Prominent YouTubers Ask “Where’s the Fair Use?” in Backlash Against Site
Image Credit: Channel Awesome
YouTube has shared a troubled relationship with its video creators in recent years. While the video-sharing site provides many with a full-time income, it has been criticized multiple times for its treatment of those who upload to the site, with channels frequently being hit with DMCA claims and copyright strikes that force content creators to remove videos and, in some cases, even sees channels being taken down altogether.
However, due to YouTube’s paranoia regarding copyright claims filed by external companies, the scales are tipped in favor of those who make these claims rather than the creators. This is despite many videos being covered by the Fair Use act, which means that videos utilizing copyrighted material are protected by law if they’re used for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching and research, without there being a need to obtain permission or provide payment to the copyright holder. But with YouTube’s copyright claims being handled by an algorithm rather than real humans, and with it being nigh-on impossible for video makers to actually get into contact with YouTube employees in order to address their problems, content creators are frequently subjected to mistreatment from the company that pays them their wages.
But now YouTubers are fighting back against the continued abuse of the Fair Use act, hoping to force YouTube’s hand and get the site to begin handling copyright strikes in an efficient manner. In an online campaign spearheaded by Doug Walker, best known for his Nostalgia Critic online persona and for co-creating the Channel Awesome site, YouTubers and their viewers are being encouraged to spread the hashtag #WTFU, an acronym of “Where’s the Fair Use?”
Walker previously posted a video addressing his concerns with YouTube’s stance on Fair Use, titled ‘What the Hell YouTube?’, which garnered over 1 million views. However, his latest video features a far more pointed criticism of the site, with it leading to many prominent YouTubers taking to Twitter and Facebook in order to share their frustrations.
Watch the video below:
The video has attracted a very positive response on social media, with many YouTubers attempting to spread the word regarding the site’s poor treatment of their content creators:
— Jeremy Jahns (@JeremyJahns) February 17, 2016
Where’s the Fair Use? – https://t.co/TvFBiE77pr
— Austin Hargrave (@PeanutButterGmr) February 17, 2016
My videos were illegally uploaded by people who received thousands of monetized views, since I was too scared to upload them myself. #WTFU
— William DuFresne (@SuedeBlade) February 16, 2016
Anyone who’s gone through “Copyright School” will know exactly how insulting YouTube is when handling copyright. #WTFU
— ra͟bb̵idlu̕i̴gi̸ (@rabbidluigi) February 17, 2016
It remains to be seen whether or not this campaign will bring about change for YouTube, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to tackling an issue that continues to plague the site.