VENTURA, Calif. - A copyright infringement lawsuit that might change the face of YouTube involves a man raised in Ventura.
Ethan Klein, who grew up in Ventura and graduated from Buena High School, is being sued by a fellow YouTube user for copyright infringement. The lawsuit against Klein has gone viral. In just a couple of days, his fight against the lawsuit has raised more than $160,000.
"Yes we are being sued for copyright infringement. It has been hanging over our heads like a cloud for the past few months," said Klein.
He and his wife Hila Klein are being sued by fellow YouTube user Matt Hosseinzadeh for copyright infringement.
Hosseinzadeh alleges that a reaction video the couple put on their H3H3 comedy YouTube sister channel mocking one of his videos improperly used his content and did not constitute fair use.
"It was a small video. No one really cared about the video too much, and I think the heart and soul of this is that he doesn't like that we made fun of him, and so he is suing us," Ethan Klein said.
The Kleins posted a video about their legal battle on YouTube. In the video they explained it could cost them $100,000 to fight the lawsuit in court. The news didn't sit well with other YouTube artists. They gathered together and started a GoFundMe page to help the Kleins pay their legal fees and to ultimately protect the right to fair use online.
"It's been crazy and most of all we have received such an overwhelming amount of support that it has completely blown us away," Ethan Klein said..
The overwhelming support will more than finance the Kleins' legal battle. They say they will not be keeping the extra money; instead it will be used to help other YouTube users in similar situations.
"It is going straight from Philly D's campaign into an escrow account for the sole purpose of protecting fair use and we will be it's first client," said Klein. It could be over a year before a judge makes a decision in the case.
NewsChannel 3 also reached out to Hosseinzadeh through his online contact page regarding the lawsuit he filed against H3H3. We have yet to receive a response.