TWO YouTube stars are being told they need to pay $6,000 (£4,600) or their channel might be completely deleted as they’re accused of infringing copyright.
MxR and Potastic Panda are well known for their reaction videos but a media company is now trying to charge them for using some of its content.
This has sparked online debate about whether the YouTubers should pay up or whether their use of short clips of content they don’t own was fair.
YouTube’s copyright system has also come under scrutiny.
YouTube hands out strikes to channels if a copyright owner notifies them of copyright infringement.
If a channel receives three strikes then it may be “subject to termination”.
MxR and Potastic Panda host a YouTube channel called MxR Plays.
This features them reacting to things like new memes, music videos, video games and more.
It has 840,000 subscribers but MxR has a personal channel with over two million.
A company called Junkin Media has sent the couple a $6,000 bill and MxR has taken to YouTube and Twitter to complain.
MxR said in a YouTube video: “Today we got hit with a huge bill of $6,000. I think it’s because in the past we’ve paid them about $2,000 (£1,500).
“If you don’t pay they’ll start striking your channel – they’ll basically remove our channel if we don’t pay them.”
He went on to say that he and his partner do “very thorough search” before they use content but that it isn’t always easy to find this information.
He said: “Sometimes they are videos where it’s just a cat,” he said, “and there’s really nothing you can search for.
“You end up having to search through 40 pages of videos and sometimes you miss one of them. If they treat every YouTuber like this, thousands of channels will be deleted.”
Junkin Media owns four videos that MxR and Potastic Panda reviewed and is charging them.
It said in a statement: “As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, you can completely avoid any issues related to copyright by simply licensing videos on our website.
“In effect, you’re taking other peoples’ videos without asking them, then posting them to your channel and making money off of them.
“We never want to issue copyright strikes – we have a duty to do so to protect the copyright of the creators who have signed with us.”
Copyright lawyer Leonard J. French told the BBC: “It’s very possible that MxR Plays are not making a fair use.
“But I and my fellow attorneys don’t actually know how a judge or jury would find if this went to a trial because fair use is such an in-depth analysis.
“It’s right on the line. Did this channel make enough additional commentary or criticism to overcome the hurdles to fair use, or did they just republish the original material without adding enough transformative content to make it a new material?
“That’s the difference between no damages and massive damages with nothing in between.”
French also made the point that the YouTubers could risk being fined a lot more if they take this case to court.
For now it is unclear whether the YouTube stars plan to pay up or continue fighting their case about YouTube’s copyright rules.
We have reached out to them for comment.
Forbes YouTube rich list 2019
Here’s the 10 highest earning stars…
Ryan Kaji $26m (£19.8million)
Dude Perfect $20m (£15.3million)
Nastya $18m (£13.8million)
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Jeffree Star $17m (£13million)
Preston Arsement $14m (£10.7million)
PewDiePie $13m (£9.9million)
Markiplier $13m (£9.9million)
Daniel Middleton $12m (£9.2million)
Evan Fong $11.5m (£8.8million)
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Do you think it’s fair that the YouTube stars are facing a fine and potential ban? Let us know in the comments…
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