Yesterday youtuber MxR posted a video about them being extorted by a company called Jukin Media. As a result this has sparked quite a stir in the community and several prominent youtubers and influencers have sided with MxR against Jukin Media and it's despicable methods. YouTube is also getting it's fair share of critique for becoming a breeding ground for extortion of this type.
Henry Liang and Jeannie Lee who run the YouTube channel MxR Plays where they do reaction videos have received some questionable charges from a company called Jukin Media. This company seem to be one of the morally questionable copyright extortion companies that use threats and scare tactics to bully people to give them money for dubious claims of copyright infringements.
According to Henry and Jeannie they have tried to work with Jukin Media in the past by paying $2000 and working hard to try to avoid stepping on Jukin Media's toes. Considering that Jukin Media deal with small viral videos that are near impossible to find in their library as they are poorly tagged that seem almost impossible to avoid.
What happened is that Henry and Jeannie got contacted by Jukin media about a few clips in their video. This is nothing strange and regardless if you want to discuss if this is a legal issue or if it falls under fair use that is not what the Internet have reacted to. What people react to is the way Jukin Media acted when making this claim.
Many users online have reacted to the crude and threatening communication by Jukin Media that is in many way presented the same way criminal organizations ask for protection money or your store will be burned down. Like most other companies that "ambulance chase" targets for their extortion Jukin Media ask for compensation that is 30 times higher than the license fee of $49. For 4 clips that means that Henry and Jeannie got slapped with a bill of $6000 and a threat that Jukin Media will strike their channel.
Jukin Media really stepped into a hornets nest with their poor communication and tactics to protect their copyrighted material. Not only did they fail in working with MxR to find a mutually beneficial collaboration, they open themselves up for a counter lawsuit for extortion. On top of that they also have a PR nightmare on their hand, even if they do not seem to care about that based on their previous track record.
When dealing with these claims you should really need to look at what the law say before deciding what to do next. While Henry and Jeannie can take this to court it is a bit of a gamble due to the erosion of the law when it comes to copyright and fair use. The cost would also be far higher for them as this would play out in a country where the legal and financial protection for individuals are weak. Jukin Media know this of course and that is why they abuse the fear of being taken to court to extort people like Henry and Jeannie.
There are many examples of companies that use this tactic for abusing the way copyright is handled legally and it really stain the good about copyright protection. Weak and uneducated governments get bullied into making legal compromises by powerful media organizations to the point where this behavior is no longer the trademark of criminal organizations, but ethically compromised corporations.
I think Henry and Jeannie will land on their feet and find a solution together with Junkin Media. Henry and Jeannie have the support of so many influencers online so I think Jukin Media see that benefit of playing nice in this situation. Unfortunately Henry and Jeannie are not the only ones hit by this kind of behavior and with the degradation of YouTube towards it's content creators in the last years this will only be more common.
It's sad and I do not see any changes to the copyright situation anytime soon...