YouTuber couple Ethan and Hila Klein, the operators of H3H3Productions, have come up against a fair use problem based on their commentary on another YouTuber’s video.
Copyright law’s fair use doctrine is meant to protect a range a legal activities from infringement claims. But it won’t stop a lawsuit, as Ethan and Hila found out after posting a 14-minute video about “Bold Guy vs Parkour Girl.”
The sketch is by Matt Hosseinzadeh, whose “Matt Hoss Zone” channel includes a series of videos about “The Bold Guy,” a character who is very successful with attractive women.
Ethan and Hila picked one of those videos and played snippets while commenting on its plot, dialogue, performances and themes. Hosseinzadeh, apparently taking exception, initiated a copyright dispute, which eventually resulted in a copyright infringement claim against Ethan and Hila.
The couple, who raised $100,000 in less than a day for their legal defense through a GoFundMe campaign, put out a 15-minute video appeal that says fair use isn’t necessarily the shield that many people think it is. And they’re right.
The fair use doctrine offers an “affirmative defense” to a claim of copyright infringement—meaning a defendant admits to doing what is complained of in the lawsuit but explains why it’s allowed.
The common law doctrine that has been incorporated into federal law (Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976) sets forth a four-part test for determining whether an activity that otherwise might be infringing is allowed. Criticism and commentary are among those activities intended to be protected.
But, as Ethan and Hila point out in their crowdfunding video, when you assert fair use, you still have to go to court and prove that your use is fair. Just saying “fair use” won’t make a copyright infringement claim vanish.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)