h3h3Productions – a YouTube channel with 1.4 million subscribers – is being sued over using content that wasn’t theirs in a video, which they believed qualified under YouTube’s fair use policy.

Ethan and Hila Klein, owners and operators of h3h3Productions are being sued by Matt Hosseinzadeh (also known as Matt Hoss or “Bold Guy”) over a reaction video they created and posted on their secondary channel. The video, which has since been removed, runs for 14 minutes and features about three minutes of footage from one of Hosseinzadeh’s videos.

To help cover legal fees, fellow content creator Philip DeFranco began a GoFundMe campaign. It was started 15 hours ago with a goal of $95 000 (R1.47 million), and has already reached $93 467 (R1.45 million) at the time of writing.

If this all seems extremely strange to you, check out the video below where the Kleins explain the situation.

As the Kleins say, it will be left to a jury to decide the fate of two people’s careers.  But they also pointed out that if they agreed to the settlement proposed by Hosseinzadeh’s lawyer of $4 000, it would create a precedent that would allow anyone else who’s made fun of in a reaction video to sue other content creators, and that’s unacceptable too them.

They estimate the proceedings to take two years and cost upwards of $100 000 (R1.5 million). Luckily, the GoFundMe campaign should help with that.

Finally, for closure, below is the video which has caused this entire mess. While it has been removed by the Kleins, an unaffiliated channel has picked it up and reuploaded. While that in itself falls into a somewhat grey area, legally speaking, it does help add more context to the story.

Watch the video below and decide for yourself: did h3h3Productions tread over any copyright boundaries, or were they clearly within the realms of fair use?

The Kleins, meanwhile, will have to wait for the court to decide before the verdict is final either way.