from the pew-pew-pew! dept
We had just been talking about how Mark Fitzpatrick, a YouTube personality who focuses on doing reviews and let’s draws for anime properties, had been targeted by Toei Animation for the takedown of over a 150 of his videos over copyright claims. Toei is the animation house for several popular animes, including the Dragon Ball series. While Fitzpatrick’s videos fall squarely in the category of fair use, as they are chiefly commentary and reviews that use snippets of the animes in question in order to illustrate points, because of the onerous way YouTube enforces such claims, his videos were taken down first and remain down at the time of this writing.
Well, if Toei was hoping this would all fly under the radar, it most certainly is not. Fitzpatrick’s own video complaining about how Toei is behaving itself has over 700k views. And now streaming icon Pewdiepie is inserting himself into all of this, squarely on on Fitzpatrick’s side.
On December 9, PewDiePie uploaded a video reacting to Toei’s apparent mass copyright strike against Fitzpatrick, calling the studio a “big-shot company that couldn’t care less about some random anime YouTuber.”
“Japan is so notoriously dumb when it comes to copyright,” he said. “Backwards thinking or just overall lacking in what most people agree is Fair Use and not. They just don’t care. They’re a big company. That’s it.”
Now, I’m not in love with Pewdiepie’s phrasing in all of this, but he certainly is correct that the manner in which Japan has constructed its copyright laws is highly problematic. There is a reason that plenty of nations have built in fair use provisions into their copyright laws and they are for situations just like this. Nothing about the use in Fitzpatrick’s videos in any way threatens the business of Toei Animation. There may certainly be some commentary in his videos that Toei doesn’t like, but that’s a different thing. Copyright laws in general weren’t created in order to give content creators the ability to suppress commentary; they were supposed to be a method for protecting the business interests of creators. Instead, there are several carveouts in Japanese copyright law that were added specifically to grant more control over how content is used for the anime and manga industries.
Pewdiepie is also no dummy on this stuff. It’s his business, after all, and he knows enough about it to point to past examples of how badly this all works when it comes to properties coming out of Japan.
Kjellberg went on to compare Toei’s copyright claims to Nintendo’s failed creator program, which allowed creators to use game footage and music — provided they split their revenue.
“I think it’s important that we call these things out, so that hopefully they can listen,” PewDiePie continued. “This, what happened to Mark, just really highlights a huge issue with YouTube.”
And he then turned his sights on YouTube in full, arguing that the manner in which the platform enforces copyright claims is extremely tilted against YouTube creators.
“Any day, your livelihood on YouTube could get removed, because some big company decided, out of the blue: ‘That, no. Stop that,’” he added.
To be fair to YouTube, as I stated in the previous post on Fitzpatrick’s tribulations, this is not an easy problem to solve. But it is a problem and YouTube honestly doesn’t seem to be doing much about it. If that continues, there’s no reason why the struggles Twitch has had retaining its creative community couldn’t happen to YouTube as well.