- MxR Plays/YouTube
- Two YouTubers have been issued with a $6,000 invoice for alleged copyright infringement and could lose their channel if they don’t pay up.
- Henry Liang and Jeannie Lee – known online as MxR and PotasticPanda – run channels with more than 2 million collective subscribers.
- They posted a reaction video that saw them watching four clips recently acquired by media company Jukin Media, which promptly issued an invoice and threatened to send a copyright complaint to YouTube.
- Google’s “three strikes” rule for YouTube videos means that three or more instances of copyright infringement by a channel results in that channel being “subject to termination.”
- Copyright expert Susan Hall told BI that the YouTubers might be covered under the US ‘fair use’ doctrine, which allows people to use copyrighted material in limited cases.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Two prominent US YouTubers risk losing their channel if they don’t pay a $6,000 fine.
Creators Henry Liang and Jeannie Lee, known as MxR and PotasticPanda respectively online, post to several gaming-focused channels which collectively have more than 2 million subscribers. The fine relates to material used by the YouTubers in a recent reaction video.
Reaction videos involve YouTubers posting their reactions to popular media such as movies, online clips and games.
In this case, one of the pair’s reaction videos saw them watch four clips recently bought by LA-based media firm Jukin Media, which has promptly issued them with an invoice for four cases of infringing on its copyright. Jukin Media scouts for online videos going viral and licenses them.
Liang expressed concern in a video posted on Monday that the pair were being “extorted” and could lose their channel if Jukin Media contacted Google with all four claims at once, as this could potentially break YouTube’s “three strikes” rule. He added that the pair had previously paid Jukin Media when it demanded cash for copyrighted material.
According to Google, YouTube operates a “three strikes” rule whereby any channel that commits three or more cases of copyright infringement is “subjection to termination.”
We left a comment on the video. Here's a screenshot. You're making money off of videos that don't belong to you — our only goal here is to ensure that the rightful owners of the videos are compensated. We're happy to talk and try to find a resolution that works for everyone. pic.twitter.com/M2uwRbDOsN
— Jukin Media (@JukinMedia) January 10, 2020
Anyone with three copyright strikes can’t create new channels.
“If you don’t pay they’ll start striking your channel – they’ll basically remove our channel if we don’t pay them,” Liang claimed in the video.
On the same day, Jukin Media posted a bullish tweet reiterating its stance, accusing the pair of “making money off of videos that don’t belong to you.” It did say, however, that it is “happy to talk to try and find a solution that works for everyone.” It has pinned the tweet to the top of its Twitter feed.
Susan Hall, a partner and specialist in intellectual property law at UK national law firm Clarke Willmott, said the issue hinged upon how much “critical commentary” reaction videos provide.
Speaking to Business Insider, she said: “YouTube is a US organization and is, therefore, subject to US intellectual property law, which includes the doctrine of ‘fair use’. UK copyright law is narrower; there is no fair use standard. Instead, UK law includes the ‘fair dealing’ exceptions to copyright either for specific circumstances. For example, for the purposes of criticism or review or for parody.
“The problem with reaction videos is that, where some may cross the threshold into the providing criticism or review exception, many will not. It depends on whether they include sufficient critical commentary.
“People who are struggling to meet the US fair use threshold are therefore likely to find even more problems bringing themselves within a UK ‘fair dealing’ exception, should proceedings be brought here.”