A Trump critic and a Trump supporter are currently having a back-and-forth on YouTube – but not really about politics, unless you consider YouTube’s perpetually broken copyright system a form of politics.
Somehow, what looks like a fake copyright claim managed to creep into the exchange that started out with a doctor, Justin Shafa, uploading a video criticizing the US president for saying that coronavirus could be treated using UV (ultraviolet) light.
Popular YouTuber Mark Dice, who describes himself as a conservative, then uploaded a reaction video to prove that Shafa was the one ill-informed and ignorant about the subject, as under-development treatments like Healight prove.
Dice, who has more than 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, also used clips from Shafa’s video, provoking him to file copyright claims against the conservative creator both on YouTube and on Twitter.
But, according to Dice, not before accusing him of a privacy violation, because he mentioned the doctor’s name at one point in his reaction video.
As for the copyright claims that followed, this YouTuber is certain they are false and that his use of clips from Shafa’s video fall under the fair use rule of US copyright law – in other words, this kind of use of copyrighted material without the holder’s permission is allowed if the goal is to provide commentary or parody.
And that, Dice says, was his goal all along, rendering the copyright accusation pointless. According to Dice, what really motivated Shafa to try to take down his video were “hurt feelings” while the doctor accusing him of “stealing” his content was a disingenuous attempt to silence criticism.
Finally, should Shafa decide to stick to the accusations and take them to court, Dice warns he would countersue for anything from slander, tortious interference with the goal of harming his livelihood on YouTube, to Shafa’s possible lawsuit resting on a false copyright claim and therefore designed to prevent public participation.
It’s not the first time that YouTubers have been hit with false copyright claims and privacy claims as a form of censorship. It’s a problem, that YouTube assures us they’re working to fix (and has even themselves began to sue some of those who make false copyright claims and ignore fair use repeatedly), but is extremely slow at fixing it.
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