YouTube Creator Lindsay Ellis Receives a Universal Music Copyright Claim, Loses Her Audible Sponsorship

  • Save

  • Save
Photo Credit: Lindsay Ellis

Film critic and YouTuber Lindsay Ellis is fighting against a copyright strike filed by Universal Music Group. She says her use of the song in question falls under ‘fair use’.

Universal Music Group’s copyright claim was filed against Ellis’ video, ‘Woke Disney.’ A clip of the song, “Song of the Roustabouts,” appears in the video.  The claim now directs any advertising revenue to UMG.  That system is supposed to allow creators to leave a video up while revenue goes to the right entity.

The problem, in this case, is that Ellis’ video wasn’t running ads in the first place. The video contains a sponsorship spot with Audible, which requires other advertising to be disabled. When YouTube allowed UMG to put ads on the video, it put Ellis in violation of her contract with Audible.

  • Save

Ellis’ deal with Audible isn’t out of the ordinary. Many sponsorships on YouTube don’t feature advertising other than the sponsor. Audible even reached out to Ellis to ask why her video now had ads on it.

The video in question is critiquing a song from the Disney film ‘Dumbo’ ⁠— breaking down lyrics and historical stereotypes. Ellis argues that the video is protected under “fair use.” Fair use means you don’t need permission from copyright holders for criticisms, instruction or parodies of any work.

“It was such a clear-cut case of fair use, which YouTube claims to care about and to uphold, but functionally they do not.”

YouTube says the copyright claim is ‘valid.’ But that doesn’t take fair use of copyrighted works into account. Instead, it is determined by software detecting the use of copyrighted material in the first place. YouTube says it’s up to Ellis and UMG to resolve the ‘fair use’ aspect of the dispute.

That policy favors the copyright holder rather than the content creator. It also puts other contracts in jeopardy for creators when ads can be disabled/enabled at a whim.

2 Responses

  1. Nocturne

    Well “Fair Use” its only a DIRECTIVE – its NOT a shield from a Copyright LAW.

    Only a Judge can determine and rule on Fair Use case – a corporation or an individual has NO say in that matter.

    Unfortunately taking case to court is only thing she can do now.
    I have not seen the video in question but if she feels so strong about the case – there are non profit lawfirms that can help her.

    *individuals tend to be completely misinformed/ignorant on any Copyright LAW related matter.

    Copyright Owners inaction when it comes infringement is what usually fuels that.

    “Oh look i/he got away with using that copyright protected material- it must be “Fair Use” then…..”

  2. Dance In The Ashes You Are Now Free

    Lets Call A Thing A Thing
    Universal is mad the song got a bad review
    Your songs sucks
    Your movie sucked
    And in a real world, not this padded room world these companies exist in
    All would have been out of a job or demoted due to the EPIC FAILURE DUMBO IS!
    And not a peep would be made in hopes this review blew over and Disney and Universal would correct this FAILURE with a new project
    Streisand Effect strikes again
    Now everyone is talking about it
    HA HA HA