Vox Media filed copyright violations and YouTube strikes against reaction videos made at their expense

Business / Editorial / Tech

Vox Media, formerly known as SportsBlogs Inc, is a mega-digital media company founded in 2005.

Vox Media, formerly known as SportsBlogs Inc, is a mega-digital media company founded in 2005. Vox Media owns websites such as SB Nation, Polygon, Curbed, Vox, Eater, Recode, and The Verge. Back in 2012, the company was valued at US$140 million. In August 2015 NBCUniversal made a US$200 million equity investment which now values the company at US$1 billion.

So as you can see, Vox Media has a pretty deep purse and deep corporate influence to pull from. That’s exactly what the company did to protect one of its properties, The Verge. I was hesitant to cover this story for a variety of reasons. But seeing that not a whole lot of mainstream technology websites are covering it, I thought we should join some of the smaller websites like us that are.

Here’s how the story goes. Last year, The Verge made a video on how to build a gaming PC. As with most Verge videos, the camera work, lighting, and overall look of the piece was great. They have the money to fund such things. But there was a major flaw in the video, which many PC geeks pointed out en masse.

The person building the PC made several technical and mechanical errors that no PC builder in their right mind would make. Basically, the PC build was bad and YouTubers made sure they noted this. Reaction and parody videos started popping up. The Verge received tons of dislikes and negative comments on the video prompting them to close comments and remove the ability to dislike or like.

Finally, the video was removed but not before it was already floating around for others to continue to make reaction and parody videos of it. Apparently, Vox Media (parent company of The Verge) had enough and began filing copyright claims with YouTube against several YouTubers.

We first heard of this story from a Twitter post from YouTube account Bitwit. To be honest, I had never even seen The Verge PC build until today nor had I ever heard of Bitwit. But I digress. Bitwit made a video entitled LYLE REACTS TO THE VERGE’s PC BUILD VIDEO. You can now watch it below, because Bitwit challenged the copyright strike against them, and won.

It seems Bitwit’s video, as well as others, are not in violation of copyright at all and Vox Media was simply trying to save face for its The Verge property. Some have criticized Vox Media and The Verge for this, pointing out an article the site published days before filing their claim. The article, entitled, “YouTuber’s copyright strikes have become a tool for extortion,” talks about how scammers are threatening to shut down channels unless they pay.

In the end, Bitwit has prevailed and other channels are waiting for YouTube to make a decision on the claims filed against them. As of now, I haven’t seen a statement or comment from Vox Media or The Verge on the incident. I honestly think that had Vox Media and The Verge just left well enough alone, this would have faded away. I mean, I hadn’t even seen or heard of the video until now and it is pretty awful.

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