I don’t usually like to get involved in YouTube drama, or drama in general. I learned the lessons for young people a long time ago and one of the most important lessons is don’t get involved in a boy and girl fight, or in modern terms, don’t go near YouTube drama. The drama in question, isn’t really drama, it is a lot more serious. H3H3 Productions/ Ethan and Hila are being sued for copyright infringement by Matt Hoss/Bold Guy. His lawsuit stems from Ethan and Hila making a reaction video to his perverted YouTube video that tries to call itself comedy, when in actuality it is simply pure cringe. They pointed out some of the oddities that are in his videos and like most people Ethan and Hila react to, their channels see a huge boost in views. Matt Hoss, is suing Ethan and Hila because he didn’t like them making fun of him, this has nothing to do with copyright, because under Fair Use, Ethan and Hila haven’t broken any copyright laws.

The news broke when Ethan and Hila uploaded a video titled “We are being sued” where they talked through the situation and explained their legal costs would be in the area of $100,000, and that is if they win. If they lose, they could potentially lose everything they have worked for. A lot of people have rallied behind Ethan and Hila and most subscribers like myself have been stating confidently that the case is clear cut, it doesn’t fall under copyright infringement because it is Fair Use. The only problem is that Fair Use isn’t as defined in law as most people think. The point of Fair Use is that it allows people to critique, comment, criticize and make a satire out of copyrighted work. You can play bits of a movie in your criticism, or quote a book for a review, it’s all Fair Use. That might seem clear cut to anyone who has ever used YouTube or created content, but for a court of law, it isn’t as clear as you might think.

For the longest time on YouTube, Copyright takedowns have been used to attack Fair Use. One of my all-time favourite YouTubers, Yourmoviesucks.org/Adam Johnson, has an introduction at the start of every video explaining that his criticism of the film he is reviewing is protected under Fair Use. Despite being under Fair Use, the copyright holders still issue a takedown on his content and give him a strike and this can’t be resolved until YouTube reviews the complaint, which they will soon find out is bullshit because Adam’s content is protected under Fair Use. But you can already tell this isn’t an issue of copyright at all.

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Copyright issues are when a YouTuber blatantly uploads an entire feature length movie on YouTube without the copyright holder’s permission. That is a fair takedown and it causes the copyright holders to lose out on revenue from sales that could have been made for their shitty movie. If a YouTuber decides to criticize or review a movie and uses parts of the film to explore their argument, that is Fair Use and shouldn’t be taken down, but it is anyway, why? Because copyright holders think they have a foot to stand on because the person reviewing their content, film, music or television show is pointing out what is wrong with it. Everything from cringe worthy indie games to awful films like Death Race 3, a lot of copyright holders give YouTubers strikes because they can’t handle criticism and think they have a right to abuse copyright infringement on someone who is clearly protected by Fair Use.

Ethan and Hila are not being sued because of Copyright infringement, they are being sued because they hurt the feelings of Matt Hoss. He gave them the ultimatum of taking down the video he is criticized in, paying $4,000, issuing an apology and sharing his content for 2 months. That is an insane ultimatum and I am glad Ethan and Hila are taking the fight to Matt Hoss because if they win, copyright holders who abuse copyright infringement might actually be liable for their abuse. On the other hand, the case might not be so crystal clear to a jury or judge and there is a chance that Ethan and Hila could lose.

About that actually, Philip DeFranco set up a fund raiser on gofundme for Ethan and Hila and after 24 hours, it has already gone past their legal costs of $100,000. I personally gave $5 to the fund. I know it’s not a lot but it is all I can afford. Even YouTubers that Ethan and Hila called out for doing some pretty bad stuff like Leafy have donated for go fund metheir legal costs because it is a cause that affects everyone on YouTuber. If Fair Use became open season, you would see half of all YouTubers get sued and worse, YouTube would be literally one massive ‘viral marketing’ campaign for companies that want to be viral and are anything but. There is a reason YouTubers take on sponsors, it is because they are trusted. I probably wouldn’t have even heard of, let alone check out Crunchyroll if Ethan and Hila didn’t bring it up on their last video. If Ethan and Hila and some of my other favourite YouTubers recommend me something, I generally check it out.

Viral marketing campaigns that set out to make an artificial version of this is idiotic. The only exception I can think of is the Old Spice guy and Dollarshaveclub. If Fair Use isn’t defended, YouTube may very well just be one long paid for giphyad you see at the start of YouTube videos if you don’t use adblock. Nobody wants that, not even the marketing executives making those crap ‘viral marketing videos’.  So if you value YouTube and the Internet in general, give some money to Ethan and Hila and ‘Save The Meme’ guys.

On another note, for the love of god, don’t harass Matt Hoss. If this goes to court, it is going to look really bad on Ethan and Hila if Matt can show that he was being threatened on YouTube and his Facebook and being told to go kill himself. It is only going to make the case against Ethan and Hila worse. I get the crowd mentality is strong and all but the best thing for it is to at most give his videos a dislike if you come across them and support Ethan and Hila. Outside of that, ignore him and make some more great photoshopped images.

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