Vital fair use copyright defense lands – thanks to warring YouTubers

Using someone else's material in your reaction vid is A-OK, says NYC judge

The law

Not that the judge was entirely in the Kleins' favor. She schooled them about copyright law, pointing out that fair use considers what proportion of the copyrighted work the infringing work uses, not how much of it is included in the overall reaction video. In other words, the amount of the Bold Guy video that appeared in their video, regardless of how long their own video is.

The judge also agreed with Hosseinzadeh that the video was not documentary-style, real-life content since it was clearly scripted and acted (the Kleins claimed otherwise because it strengthened their fair use argument.)

The critical factor was that "without using actual clips, the commentary and critique here would lose context and utility."

And the judge noted that the Kleins' video in no way provided a "market substitute" for the Hoss video, since the Kleins' video provided a "very different experience" in that it was interspersed with commentary and the Hoss clips did not run seamlessly.

The judge then discussed and threw out the defamation claims, noting that Ethan Klein's statement: "I think that the heart and soul of this is ... he doesn't like that we made fun of him, and so he's suing us" was "a quintessential statement of pure opinion."

The Kleins are, naturally, delighted and celebrated by reuploading their original video mocking Hoss.

Hosseinzadeh, presumably, is less delighted. Despite promising to keep his 170,000 subscribers updated on the case as it progresses, no video has been released on his MattHossZone YouTube channel. We'll keep you updated if this goes to appeal. ®


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