H3h3 wins ‘landmark’ YouTube fair use case

Late on Wednesday, YouTubers Ethan and Hila Klein, who together run the comedy channel h3h3productions, announced they had won a copyright lawsuit filed by Matt ‘Hoss’ Hosseinzade. New York Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled the Kleins’ reaction video was fair use and dismissed all three claims against them.

Over a year ago, MattHossZone filed a lawsuit against h3h3 alleging copyright infringement, misrepresentation, and defamation on their part. The video ‘Bold Guy vs Parkour Girl’ was commented on by the Kleins in a reaction video titled ‘The Big, the BOLD, and the Beautiful’ that was re-uploaded Thursday.

The court victory represents a collective win for YouTubers who make the same type of reaction videos as Ethan and Hila. Others, who don’t use footage from the original video they are watching, might not be as protected under the landmark ruling.

Ethan and Hila won but they won’t get paid back

As several people have noted, the fact that h3h3 won the lawsuit only means that their charges have been dropped and that the judge’s decision is now part of the public record to serve as legal precedent.

As for the legal fees, which cost Ethan and Hila Klein upwards of $100,000 in total, they won’t see a cent of that back. Matt Hoss is estimated to have paid the same to his own attorneys, and judging by the fact that both parties are YouTubers, it is likely the plaintiff doesn’t have the cash to pay for damages.

Nevertheless, much of the comedy couple’s defense fees came from a GoFundMe pool set up by fellow YouTube star Phillip DeFranco upon learning about the legal battle.

Over $170,000 were collected, which presumably helped covered all the costs up until now, and the remaining funds will go to the Fair Use Protection Agency (FUPA), an organization established by the Kleins to help other YouTubers in similar situations.

Landmark ruling is a big relief for much of YouTube

Ethan and Hila were congratulated by several YouTubers upon announcing the news via Twitter, including video makers like Jenna Marbles, PewDiePie, Phillip DeFranco, and even some controversial personalities like Keemstar and The Fine Brothers.

In spite of the differences, the reason so many of them supported this cause was that it would affect them greatly if a decision that didn’t favor them came as a result of the case. Many of their livelihoods would be compromised if suddenly there was a legal precedent that said making reaction videos is not fair use.

Luckily that wasn’t the case, and even though it is an overall positive result, not everyone can cover themselves under the same umbrella. People who film themselves as they watch and react might be subjected to a different kind of judgment that questions the fairness of their video format.

Source: YouTube