On November 22nd, Richard C. Meyers uploaded a video to his YouTube channel, Diversity & Comics, explaining that his channel was being targeted for DMCA strikes by comic book creators who have vocally expressed their dislike for both ComicsGate and Meyers himself:

According to Meyers, Kwanza Osajyefo was the first to issue a DMCA strike against Meyers’ channel. This was due to Meyers showing of interiors from Osajyefo’s upcoming title BLACK AF, which at the time was not publicly released yet. Meyers accepted his fault, took down the video, and allowed the DMCA strike to remain against his channel.

The second strike against his channel came from Magdalene Visaggio (Eternity Girl) as she issued a strike against a one-year old video that Meyers had uploaded entitled “Comic Book Hangout.” In the video, Meyers allegedly discussed one of Visaggio’s books (as the video has since been taken down, BiC is unable to independently verify which book Meyers was discussing). The video had since been taken down, but the DMCA strike remained.

YouTube uses a copyright policing system based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As such, when YouTube identifies a DMCA violation, it will issue a warning and takedown notice to the channel owner of the offending content, adding a ‘strike’ to a channel. If three strikes are issued, a user’s channel and library of videos are deleted, as well as a ban on the user from creating a new YouTube channel.

Thankfully for creators, DMCA strikes can be resolved in three ways: the user who reported the DMCA strike can retract the claim, the offending user can issue a counter-notification and explain to YouTube why their channel was unjustly struck, or by waiting 90 days for the strike to expire (on the condition that the user also complete ‘Copyright School’ through YouTube’s website).

In an attempt to save his channel, Meyers utilized the second option and issued a counter-notification to YouTube explaining that he did not violate copyright laws because of the Fair Use doctrine. According to Stanford University, the definition of fair use is as follows:

“In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner.”

Meyers’ assertion was that, because he was criticizing and commenting upon these works rather than just blatantly selling or distributing the copyrighted material, his channel was being struck with false DMCA claims.

A few days later on November 26th, it was revealed that YouTube had reviewed Meyers’ DMCA strikes and agreed that they were unjustly issued. Both strikes were removed, and Meyers’ channel no longer has any DMCA strikes on record.

Copyright law exists to promote progress by ensuring that a creator’s work cannot be stolen, used to make a profit, or to cheapen the original product. It does not exist to protect an artist from criticism or parody, as evidenced by the continual existence of such outlets as RedLetterMedia, CinemaSins, and even the songs of “Weird Al” Yankovic. One may not be happy with someone’s reviews, comments, or even insults, but these laws do not exist to protect feelings. They exist to ensure that people such as Meyer can continue to freely discuss and critique without fear of legal repercussions.

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