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Creator sues YouTube for allegedly deleting his channel in retaliation to complaints

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Creators continue to be unhappy with the way YouTube treats them – some going all to the way to filing lawsuits against the global video giant, owned by Google.

TorrentFreak has a report about one such case, involving creator DJ Short-E – who said he in the past earned over $300,000 on the platform. And now it looks like he wants to round the number to about a million with his $720,000 breach-of-contract lawsuit, that alleges vindictive behavior on the part of YouTube.

The compensation figure quoted in the lawsuit is based on revenues lost on account of deleted content, and also lost subscribers, advertising and bookings, all of which occurred when YouTube terminated the creator’s channels for what the company said was copyright infringement.

The YouTuber, whose real-world name is Erik Mishiyev, says he first faced copyright claims against some of his most profitable videos in 2016, to which he responded with successful counter-claims.

In 2017, his channel reached 100,000 subscribers and received YouTube’s Silver Creator Award. But between the growing number of followers and low view counts on his videos, Mishiyev started to suspect foul play on YouTube’s part.

Revenue-sharing agreements between creators and the platform obligate the latter to properly promote content, but as the lawsuit states, “Plaintiff was concerned about this suspicious activity and sought confirmation numerous times from YouTube that they were truly distributing his new videos to his fans and subscribers, but YouTube failed to provide such confirmation, stating ‘they could not share this information’ with him,” the complaint states.

Mishiyev calculated his damages at that point to have reached $375,000 over three years, and decided to tell YouTube he would sue them if this continued. YouTube’s alleged response, coming in late 2018, was to inform the creator that his account would be shut down and videos deleted.

Over a period of one month, “plaintiff was abruptly bombarded with copyright claims like he never had been before the entire time he had been managing and growing his channels,” his lawsuit claims.

And the videos were eventually blocked for copyright infringement reasons, and his channels removed. YouTube at first declared that some of the creator’s counter-notices – that had always been successful in the past – were now “ineligible.”

“The complaint adds that YouTube later retracted its statement that the videos were ineligible for counter-notification and promised to process them. It’s not clear what happened next but it didn’t help Mishiyev’s predicament,” TorrentFreak writes.

But Mishiyev’s lawsuit states that he believes the real reason was YouTube’s retaliation for his first mention of a lawsuit – when he suspected that his videos were not properly promoted to subscribers, as per the agreement he had with the giant.

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