If you pay attention to YouTube at all, you may have heard what Ethan and Hila Klein of H3H3 Productions have been going through recently. In case you haven’t, H3H3 Productions is currently in the process of being sued by another YouTuber, The Bold Guy, where H3H3 made a reaction video to one of his videos on a secondary channel of theirs. The video in question uses around three minutes of footage from The Bold Guy’s video with the rest being Ethan on camera talking about the video and making jokes about it. To everyone on Earth with even the slightest knowledge of how fair use works, this lawsuit is being seen as a way for The Bold Guy to get an unflattering video of someone poking fun at him taken off the Internet (even though it will quite literally never be truly gone) and take some money from H3H3 Productions in the process. This comes across very obvious when you look at the settlement offers The Bold Guy sent to Ethan and Hila, such as requiring them to make a video apologizing and promoting his YouTube channel for two months.
The process began a few months ago, but H3H3 Productions recently made a video explaining to their audience the situation. They explained in the video that the entire case could take around two years and could cost $100,000 before all is said and done—the $100,000 not including any money The Bold Guy might win if he wins the case. Luckily, two truly good people in this world, who also happen to be attorneys—The Video Game Attorney, Ryan Morrison and his partner Michael Lee—came forward to represent H3H3 Productions. In the beginning they were representing H3H3 Productions pro bono (for free), but now that the case is going forward, H3H3 want to hire them.
After their video started to get around, YouTuber Phillip DeFranco made a video of his own where he explained the situation to his viewers and announced he was starting a GoFundMe for Ethan and Hila’s legal fees, starting off the donations with $5,000 of his own money. As of right now the GoFundMe is at $126,919 with big donations coming from Notch, Markiplier, PewDiePie, Boogie2988, and even The Fine Bros, who H3H3 Productions had made a video on in the past poking fun at them, along with over 5,000 other people all looking to support H3H3 Productions and fair use.
This was all over the past few days, and on Thursday Ethan and Hila made another video expressing their gratitude to everyone who has been supporting them and donating to the GoFundMe. Also in the video they announced that since the GoFundMe had far exceeded what they would need, they will be putting all of the money from the GoFundMe into an escrow account for the express purpose of helping people in need of fair use legal protection, and it will be put in the care of Morrison/Lee (The Video Game Attorneys).
This will allow Morrison/Lee to provide full legal representation, not just free legal advice as they’ve been doing, for people being bullied or silenced over fair use issues. This means H3H3 Productions will be the first client to use the account, so Ethan and Hila donated $5,000 into the GoFundMe as well. The Fair Use Protection Account (that’s right, FUPA) will hopefully help protect people who otherwise would have no other option but to give in to the demands of whoever is bullying them, and protect the very concept of fair use itself.
If you’re getting bullied by someone and think you’ve got a legitimate fair use case, you can email [email protected] and they will look over your case and respond if you have a legitimate fair use case. You can also follow everything FUPA on Twitter at @FUPAforFREEDOM to see everything that’s going on with the FUPA. Ethan and Hila summed it up nicely saying, “YouTube is great again. You guys made YouTube great again.”
What does this mean for Fair Use on YouTube going forward? Is this the big turning point in protecting Fair Use?