A famous Taiwan video blogger known for his “Honest Trailer”-esque videos is being taken to court by three film distributors for violating the copyright of their films.
Video streaming service KKTV, Deltamac and Autoai have filed a suit against AmoGood (谷阿莫) in a Taipei court for illegally obtaining copyrighted materials for six of his popular “X-minute summary” videos, including Brain Fluid Explosion Girl (脳漿炸裂ガール), The Imitation Game and Korean drama W. The videos condense a film, television series or video game into a five to ten-minute clips with AmoGood providing a snarky summary of the stories.
AmoGood (real name Chung Wei-ting) is one of the Greater China region’s most influential pop culture video bloggers. His four Youtube channels have a combined one million-plus subscribers and his Facebook page has over 2.3 million likes.
However, AmoGood has also been a controversial figure in the film community and among film buffs. Many complain that his commentaries misrepresent the films he criticizes as well as his use of pirated materials for his own commercial gain.
After consulting his lawyer, AmoGood has posted a response to the charges on his channel, arguing that his videos should fall under fair use, which permits the use of copyrighted materials without acquiring permission from rights holders if the material is use for commentary, criticism, parody, news reporting, research and scholarship. He also argues that his videos don’t fall under copyright violation since he doesn’t charge any money for his videos and that he only uses a small portion of the films to produce his videos. He added Youtube recently sent him a letter endorsing his channel as fair use after the streaming service repeatedly shut it down for repeated copyright violations.
However, netizens have pointed out that AmoGood’s Youtube videos include ads, which would earn him a sizeable revenue thanks to the high hit rate. Director Yee Chin-yen also pointed out in a Facebook post that copyright violation isn’t dependent on how much of the copyright material he used for the offending video, but rather how much of the offending video is made up of copyrighted material. In AmoGood’s case, 100% of his “X-minute video summaries” are made up of copyright material.
Amogood’s response has raised an internet debate over whether AmoGood’s videos count as derivative works in the sense that they’re parodies or commentaries. However, internet comments point out that this shouldn’t be under debate since the lawsuit is about whether he used illegally obtained copyrighted works. While AmoGood maintains that he obtained the videos legally, this is something that he will likely have to prove in court.
A day after news of his video response, he posted a new film commentary video for Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy.
Chung is also the founder of social media consultancy company Knowledge Candy.
P.S.: The above image from AmoGood’s video response to the lawsuit would be protected under fair use as news reporting.