In many instances, uploading infringing material to YouTube can go completely unpunished but choose content that is closely monitored (such as music), suspensions and even account closures can be the end result.
And as some individuals are now learning, there are bigger pitfalls too.
Triller Sending a Clear Message to Boxing Pirates
As widely publicized, for the past couple of months Triller has been filing lawsuit after lawsuit against people who allegedly copied, streamed, or otherwise distributed the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren PPV fight without permission. The litigation hasn’t always gone smoothly but Triller seems undeterred.
In addition to filing lawsuits against ‘pirate’ streaming sites and their operators, Triller has cast its legal net to encompass a growing number of YouTubers who uploaded the fight to their personal channels.
Triller Files Yet Another Lawsuit Against a YouTuber
In a California court yesterday, Triller named Arvin De La Santos as the main defendant in yet another lawsuit. According to the company, Santos is the operator of the YouTube channel YourEXTRA, which describes itself as specializing in “opinions and views” on trending news plus “drama related topics”.
The channel has 113,000+ subscribers and since 2017 has racked up 14 million+ views. As far as we can see the Jake Paul fight isn’t currently listed, which supports Triller’s claims that it filed a complaint with YouTube to have it taken down. Nevertheless, the fight was uploaded in breach of Triller’s rights, the company argues, and YourEXTRA won’t be able to rely on a ‘fair use’ defense either.
“Upon information and belief, Defendants, and each of them, unlawfully uploaded, distributed and publicly displayed, without authorization, and with no supplemental commentary or other attempt at transformation, the Broadcast to the users of the YouTube Channel,” the complaint reads.
“Defendants’ calculated and reprehensible infringement, theft, and other unlawful acts — committed in knowing violation of the law — has resulted in damages suffered by Plaintiff by stealing and diverting unique viewers of the illegal and unauthorized viewings of the Broadcast from Plaintiff.”
The allegations against Santos and YourEXTRA are broadly the same as those listed in a lawsuit filed against Matthew Space, the alleged owner of the ‘Eclipt Gaming’ channel. Triller describes YourEXTRA as a business entity and ‘alter ego’ of Santos, which he set up to avoid liability to Triller. Given that the channel was founded well over three years before the fight took place, that may raise questions in court.
The claims for damages are broadly similar too, with Triller demanding compensation for copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement (Triller says Santos profited from the fight) in an amount to be determined at trial, plus $110,000 for each violation of the Federal Communications Act. Triller doesn’t say how many times the fight was streamed by users of YouTube but it probably won’t be hard to find out.
YouTube is A Bad Place to Upload Pirated Content
With the most recognizable branding on the Internet and traffic to match, YouTube is a great place to upload videos when people own the necessary copyrights. However, those who upload infringing content (and are unlucky enough to find themselves targeted in a lawsuit) might soon find out that a pirate site would’ve been a much safer option.
At some point, Triller is likely to ask the court to compel YouTube/Google to hand over information about users including Santos and Space. Presuming that goes ahead, there will be no shortage of data to disclose. Quite simply, YouTube has all the information that Triller needs to demand possibly millions in damages, data that pirate sites either wouldn’t collect in the first place or would likely refuse to hand over.
All of that being said, Triller doesn’t mind pushing ahead with a lawsuit even when evidence of infringement is thin or non-existent. As previously reported, the company is currently suing an Instagram user for watching the fight, based purely on his online confession that he didn’t pay for the privilege.
Santos/YourEXTRA has been approached for comment.
Triller’s complaint filed against Santos and YourEXTRA can be found here (pdf)