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YouTube users worldwide are asking the site 'Where's the fair use'?

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Nowadays, YouTube is a money-making monstrosity.

And I guarantee, almost every one of you reading this has a favourite YouTuber that make a (in some cases very generous) salary off the website: Markiplier, the Game Grumps, PewDiePie, JonTron, KSI… I could go on for days.

But recently, it looks like content creators for YouTube are under contstant threat, with many apparently facing a barrage of rampant and – in numerous cases – unjustified copyright strikes from large corporations.

The issue was highlighted by online film critic Doug Walker (better known by the alias of the Nostalgia Critic) in a video he uploaded to the site on Tuesday, a few days after his video content faced strikes from the Japanese corporation Studio Ghibli.

In the video, Walker claims that his YouTube page, Channel Awesome, as well as others like I Hate Everything and YourMovieSucks, have been coming under fire from Hollywood studios and directors for using film footage in their online movie reviews.

The claimants have been issuing the content creators with “strikes”, which limit the abilities of the user’s channel and, scarily, provide the person/studio that made the claim with the revenue made from the video.

Revenue that would normally go to the creator.

Combining this with the fact that YouTube seems to deal out little, or no, punishment for wrongful or malicious strikes, and you have a system that is rife for abuse from copyright holders.

Film reviews like those that Walker creates fall under “Fair Use”, meaning that copyrighted material is allowed to be shown without permission if it is done so for educational or satirical purposes.

The perceived ridiculousness of YouTube’s copyright claim system came for a YouTuber known simply as C.R. on his YouTube channel FamiliarFaces.

In the video, uploaded on Thursday, C.R. discusses a video he made in which he discusses M&M’s and their adverts throughout the years. The video received a strike: but it came from the professional wrestling organisation WWE.

The unjust copyright claims have given rise to the hashtag “#WheresTheFairUse”, with prominent YouTubers like Markiplier, JackSepticEye and Peanut Butter Gamer voicing support of Walker’s video.

This does not seem to be a new phenomenon, and nor is it only limited to the realm of online film criticism.

Back in late 2013, a video game reviewer called Total Biscuit received a strike from Wild Games Studio after performing a negative review of Day One: Garry’s Incident.

The reviewer states in the video below that he believes the strike was an act of censorship and infringement of free speech: a sentiment which Walker seems to echo.

Not only does this affect the producer, but it also affects us as consumers of online content.

If strikes like these – which ultimately can result in the termination of a YouTube channel – are allowed to continue, some of your favourite online personalities may soon be unable to continue providing entertainment and out of a job.

And that is a troubling thought.




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