Copyright As Censorship: YouTuber Pulls Down GoFundMe Video To Help Victim Of Viral YouTube Jumping Tesla Stunt

from the copyright-is-almost-as-stupid-as-jumping-a-tesla dept

It still amazes me how unwilling many copyright system supporters are to admit that copyright is regularly used for actual censorship, using the power of the law to suppress speech. The latest example is particularly galling. Over the weekend, a somewhat ridiculous video went viral of a Tesla doing a jump over a hill in Echo Park, and then losing control, smashing into garbage cans and, eventually, a parked car. YouTuber Alex Choi was there and had a whole video about the incident, which I’m not going to link to for reasons I’ll explain down below.

Now I should note that in his video, Choi emphasizes repeatedly that he didn’t know the people in the jumping Tesla, nor did he have anything to do with the planning of it. Instead, he makes it sound as though it were just a gathering of a huge number Tesla owners/drivers. They met up in a parking lot somewhere and drove around LA as a group. At one point, they decided to go to a spot where another famous YouTuber had jumped his car, and some people in the group decided to do the same jump (apparently in a rental Tesla). The jump went completely viral, in part because of Choi’s video about it, which included videos from his own dashcam and a bunch of other dudes standing around watching and filming the whole thing.

Apparently after the car crashed and came to a stop, everyone made a run for it (leaving the damaged Tesla there). Choi says he went back about 30 minutes later and filmed some of the aftermath, including a close up shot of one of apparently two cars (a Subaru) that the idiots who drove the jumping Tesla hit. Choi said that the damage didn’t look that bad (from the outside, the back bumper just looks a bit dented).

Enter the owner of that car, Jordan Hook, who woke up to crashing sounds, and discovered his Subaru smashed. And, yes, the back bumper is only slightly dented, but as he’s since detailed, the crash ruined some tires, bent the steering column, and blew out his suspension. Basically, it totaled his car. Jordan then posted a GoFundMe, hoping to get some money to replace his now destroyed Subaru.

But, if you look at that GoFundMe, you might notice that the video he originally made for it has been taken down due to… a copyright strike. A copyright strike from Alex Choi.

Yes, you guessed it. Some of Jordan’s video dared to show some of the footage of the idiots jumping the Tesla and having it crash into his car, and Alex Choi issued a copyright strike on it, because apparently if anyone is going to get money from that kind of stupidity, it needs to be… Alex Choi. Clearly, this usage by Jordan is protected by fair use, but these days, fair use is mostly meaningless when someone issues a copyright strike to YouTube. Hook has now created a new video without the footage of the crash itself:

It’s understandable, but stupid.

Now, again, Choi isn’t the idiot who crashed the car, he just hangs out with idiots and makes viral videos, and then apparently issues bogus copyright takedowns to silence the victims of his idiot colleagues. I’m not linking to Choi’s video because he doesn’t deserve any more views, even if he didn’t approve of what the Tesla jumpers did.

On that note, at least, the LAPD is apparently “investigating” the incident, but it’s unclear if anything is going to happen. In his GoFundMe, Hook claims the LAPD said they won’t pursue those who were involved in this mess because “it’s just property damage and not a felony,” though I think the viral nature of the story seems to have made the LAPD reconsider that stance.

Either way, the copyright angle here is frustrating beyond belief.

However, it’s another good example of why things like the new SMART Copyright Act of 2022 from Senators Leahy and Tillis is so dangerous. It likely would lead to requiring sites to use monitoring and filtering tools that would have prevented Hook from even trying to upload the video in the first place, despite it obviously being fair use.

Copyright is broken, and regularly used to stifle speech, and this is just the latest example.

Filed Under: , , , , , , , ,
Companies: gofundme, tesla, youtube

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Copyright As Censorship: YouTuber Pulls Down GoFundMe Video To Help Victim Of Viral YouTube Jumping Tesla Stunt”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
OGquaker says:


California voters “passed” Proposition 21 in 1996 to criminalize children’s graffiti, lowering felony property damage from $10,000 to $400 when bus paint cost over $200 a gallon. The law was completely ineffectual in stopping public graffiti, but destroyed a lot of kids: the check-box for “gang related” is for life.
The law sorta says (Google)

(20) Felony vandalism, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 594.
SEC. 12. Section 594 of the Penal Code, as amended by Section 1.5 of Chapter 853 of the Statutes of 1998, is amended to read:

  1. (a) Every person who maliciously commits any of the following acts with respect to any real or personal property not his or her own, in cases other than those specified by state law, is guilty of vandalism:

(1) Defaces with graffiti or other inscribed material.

(2) Damages.

(3) Destroys.

Whenever a person violates this subdivision with respect to real property, vehicles, signs, fixtures, furnishings, or property belonging to any public entity, as defined by Section 811.2 of the Government Code, or the federal government, it shall be a permissive inference that the person neither owned the property nor had the permission of the owner to deface, damage, or destroy the property.

(b) (1) If the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is [WAS fifty thousand dollars $50,000] four hundred dollars ($400) or more, vandalism is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or if the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, by a fine of not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Liability Insurance?

If he has the plates from the car (or from Alex Choi’s video), then finding the owner of the car, and from there the folks who rented it, shouldn’t be that hard. … for the insurance companies involved. And I’m betting the Tesla had insurance, even if Mr Hook doesn’t (which is another story, of course).

If for no other reason than his name, the repair shouldn’t be left on the Hook…

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

We should demand that Tesla lock out the ability to jump cars immediately and if they don’t we should have 500 congressional hearings just to make it look like we give a shit.

Sounds silly but hey change Tesla to Meta and its already happening.

Elon should look in the couch & find enough change to buy the actual victim a new car just to be a decent human. (Its not like he would notice a dip in his wealth) Barring that, the rental company should have already bought the victim a new car.

The asshole who issued the strike should be on the reviving end of an aforementioned group of hackers abusing the DMCA system to make his life hell.

The dipshits who jumped the car should be pursued.
Everyone who showed up to this little event should have a colonoscopy to find out who they are, who helped them plan it, and how much liability each faces.

But then the cops are to busy pursing the newest TikTok freak out, kids shooting water beads at each other… no really. Felonies…

btr1701 (profile) says:

LAPD said they won’t pursue those who were involved
in this mess because “it’s just property damage and
not a felony”

That’s the official policy of our communist district attorney George Gascon. He has issued a blanket declination of prosecution on almost all property crime in Los Angeles County. He doesn’t believe anyone should go to jail merely for stealing or destroying someone else’s property. In his own words, “That’s what insurance is for.”

It’s also a major reason he (like his clone Chesa Boudin in San Francisco) is facing a recall election and– if the polls are any indication– will almost certainly be yanked out of office.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...