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Screwed By The Lawyers / New Media

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  • The phrase "this video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by *insert name of company*, (Sorry about that.)" has become a well known sight on YouTube, even with Team Four Star, who put a disclaimer at the beginning of every episode they post. The Warner Music Group has also been responsible for taking away music from videos, saying that it violates copyright. If a video gets blocked for copyright infringement, the user who posted that particular video would usually get a copyright strike and would be forced to watch the Happy Tree Friends video about copyright law and take a trivia question. If a user gets three strikes, their account will be banned and all of the user's videos will be removed from the site.
    Announcer in YouTube Copyright School: Even though YouTube is a free video sharing site, you can still get into serious trouble for copyright infringement. You can be sued, and found liable for monetary damages. You could lose your booty, or worse: You might lose your YouTube account. You only get a few chances. If YouTube receives a valid notification of alleged copyright infringement from a copyright holder for one of your videos, the video will be removed in accordance with the law. You will be notified via e-mail and in your account and you'll get a strike. If YouTube finds you are a repeat offender, you'll get banned for life!
    • Another phrase "This video contains content from *Insert Company Here* who has blocked it (in your country) on copyright grounds" pops up a lot, one variant lists multiple companies and adds "one or more of which" before "has blocked it...". Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music do this a lot, and so do other media companies.
    • LittleKuriboh lampooned the "Three Strikes" rule to hell and back in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: Season Zero episode 3, complete with "[This is what the YPD Actually Believes]" disclaimer.
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    • Certain videos have managed to avoid this fate by claiming Fair Use.
    • YouTube has come under fire for the fact that they remove videos just because of an infringement claim without investigating whether the video is Fair Use or not. YouTube, and "Content Service Providers" in general, are required by law to pull without investigation as soon as they receive proper notice, or else they themselves can be Sued by the Lawyers. Uploaders can object to cases of "mistake or misidentification", in other words claiming that the copyright owner made a mistake when it failed to see that "it's legal Fair Use, damn it!"
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    • One Machinima short was completely blocked by WMG specifically because of one short song clip used at the beginning of the video.
    • Curiously, there is a pattern that tends to emerge with what gets pulled and what doesn't, even aside from some content owners being more stringent about it than others: TV shows and movies (especially current ones) are the strictest, along with popular music (unless the artists deliberately use online distribution as free advertising). Music from other sources, though, tends to be less strictly enforced. Rarest of all to be cut are video game clips; since you can't actually play the game on YouTube, each video game clip is basically a trailer the producers didn't have to pay for. Also, AMVs are, for whatever reason, often kept in the same way Fan Fic in general is rarely targeted, despite theoretically having two possible angry claimants.
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    • But since anyone can make a copyright claim, they don't need any proof that you are the copyright holder, and since they don't investigate any claims, anyone who just doesn't like someone's video or even a bot can file a false claim. To dispute the claim, you must provide unnecessary personal information (your full name, phone number, physical address, email address), meaning most people who are the victim of a false copyright claim would just not bother disputing. Even though YouTube tells people not to file false claims and that repeated false claims could get the person in legal trouble, that doesn't stop people from making them.
      • Viacom was possibly the worst offender, it was known to claim copyright claims to properties it didn't own, like Mass Effect playthroughs and even a Mass Effect video from BioWare's own YouTube channel, along with Meet the Scout from Valve's official channel (though the latter was restored shortly afterwards). They also claimed clips from Sesame Street that aired on Noggin, because they owned Noggin. And it had the Noggin logo on the bottom right. That is why a lot of Sesame Street uploaders such as JonnyTBird4789, Nantosuichoken, and many other users were terminated from YouTube.
      • Viacom has also become infamous for filing infringement claims against content uploaded by its own authorized agents. The fact that Viacom itself cannot reliably differentiate legally uploaded from illegally uploaded content contributed to the collapse of their suit against Google for YouTube content. They also took down the original 2012 pilot of Breadwinners, which was uploaded by the original creators before they even sold the rights to Nickelodeon.
      • In late 2017/early 2018, long after The Nutshack aired, many videos containing the memetic opening theme were blocked due to copyright claims from ABS-CBN Corporation, including most videos on the show's official YouTube channel.
      • Warner Music Group (yes, them again) is another notable offender. They have made copyright claims to properties that they didn't own, like shows done by Walt Disney Television Animation (such as Disney's Marsupilami, Raw Toonage, and many others....), and many Disney uploaders were banned from YouTube because of that. The same thing happened with Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?; they claimed they owned the theme song by Rockapella. WMG also claimed Sesame Street at one point. It got so bad that the official Sesame Street YouTube account got terminated.
      • After acquiring The Beatles' recordings in 2012 following their purchase of EMI, Universal Music Group began flagging and blocking any videos featuring their music. It got so bad that their own Vevo account on YouTube got terminated as well.
    • Capcom and some other video game companies are starting to remove playthroughs and walkthroughs of their games, especially more recent ones, from YouTube.
    • Nintendo is a bit of an odd case. They never really had any issue with LP's of their games, but in May 2013 they suddenly began claiming full monetization rights for videos that use their content. For Let's Play channels that primarily use Nintendo games, such as The Runaway Guys and the Game Grumps, this new policy effectively crippled their income.
      • BrawlBRSTMs3 and GilvaSunnernote , two of the biggest gaming music archive channels on YouTube, both suddenly saw themselves getting hundreds of copyright claims en masse from Nintendo in August 2019, forcing the former to be terminated and the deletion of hundreds of the latter's videos. While Brawl had actually planned to announce their retirement that day (with the claims just giving them more incentive), Gilva was less pleased considering Nintendo had not uploaded much of its music to digital platforms, unlike Square Enix, Capcom and Namco, leaving him and many others to question why Nintendo was striking down their channels (among others) while giving fans no alternatives.
    • Konami is very protective of Metal Gear. Twice now they've threatened to sue (not simply have the videos taken down, sue) Machinima and Two Best Friends Play when the latter announced their intentions to do LP's for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Ironically, they had no issue with the Best Friends' Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance LP.
    • Also works re: preventing YouTube videos from working outside of specific countries.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic videos began getting hit hard by the year 2016. The year prior, Hasbro Studios made an agreement with Sony Music Entertainment to have the former's music catalog released by the latter. At first, fans thought that it was only applied to the Friendship Games special and the Christmas album the prior year, but it turned out the deal applied to the entire music archive of the series as well, meaning anything pertaining to the music of the series, remixes or not, would be targeted by SME. Fans soon declared war against SME believing their actions were unjust.
    • Jimquisition was hit by copyright strikes many times due to indie developers not being able to handle Jim's harsh criticism of their game and issuing a claim out of spite since they think their games are perfect. In almost every case, Jim files a counterclaim and the other party does not respond (they assume using scare tactics would work), which means Jim's removed video is reinstated after two weeks. Jim gets annoyed by this to no end since he's forced to answer quizzes from YouTube to see if he understands what copyright means and it disrupts his schedule for other content he had planned.
      • The one occasion when an indie developer responded to a counterclaim was when James and Robert Romine, of Digital Homicide infamy, sued Jim in 2016 over his videos criticizing their shovelware games. During the litigation period, Jim's videos regarding Digital Homicide were brought down, and Jim was legally barred from discussing the matter in his videos, in addition to being forced to divide his time between fighting the lawsuit and making content. Eventually, however, the case against Jim was dismissed with prejudice: the Romines are no longer allowed to sue Jim on this matter again, and the case was dropped after Jim's lawyer explained to the Romines, in detail, the world of pain they would be in if they actually brought the case to court. After the sordid ordeal ended, Jim took the opportunity to rub all of the salt into the Romines' wounds.
    • Ubisoft began in early 2020 taking down videos of raw Just Dance gameplay, most likely to encourage more people to buy the Just Dance games instead of simply looking up a gameplay video and having a free workout of their own.
    • Family Guy once stole footage of the NES game Double Dribble from this video by a user named sw1tched to use in their show, which actually resulted in the Youtube video being taken down for "containing content from FOX". Seth MacFarlane himself actually got involved in the incident and in a few days the video was restored, with Fox explaining that it was caused by "routine anti-piracy efforts."
  • The above was what caused Channel Awesome to start its own site and now many years later, when Allison Pregler and The Nostalgia Critic's reviews of The Room got pulled for this very reason, fans got pissed. The Critic responded to the legal threats by posting a video that was basically an entire episode's worth of Take Thats against the individuals responsible. Luckily, Doug Walker successfully defended the videos as Fair Use.
    • Ironically, when The Room review was pulled, it was possible to find it uploaded by other people on YouTube.
  • The Mysterious Mr. Enter was temporarily banned from YouTube in January 2015 due to a copyright claim by either Viacom or 20th Century Fox. He was posting a review of the show and it was under fair use, but those companies bypassed the fair use disclaimer, and shut down his account. He then filed a dispute and two weeks later, his channel went back up.
  • Many online scanlation sites have removed their archived scanlations because of attitude shifts from some publishers. In fact, quite a number of them have been shut down or censored due to publisher pressure.
  • Like many radio show hosts, Phil Hendrie allows website subscribers to download show episodes as podcasts. At some point, network lawyers decided that it was a copyright violation for podcasts to include music. This affected any skits that involved music, including his frequent parodies of Jim Rome's and Art Bell's shows that incorporated their respective "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Dancing Queen" theme songs, and his Running Gag of using the "Darth Vader Death March" as theme music for his fictional boss. The music in these cases was replaced by awkward silence, and if characters in Phil's comedy skits commented on the music, podcast listeners could not know what they were talking about.
  • Some flashes on Newgrounds are victims of this due to being based on copyrighted works, as Newgrounds has received cease-and-detest letters from companies such as The BBC (for a Teletubbies spoof called "Teletubby Fun Land", which has been eventually renamed to "Telebubby Fun Land"), The Jim Henson Company (for a Pico game parodying Bear in the Big Blue House), and MGM (for a RoboCop flash tribute made by a fan).
  • Drum Corps International pulled several pre-2000 finals performances from its Fan Network due to copyright issues involving composers of works performed during those shows. Affected composers include Leonard Bernstein, Chick Corea, Ottorino Respighi, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and John Williams. A few months later, DCI pulled the plug on the Fan Network altogether.
  • Team Four Star has a very interesting love-hate relationship with this trope and especially with Toei Animation. At least once a year, Toei will take down various episodes of Dragon Ball Z Abridged off of YouTube, which the team ends up having to fight to put back up (they can't do anything about the videos on their own site). There are rumors that Toei told Funimation to replace a portion from Dragon Ball Z Kai: The Final Chapters that was dubbed by TFS with the original dub audio and they've apparently been "graylisted" and can't actively work with Funimation for a while because of Toei, as Nick Landis revealed in a livestream. All this strikes single-handedly led to TFS forced to cancel their plans for the Majin Buu Saga after Season 3 has been concluded.
  • It's not uncommon for YouTube Poop to get hit with copyright claims. For instance:
    • All of Chickenpika's videos were taken down due to a copyright claim from a Troll posing as Michael Rosen. Chickenpika was able to successfully restore the videos after proving that Rosen did not actually make the claim.
    • cs188 said that he stopped making Poops of music videos because they kept getting hit with claims (such as a Poop of "Baby Got Back" that got hit the day it was uploaded). Also, in a non-copyright-related example, he took down "No one needs foundation repair", one of his most famous Poops, because of a privacy complaint from the foundation repair company whose commercial he used in it. As well, his own Michael Rosen Poops were taken down, presumably by the same impersonator who targeted Chickenpika.
    • Mark3611 had his original channel hacked, so he returned a few years later as "marck3611". That channel got hit with a copyright claim and hasn't been back since, thus meaning that some of his "later" Poops such as "The third wave of feminism" have not come back.
  • Gaia Online's relationship with It's more like Executive Meddling (as this apparently happened post new management), many users think of the site being taken down to be a result of this, as Gaia execs sent a C&D letter to the user, Tekton (the creator), despite the website having existed for as about as long as Gaia did and even having an Approval of God (the FAQs even and possibly still having a link to the website). According to what's been heard, the reason for the C&D was because of banner ads (one of which was an ad to Tekton's site, "").
  • In general, YouTube videos that feature copyrighted content tend to get taken down very easily, even if they fall under fair use, due to a combination of the automated Content ID system and how easy it is for parties to file false or misconstrued copyright claims against these videos.
  • Channel 101 had to cancel House of Cosbys because of a cease and desist from Bill Cosby's attorney.
  • Moshi Monsters had to take down its character Lady Goo Goo and her music video "The Moshi Dance" and scrap the next planned music video "Peppy-razzi" after Lady Gaga's lawyers won a lawsuit against them claiming people would get confused and think the character was endorsed by her.
  • A few videos from Channel Awesome were removed after direct threats by the rights holders: The Cinema Snob's review of Grizzly II (helps that the movie is unfinished), the Brows Held High episode on Crispin Glover's What Is It, and the only ones that got restored were the Obscurus Lupa and The Nostalgia Critic reviews of The Room (Doug Walker even retaliated by doing this).
    • On a related note, the tendency of The Nostalgia Critic and other shows which use copyrighted material under fair use to be taken down by YouTube's copyright system has become severe enough for Doug Walker to create the hashtag #WTFU (Where's the Fair Use?) in protest of this trope.
  • The Keep Circulating the Tapes page has a section of its description detailing the perils of music rights. Apparently, trailers on YouTube are having the same problem.
  • In one particularly eponymous case, Button's Adventures was taken down by a third party lawyer supposedly on behalf of Hasbro despite that they had no problem with any of the MLP characters used in fan properties that didn't damage the integrity (something that Buttons Adventures most certainly didn't.) Not only had the persons responsible since been fired, but talks were in order with JanAnimations (the creator) for a form of compensation.....but the talks didn't seem to work out.
  • MisterDavie, a YouTube-based animator who did the infamous "Smile HD" music video and the animated adaptation of "Cupcakes", had his works temporarily taken down. This was seen as a good thing by some of the MLP fandom who wasn't keen on his depiction of Pinkie Pie as a mass murderer.
  • One early episode of Red vs. Blue had to have the music on the Warthog changed for the DVD release because Rooster Teeth couldn't figure out who owned the music of the original version.
  • Achievement Hunter had a number of their Let's Plays stopped, started and stopped again due to Nintendo's ever-changing stance in using their material for Let's Plays.
  • Even The Angry Video Game Nerd wasn't immune to this.
    • James Rolfe changed the original show title The Angry Nintendo Nerd to The Angry Video Game Nerd to avoid getting into trouble with Nintendo. He took this opportunity to make it a Meaningful Rename, though, and started reviewing games from other consoles along with the NES and SNES games he'd been reviewing up to that point.
    • Rolfe was asked by New Line Cinema to take down his movie review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III from YouTube and GameTrailers, not because they were offended by his review or anything, but because the film clips in the video were used without their permission. It was also omitted from the Volume 2 set for this reason. Therefore, only ScrewAttack and his company Cinemassacre's website host the review. Rumor has it that this event led to the proposed Angry Movie Nerd side series getting scrapped. Rolfe later re-uploaded the review to YouTube and GameTrailers.
    • This also caused the removal of his reviews of Super Mario Bros. 3 (which featured clips from The Wizard) and the Sega Master System game adaptation of Rocky (which featured clips from the movies), due to angry letters from both NBCUniversal and MGM/UA, respectively, regarding the videos' use of movie clips, again without permission. Both episodes are back up, but at the request of the studios, all of the movie clips were removed. Ironically, the AVGN episode covering the Nintendo Entertainment System tie-in game of Back to the Future did not get into any legal wrangling despite using clips from said movie, also another NBCUniversal property.
  • Parodied in Caddicarus's review of the Video Game adaption of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Caddy starts singing "Thankful Heart" after he finds that the game is So Okay, It's Average (at least, compared to Santa Claus Saves the Earth). He's only 2 lines into the song before:
  • The web series Adult Wednesday Addams, focusing on a grown-up Wednesday Addams as she navigates twentysomething life in Los Angeles, got taken down after its creator Melissa Hunter received a cease-and-desist letter from Charles Addams' estate. Hunter laid out the situation here. Fortunately, some enterprising individuals have taken to reposting the series (no links, for obvious reasons).
  • Two videos from Death Battle have been hit with takedown notices. The first was the Sol Badguy vs. Ragna the Bloodedge due to fan art being used and the creator not being happy with what was being used for credit. The second was the remaster fight between Samus Aran and Boba Fett due to the Dance Party Ending using RWBY's "Shine". Both are back, but the Samus vs. Fett video has the music removed, sadly. note 
  • Mystery Science Theater F1 had to be posted outside of YouTube, because its episodes would get blocked immediately upon upload.
    • The same thing happens if you try uploading specific portions of or even entire episodes of Baby Einstein on the site.
  • This trope didn't kill The Film Crew outright (via Jim Mallon threatening to pull the MST3K license from Rhino Entertainment if they worked with the project), but it definitely made things more difficult; Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett eventually moved on to RiffTrax, which was much easier to produce.
    • Jim Mallon explained that the reason he didn't want Rhino producing The Film Crew, was they'd be spending money on b-movies for The Film Crew, when they could be using whatever money they had for b-movies shown on MST3K (MST3K only secured temporary rights to their movies while the show was on the air, and the rights have to be re-negotiated for DVDs. It's not easy, or cheap).
    • RiffTrax itself is essentially immune to this trope due to a variation of style, however: they don't release the movies in any form, they merely release tracks of the cast talking about the movies. Obviously, the original copyright holders don't have any claim over things people choose to say about their films. (There are some movies available as pre-synced tracks, but they fall into two categories: either films that are public domain [primarily shorts — one source for them are public domain archives], and B-movies that they can afford to buy the rights to.)
  • The Completionist was forced into a reboot when Jirard was given a request by his former partner Greg to remove all the videos that he was in, which numbered in the dozens. He decided to allow viewers to download the original videos until the start of September 2017 when he would remove them.
  • In February 2018, Google removed the "View Image" button (which links directly to the image) from its Image Search results as part of a new licensing agreement with Getty Images, arguing that the feature helped to induce copyright infringement by users. However, the right-click menu still works and allows direct linking and downloading of the images, thus allowing users to still indulge in said copyright infringement.
  • The Funday Pawpet Show cited issues with music licensing as one of the reasons for their decision to end the show initially, and was also the reason why they switched over to royalty-free/public domain music when they revived the show in September 2018.
  • Even The Wiki Rule is not safe from this trope; for months, the fanmade Wikia for PJ Masks was not allowed to have articles for the characters Armadylan and the Wolfy Kids, due to a copyright claim by Entertainment One back when these characters were about to make their debut on the show. What made this example even stranger was that A. Entertainment One apparently had no trouble with everything else that was on the wiki, and B. during the ban the Disney wiki note  did have articles on these characters, seemingly without receiving a similar copyright claim. The ban has since been lifted though.
  • Star Trek Continues was once hit with a copyright strike from YouTube. It was apparently filed by a third party, as current rights-holder CBS told YouTube to drop it and put the series back up. Vic Mignogna is quite proud of his good relationship with the company, which he attributed in an interview after Prelude to Axanar was infamously sued to 1) checking in with their legal department on a regular basis and 2) keeping firmly in mind that he's not supposed to be making money off of the web series.

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