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Vox Media caught trying to suppress criticism from tech YouTubers with false DMCA notices

Last year, Vox-owned website, The Verge, released a $2,000 gaming PC build guide on YouTube. Almost immediately, commenters and more knowledgeable tech YouTube channels began picking the video apart due to the poor advice it gave first-time builders. Things on that front went quiet for a few months, until last night, when Vox Media began issuing Copyright strikes against YouTube channels.

The build guide was originally posted to The Verge’s YouTube channel. The video initially had comments disabled and was then removed entirely. The accompanying guide article still remains live though and people can find the video easily enough, as large chunks of it were preserved by tech channels critiquing or parodying the guide.

Channels like Bitwit and ReviewTechUSA were hit with copyright strikes on YouTube after Vox Media manually issued DMCA claims. False copyright strikes have been an issue on YouTube for a long time now. Time and again, companies have taken advantage of the system to suppress criticism, even when it violates Fair Use law in the United States. This penalises YouTube channels, which can be left without access to certain features after receiving a strike. Getting a strike removed can also be a painful process with no guarantee of success.

The ironic part is that The Verge itself regularly reports on YouTube’s copyright problems. Which makes the decision to attempt issuing copyright strikes even more baffling.

Sure enough, after news of the copyright strikes came out, other YouTubers and fans across social media began speaking out against Vox’s decision. This in turn, caught YouTube’s attention, enabling Bitwit to get the copyright strike removed from his channel. In an email sent to him, YouTube stated that the video fell within Fair Use and that Vox Media’s copyright claim was unwarranted and has thus been removed.

Other channels are still waiting to have their claims removed but it looks like YouTube is keeping on top of the situation for a change.

KitGuru Says: YouTube can be slow when it comes to taking a stand on Fair Use but in this case, it looks like the company got around to fixing the issue quickly. Ultimately, Vox Media should have known better- DMCA strikes against critical videos never, ever go down well and only serve to invite backlash. 

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