YouTube Fair Use Controversy

YouTube Fair Use Controversy

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Added Feb 19, 2016 at 10:57AM EST by LNH.

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The YouTube Fair Use Controversy describes the ongoing controversy about the misuse of YouTube's robotic automatic copyright strike system, which has been used both accidentally and purposefully to attack content creators on YouTube, including h3h3 Productions, YourMovieSucks, I Hate Everything, and Channel Awesome, among a plethora of others. The controversy has spread with many content creators using the hashtag, #WTFU.


Content Creators receiving copyright strikes has been increasingly notable since late 2013 following changes to the copyright system, beginning with Day One: Garry's Incident, a situation in which the creators of the game Day One: Garry's Incident flagged a review by popular gaming channel, TotalBiscuit's, negative review of said game. The situation garnered a negative reaction towards the copyright system, following TotalBiscuit's video following the incident.

The next large case of copyright misuse was against another large gaming channel, Angry Joe. In the video, Joe rants about how copyright strikes affect partner channels, and how multiple of his videos were unfairly taken down.

Errors with the copyright system continued throughout 2014 and the majority of 2015, however the next large case of Copyright abuse was with YouTuber, I Hate Everything.

YouTuber I Hate Everything has been a popular poster child for cases of YouTube copyright abuse. In November 2015, IHE released a video about the movie Cool Cat Saves the Kids under his Search for the Worst Series. In the video, IHE criticizes the movie under fair use. The video got taken down a few days later by movie creator Derek Savage, using the copyright system. After a continued fight, IHE got his video back. However a few months following, IHE got his channel suspended for unknown reasons. He quickly was able to regain status in his account, however no reasoning was ever given.

In late July 2015, the video company Fullscreen flagged h3h3production's most popular video, which was subsequently removed for copyright infringement. On August 4th, Klein posted a video to his Ethan and Hila channel reacting to the take down, which claimed his video qualified as "fair use" (shown below). The same day Ethan uploaded his response, YouTuber and game critic, Jontron tweeted a link to the video. Within four months, the video gathered upwards of 520,000 views and 2,100 comments. Following the backlash, Fullscreen removed their copyright claim.

Total Biscuit

YouTuber TotalBiscuit has received multiple instances of Copyright misuse. ometime around late 2012, TotalBiscuit had received various copyright claims and strikes on some videos on Shining Force from Sega of Japan. TotalBiscuit reported on the issue in a Content Patch (shown below, left) and issued a channel wide boycott on all Sega video games and content ever since. On March 18th, 2013, TB had removed all the strikes from his channel. In Feburary of 2014, TotalBiscuit reviewed the game "Guise of the Wolf" (shown below, right) and FUN had both his stream and review taken down. A Reddit post was made on r/Games about the removal and received over 3,900 points with 95% upvoted.

The Day One: Garry's Incident was the largest controversy to have taken place that involved DMCA takedowns and took place on his channel. TB had released a WTF is… on the game in question and gave it a negative review (shown below, left). Shortly afterwards, Wild Games Studio made a copyright claim, giving the channel a strike and taking down the video. TB released a response video analyzing the situation which, is his most viewed video with over 4 million views (shown below, right).

#WTFU (Where's The Fair Use)

#WTFU (aka Where's The Fair Use) is an online campaign in response to Youtube copyright system and addresses how people and companies can easily file fraudulent claims on a Youtube video and how Youtube needs to rebuild its copyright system.This lead many people to believe the Youtube completely disregards Fair Use[2] and Freedom of Speech. This was a result after many videos, and even accounts/channels, were taken off the Youtube site, despite being made under Fair Use. The trend was originally started by popular video reviewer, Doug Walker, or the Nostalgia Critic.

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