jim Sterling posted a video which also came out April 28, 2016 which talked about how he successfully managed to manipulate copyright infringement to successfully prevent companies from claiming monetization from his videos.[10] (shown below)

Bible Reloaded Lawsuit

On August 18, 2016, Youtube channel The Bible Reloaded posted a video titled "We're Suing & We Need Your Help ~ #WTFU" (shown below). In the video the two people behind the channel, Hugo and Jake, explained that they had just received 5 false copyright claims from the Christiano Film Group. These 5 copyright claims were filed by an employee in response to The 3 of the videos claimed were film reviews which only contained stills of the films being reviewed, and the other 2 were just talking about past copyright issues with Christiano Film Group. Youtube themselves actually messaged The Bible Reloaded notifying them of the DMCA claims and stated that the videos being claimed fit very well under fair use. The Bible Reloaded then decided to file lawsuit and contacted FUPA about their situation. The Geek Attorney(one of the two main attorneys under FUPA) told them this was the most egregious instance of copyright abuse on YouTube he'd ever seen and that they were looking at legal fees of at most $100,000 if they were to proced with the lawsuit. FUPA, however, had its hands tied at the time so it was not currently able to provide legal funds for the lawsuit. The Bible Reloaded thus opened up a GoFundMe.[11]

The video quickly blew up and was covered by major YouTube news channels such as Scarce(below, left) and Philip DeFranco(below, right). Channel Awesome tweeted about the situation, "This is just unreal. 5 DMCA take-downs by one single entity trying to silence criticism. #WTFU"[12]

Channel Awesome @ChannelAwesome Following This is just unreal. 5 DMCA take-downs by one single entity trying to silence criticism #WTFU Jake @BibleReloaded PLEASE DONATE to the TBR Defense Fund!- gofundme.com/TBRDefenseFund youtu.be/JzkNt-hKLKk?a RETWEETSLIKES 48 87 7:48 AM -18 Aug 2016 48 87

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Top Comments

Jack the Dipper
Jack the Dipper

I'm glad this is finally getting some notable attention, but anyone who may be under the impression that this is mainly a recent phenomenon is mistaken. It has been a problem for years, almost long as YouTube has existed, and the YouTube Poop community is full of people who can attest to it.


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