I’ve been wanting to talk about this ever since I first learned about it last week. And yesterday, I had a good reason to do so.
For those not in the know, a recent trend among Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube users has had people voicing their outrage over unwarranted copyright strikes by spreading the news about victimized channels who have lost their monetization rights or have lost their channel entirely with the hashtag #WTFU.
No, that’s not the college dedicated to teaching people how to call out stupidity that I’m trying to establish. WTFU is short for “Where’s the Fair Use;” fair use being a caveat of copyright law that allows the use of short clips of copyrighted material for the purposes of criticism, education, news, and parody/satire.
However, many people have had their content removed, many times with no warning, despite being well within the protective rights of fair use. The proliferation of #WTFU was started by Doug Walker; aka, The Nostalgia Critic after he and his friends/co-workers at Channel Awesome had a strike file against them that cost them monetization rights and the ability to upload videos over 10 minutes long.
Walker’s incident is not isolated. Many other channels have suffered similar fates including I Hate Everything, H3H3, and – just yesterday at the time of posting this – Team Four Star among others.
Now, I like the idea of a United YouTube Entertainers Guild (I’ll work on the name) dedicated to protecting innocent producers. However, I feel that #WTFU supporters should take it upon themselves to go further. While protecting the innocent, we should be actively punishing the guilty.
What do I mean? Well, YouTube has a laundry list of standards of practice that they demand that anyone uploading footage. If we really want to make this a better place for entertainers we should be proving that by calling out the people you violate those standards while ALSO protecting those that play by the rules.
For instance, why is it that YouTube says is against sexually explicit content, but allows channels like Prank Invasion to objectify women by groping their asses so hard you could almost see up her pooper if they weren’t in bikinis?
Why do they attack people protected under fair use when sub-par ‘reaction’ channels Like Jinx are allow to upload full videos unedited with almost no actual substantial commentary?
Why do they tell us to not use hateful speech or threats, but extremist lunatics like Josh Feuerstein can insult and belittle Non-Christians and gays while waving his gun on camera and preaching about a “Christian Holocaust?” (Please note that I’m not linking to any examples of the above-mentioned people’s work because the worst thing I could do to dignify them is to increase their view count)
If we really want to improve modern media, then #WTFU can only be the start. We need to let YouTube know that we want good people to be left alone while pointing them in the direction of the real threats to good taste and basic human decency.
To that end, I encourage you to start a similar trend I call, “How Are You On YouTube?” Every time you see someone violating the YouTube standards without any consequence, flag the video and share a link to the offending channel via Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #HAYOYT to encourage others to do the same.