I haven’t covered Smosh — Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla — that much because I think everyone already knows them. They are the No.1 most subscribed channel on YouTube, and every video they produce gets over at least 1 million views. They consistently produce funny, off-the-wall videos. (Yet mysteriously they are not a part of YouTube’s partner program, it appears.) They are the best channel on YouTube. The competition is not even close.
News: YouTube apparently has given the Smosh boys (Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox) back the 24 million views that were erased from their overall view count after YouTube removed Smosh’s most popular video involving a Pokemon lip synch (notwithstanding a strong parody fair use defense for Smosh). The video was removed after the copyright holder to Pokemon sent YouTube a DMCA notice.
The other big news is that Lonelygirl15 just got passed by Fueled by Ramen, an independent label.
News: Last week, I reported that YouTube removed Smosh‘s mega-popular Pokemon video after receiving a DMCA notice (for copyright infringement), notwithstanding a strong parody fair use claim for Smosh. Under the DMCA, a website has a greater chance of staying within the safe harbor (and avoiding copyright liability) if it expeditiously removes content identified by a copyright holder in a DMCA notice.
One of the fallouts of the take down is that Smosh lost over 24 million views to its tally, placing it back closer to lonelygirl15 — 56 million to 52 million. If you are not aware, Smosh and lonelygirl15 are No. 1 and No. 2 in total views on YouTube for amateur productions.
News: YouTube has removed Smosh’s mega-popular “Pokemon” video after receiving a copyright DMCA notice from Shogakukan Production Co. Ltd. The Pokemon video was the 4th most watched video ever on YouTube, with over 24 million views. To my knowledge, this is the most popular video ever removed by YouTube under a DMCA notice. By the way, if you don’t know who “Smosh” is, it’s a pair of 20-year-olds Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox. They are the No. 1 Most Subcribed Director on YouTube, and they have the Most Views All-Time on YouTube of any amateur or user-generated content. Smosh, in other words, is the top of the heap at YouTube.
Analysis: This is a close, perhaps questionable, call. The Smosh boys did use the “Pokemon” theme song for their video, but they seemed to me to be parodying the whole Pokemon character, with a pretty over-the-top lip synch and use of Pokemon stuffed animals.
A parody fair use is permitted under copyright law, the only question is whether too much of the copyrighted work is taken. Unfortunately, that question is determined on a case-by-case basis. And, in this case, YouTube appears not willing to risk falling outside the DMCA safe harbor, so it chose to follow the more expedient path under the DMCA of taking down the video.
If you want to see if the video should be considered a parody fair use, I believe a version is still up on Veoh and probably elsewhere on the Internet.