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h3h3Productions win lawsuit in favour of fair use policy

The YouTubers behind h3h3Productions have been embroiled in a gruelling legal battle this past year, with a fellow content creator viewing one of the duo’s videos as copyright infringement.  These claims have now been rejected, with the judge siding with the pair, clearly stating that the parody is well within fair use.

In February 2016, the creators of h3h3Productions, Hila and Ethan Klein uploaded a comedy video to their sister channel, self-titled Ethan and Hila. The content of this video poked fun at fellow YouTuber Matt Hosseinzadeh, the creator of MattHossZone, by taking clips from one of his Bold Guy videos and applying comedic commentary.

Hosseinzadeh viewed the amount of his original content shown in the new video to be copyright infringement, initially seeking out the Kleins to offer them a settlement containing a few thousand dollars, an apology and to promote Hosseinzadeh’s channel. The Klein’s refused, maintaining their position that their content was protected under the fair use policy and thus the case began.

The pair publicly announced the case on their main h3h3 channel in May 2016, followed by launching a crowdfuning campaign to cover the immense legal expenses. The GoFundMe page blew up with overwhelming support, gaining over $170,000, with many donating in the name of fair use and what it stands for.

Over a year into the legal battle, District Judge Katerine B. Forrest revealed her 21-page ruling, courtesy of Techcrunch, in favour of the Klein’s case, describing the added commentary in their video to be “quintessential criticism and comment,” similar to that found within those that study film. Judge Forrest continues to explore the US fair use policy in detail, including the amount of copyrighted content used, the content’s potential market and the true nature of the work.

“Any review of the Klein video leaves no doubt that it constitutes critical commentary of the Hoss video; there is also no doubt that the Klein video is decidedly not a market substitute for the Hoss video,” which has since become “fodder for caustic, moment-by-moment commentary and mockery” due to the Klein’s take. Judge Forrest offers a definitive, saying that “for these and the other reasons set forth below, defendants’ use of clips from the Hoss video constitutes fair use as a matter of law.”

It seems that all is settled for the time being unless Hosseinzadeh decides to appeal the case. Many perceive this as a victory for fair use, with major YouTube stars such as PewDiePie and Markiplier congratulating the couple, however content creators still need to be aware of what it is they are creating and abide by the laws put in place by their country of origin, as well as the laws set via the place of upload.

KitGuru Says: The fair use policy as stated in the US explicitly states that content used in parody is perfectly legal but of course it’s never as black and white as that. I am unsure what Hosseinzadeh expected to achieve from this case, but he’s going to have a hard time shaking off the overwhelming negative response to his treatment of the situation.

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  • Daniel Anderson

    Papa Bless. May the fupalords watch over thee.

  • Rocky40

    I have not kept up with the whole story but I guess they found a loop whole to get around copy rights.

  • SpaceBiker

    There is no loop hole around Copyright there is Fair Use. Which is exactly what H3 and a lot of others, not just on Youtube do.
    Fair use is where you add a lot to the original content, such as a review. Copyright would be if they uploaded the entire video with no edits, or if they reenacted everything exactly.

  • Gary Keen

    It doesn’t matter who they are, the content they make or whether one likes them or not, The fact of the matter is that this case sets an important precedent for others in future

  • Roman Cruz

    I mean they’re making fun of horrible people. I’m not a 100% a fan of h3h3, but there are a lot of garbage people on Youtube who need to be taken down a peg.

  • Rocky40

    Yea you may have a point there in that there are a lot of people on Youtube that are less than desirable and should be told that. The problem I have is when other people use that to get video page hits just for the sake of making money and getting more sub’s. There are far better ways to show those that do not measure up to everyone standards.

    Maybe there is more to H3H3 than I have seen as I only watched 3 of their videos. Then again I used to watch PewDiePie for his game streams and to see his responses to what was going on in the game he was playing…lol