Creators Are Teaming Up To Sue Youtube After Losing 90% Of Their Income

18 July 2017, 13:04 | Updated: 6 November 2017, 09:41

YouTuber Tatoos

By Josh Lee

The Adpocalypse strikes again.

Two YouTube creators are suing YouTube; after losing ad revenue following the recent "Adpocalypse", which saw a number of YouTuber channels barred from monetisation.

What is the Adpocalypse and why are creators suing YouTube?

In March this year, huge brands such as Pespi and Starbucks pulled advertising from YouTube; after they found their adverts appearing alongside extremist content such as videos from the KKK and people claiming to represent ISIS. In response, YouTube tightened up its policies to allow brands to exercise greater control over where their ads appear.

Content from people claiming to represent ISIS has been found across YouTube. Content from people claiming to represent ISIS has been found across YouTube.

But the fallout from their safeguarding improvements had an effect on many channels' ad revenue. While brands began to return to YouTube after the policy change, a number of creators began to notice that ad revenues on their content were dropping. In the case of James Sweet and Chuck Meré - the two creators who have filed a lawsuit against YouTube - revenues on their channel Zombie Go Boom allegedly fell from $333 to $500 per day to just $20 to $40 a day.

While not necessarily "Extremist", Zombie Go Boom does feature violent content.

The premise of their channel is testing weapons on dummies that have been made to look like zombies. It's pretty graphic stuff; but not politically motivated in the way that content from, say, the KKK is. YouTube did say in a statement following the Adpocalypse that content "where the focal point is on blood, violence or injury, when presented without additional context, is not eligible for advertising"; which could be why Zombie Go Boom's content has suffered under the new rules.

Zombie Go Boom are suing YouTube after losing significant ad revenue Zombie Go Boom features lots of weapons and gore.

James and Chuck are suing YouTube to gain clarity over YouTube's monetisation decisions.

The breach of contract lawsuit states:

"YouTube has a duty to disclose, with detailed specificity and complete transparency, the terms by which content is selected or deselected for monetization. Failing to disclose this essential information to content providers, along with maintaining unilateral control to change the terms and conditions which govern the payment received by content providers for their creative work is anti-competitive, harmful to the creative content market, and also a breach of good faith and fair dealing."

They have also accused YouTube of not considering the affect the Adpocalypse would have on creators, claiming the site "intentionally caused Adpocalypse to occur, in an effort to appease its advertising partners, at the expense of its content providers".

James and Chuck are hoping to bring more creators on board with their legal action.

The complaint filed against YouTube is a potential class-action lawsuit. According to TubeFilter, the pair are hoping to bring on more affected creators as plaintiffs.

Commenting on the case, YouTube said: “We have always worked hard to provide creators with the opportunity to earn revenue on our platform."