If you’re a major YouTube fan, you’ll have heard rumblings at some point about ‘Fair Use Policies’ and copyright infringements. Whilst they both sound boring as hell, it’s actually one of the biggest issues plaguing YouTube creators and it seems they’ve finally had enough. The campaign #WTFU is hoping to change things for good.
Behind the campaign is a powerful video from Channel Awesome, who earlier this year shared the video “What The Hell YouTube?” about their struggles with copyright strikes; it gained over 1 million views. However this new video directly criticises the copyright system, saying that it bullies the creators who have been dedicated to the site for so many years.
The problem stems from Hollywood and their limited understanding of ‘Fair Use Policies’, explained in the video above as, “Excerpts of copyrighted material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder”. Essentially, as long as YouTubers don’t post entire movies for monetary reasons, what’s the issue?
Instead, Hollywood sees it as straight theft. When companies stumble across their content on YouTube, instead of checking whether it’s ‘Fair Use’, they immediately launch a copyright strike and get the video removed – with no need to prove who they are or why they are doing it. This in turn ruins the livelihood of people working full-time on YouTube.
Channel Awesome’s newest video has helped launch an awareness campaign on social media. Other prominent YouTubers, such as Markiplier and TomSka, have shared the trend #WTFU to their followers and helped spread engagement. We can’t predict yet whether Awesome’s incredibly passion video will incite revolution, but we hope that smaller creators and fans alike start taking notice of the issues plaguing larger creators.