YouTuber and anime reviewer Totally Not Mark announced on Jan 26, 2022, that all 150 Toei Animation copyright lawsuits against his videos had been withdrawn after YouTube ruled in his favor on all copyright allegations. In his video, he also revealed that this incident influenced the platform to create a new copyright rule for content creators.
In his video he explained, the new YouTube rule provides for flexibility in international copyright rules, allowing creators to avoid outright bans or takedowns by allowing videos to be taken down in one country but left up in another.
In reality, this means that videos in countries with larger “fair use” provisions, such as the United States, are more likely to remain online. In this case, if Toei Animation wants to block the videos in the rest of the world, it will have to win a fair-use case in a non-Japanese court.
In early December, Totally Not Mark revealed that he was the subject of 150 copyright claims on his channel, all of them filed manually by Japanese animation studio Toei Animation.
In the recent video, he revealed that a YouTube staff member contacted him immediately the next day on Dec 12, 2021, to help him.
According to the YouTuber, Toei Animation submitted YouTube direct takedown notices for all 150 videos, which may result in the content being removed from his channel instantly, as well as strikes that would result in his channel being shut down completely.
YouTube apparently responded to those notices, requesting clarification from Toei on whether or not fair use was considered, as well as more justification from Toei.
Totally Not Mark claimed in his video: “In response to this, Toei broke YouTube’s policy, and instead of responding with a justification for their takedown notices per YouTubes request, they instead used their own tools behind YouTube’s back to manually claim and block every one of the 150 videos in my catalog of my content. So in short, Toei explicitly broke the rules in this instance. It is important to point out that had Toei provided an argument that the videos were infringing under Japanese law, YouTube would likely have honored their removal, removed the videos worldwide, and potentially struck out my channel.”
He continued: “In this instance, Toei broke the rules of YouTubes copyright policy, which made every single one of those copyright claims and blocks filed against me, null and void.”
Totally Not Mark aka Mark Fitzpatrick told Kotaku, “It’s certainly reassuring. But with fair use so ill-respected in so many territories, and YouTube creators with no control over where their content will be shared once they upload there’s certainly a long way to go.”