YouTube creator DJ Short-E is now suing the company in a highly unusual move.
The lawsuit alleges copyright strike retaliation and accuses YouTube failing to process copyright claims. In terms of damages, DJ Short-E — real name Erik Mishiyev — has filed a lawsuit against YouTube for lost earnings.
The complaint was filed in a California federal court on Wednesday. SJ Short-E describes himself as a well-known journalist and DJ who publishes original music and DJ mixes.
Since 2007, DJ Short-E says he has run two YouTube channels. These channels were monetized according to YouTube’s policies, and he had over 110 million views. Over five years, YouTube paid DJ Short-E $310,000 for his content.
DJ Short-E says he began receiving copyright claims on his highest advertisement revenue videos in 2016. He responded to the complaints with counter-claims to avoid YouTube’s three-strikes process. All three counter-claims were won, and his monetization rights were reinstated.
In 2017, DJ Short-E received a Silver Creator Award from YouTube for reaching 100,000 subscribers.
Despite the celebration, the content creator says he felt like his views remained low. His subscriber count was growing around 4,000 subs a month, but his revenue was not going up. The lawsuit notes that DJ Short-E asked YouTube to verify that they were distributing his new videos to subscribers.
“Plaintiff was concerned about this suspicious activity and sought confirmation numerous times from YOUTUBE that they were truly distributing his new videos to his fans and subscribers, but YOUTUBE failed to provide such confirmation, stating ‘They could not share this information’ with him.”
Subscribers reported they hadn’t received notifications when Short-E released new content. Accordingly, DJ Short-E is suing YouTube for their failure to promote his content. When he informed the platform that he would be filing a lawsuit, YouTube terminated his accounts.
In January 2018, YouTube reportedly blocked all access to DJ Short-E’s videos.
They all featured a notice saying that they were unavailable due to copyright claims. YouTube then added strikes against his account which he believes were in response to the threatened lawsuit.
“Although YOUTUBE stated they removed his channels and videos for copyright claims, the removals appeared to Plaintiff to be in retaliation for his placing them on notice that he would be filing a lawsuit.”
DJ Short-E says he lost $90,000 in revenue this year. He says YouTube’s actions against him have caused damages of up to $720,000. He is seeking compensation in full by suing YouTube for breach of contract, interference with contractual relations, and interference and negligent interference.
The lawsuit also demands an injunction against YouTube, one that would prevent YouTube from banning DJ Short-E from its services. You can see the full lawsuit here.