Court awards $20 million in YouTube channel dispute

Fighting over control of a video feed can prove costly.

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Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

YouTube channels can be tremendous things when everything goes according to plan, but things can get really, truly ugly when their creators disagree with each other. Brandon Keating and David "Ty" Moss have won both a $20 million award and controlling interest in a YouTube channel (VideoGames) after suing their former partners in the project, Brian Martin and Marko Princip. Allegedly, Martin and Princip committed fraud by reneging on a 2012 agreement that gave Keating and Moss partial control over and revenue from VideoGames' videos. The defendants not only avoided making payments, according to the lawsuit, but kept the plaintiffs entirely out of the loop -- at one point, Princip even handed control of the channel to a child without telling Keating or Moss what happened.

The lawsuit is unsurprisingly one-sided and should be taken with a grain of salt, but neither of the defendants have sterling online reputations. Princip has seen multiple channels banned for violating YouTube's guidelines, and appears to have stopped producing for the site altogether. Martin, meanwhile, has been accused of paying for bots (to frame critics for cheating on video views) and creating channels after getting the boot.

One thing's for sure: as YouTube has grown to include more professionally produced content, it's also inheriting the bitter legal action that's all too common in conventional media. There's enough money at stake (VideoGames has over 3.3 million subscribers as of this post) that producers can get into fights over sums of money that would have been unthinkable several years ago.

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