After I posted my video last week about Bill Maher “adulting” Stan Lee, comic book, and superhero fans, a friend asked if I was worried that Bill Maher or HBO would copy strike my video.
I told him I was not.
My video was fair use under the copyright law because I took five short clips from Bill Mayer’s video to provide context and added my own commentary. If Bill Maher did not want the renewed attention, he should not have doubled down on a controversial blog that he posted just days after Stan Lee’s death and made his video just days before a Stan Lee’s tribute in Hollywood.
Why do I bring this up now?
Vox Media, the parent company of The Verge, brought renewed attention to their terrible PC build guide video from five months ago by copyright striking two popular reaction videos from Bitwit and ReviewTechUSA. Although YouTube removed the copy strikes from the videos, The Verge’s justification for “adulting” the tech community was much worse than copy striking the videos in the first place.
The Verge PC Guide
The Verge posted a sponsored video by Capital One on how to build a $2,000 gaming PC in September 2018, which contained so many errors and blunders that most experienced PC builders thought or hoped that it was a parody video on how NOT to build a PC. Paul at Paul’s Hardware goes into much greater detail about what happened then and the copy strike earlier this week.
As a serious video making serious mistakes that could ruin $2,000 in parts for the beginner learning how to build a PC, the video was a serious problem for the tech community. A ton of reaction videos criticized or parodied the build video for two weeks straight.
The Verge initially turned off the comments and hid the like/dislike counts on the video, later took down the video and corrected their published article, and then complained about a “racist harassment campaign” from Internet trolls.
Except for the running joke about plastic zip ties being tweezers, the build video was long forgotten by the tech community.
The most popular reaction video to The Verge’s build guide was by Kyle at Bitwit, playing his alter ego, Lyle, who knows everything and nothing about building PCs.
Lyle reminded me of a roommate from 15 years ago who bought all the parts to build a Pentium 4 PC, had a popular build guide from a gaming magazine to follow, and did not want my help in building his PC. Never mind that I had ten years of experience of building and rebuilding hundreds of PCs at that time in my technical career.
My roommate built his PC, turned it on, and nothing happened.
Since he lacked the experience to troubleshoot his newly built system and the humility to ask for help, he started dismantling his PC to return the parts to Fry’s Electronics. I could sympathize with his situation because that happened to my first PC build with a 486 processor, except I had no build guide to follow and no one to ask for help.
He asked me if the processor was supposed to stick to the bottom of the heat sink. I saw that the processor was indeed sticking to the thermal paste on the bottom of the heatsink. I told him that he had skipped a step in the build guide for properly seating and locking down the processor in the socket. After he fixed that problem, his PC booted up just fine.
Not surprisingly, he bragged about how he built that PC all by himself and he was an expert PC builder.
The Verge’s statement didn’t take responsibility for putting out a bad build video, hiding behind accusations of racism, and abusing YouTube’s horrendously broken copyright system. Like Bill Maher who doubled down on Stan Lee, The Verge doubled down by #adulting the tech community.
The Verge was the adult, the tech community was the child. This entire situation could have been avoided if the child had talk to the adult first and not shouted from the virtual rooftops that the adult was a clueless idiot.
As Boogie 2988 pointed out, the fair use provision of the copyright law doesn’t require someone to get copyright holder’s permission to create content. Rich at ReviewTechUSA pointed out that the two copy strikes were probably trial balloons to see if the removals would stick before going after all the other reaction videos.
The Verge and VOX Media has yet another PR disaster of their own making.
This was not the topic I wanted to discuss this week. I just got the parts to replace my motherboard, processor and memory in my editing and video game PC. I was looking at various AMD Ryzen build guides on YouTube when the copyright strikes came down. I will be putting out a video or two about my new parts soon. I just need to find my bag of tweezers.