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“Stolen content” is becoming a point of contention within the YouTube community.
More than a week after YouTuber Jack Douglass (Jacksfilms) uploaded an 11-minute video accusing SSSniperwolf, one of the highest-paid creators on the platform, of stealing content, H3 Podcast host Ethan Klein is feuding with Twitch streamer xQc over the same issue.
The debate, dubbed “Reactgate” in some Reddit circles, is over whether creators who build their platforms and viewership on “reaction videos” are “stealing” the content because they’re not adding enough substance or commentary.
“Let’s talk about how egregious this freebooting is. In each of her hundreds and hundreds of videos, she plays other people’s TikToks and provides extremely base-level commentary,” Douglass explained in his video about SSSniperwolf. “Her commentary isn’t so much transformative as it is just summarizing what we’re watching.”
“Freebooting” is a piracy term to describe when someone uploads a video they don’t have the rights to.
On Aug. 3, Klein tagged streamer xQc, whose legal name is Félix Lengyel, in a tweet accusing him of being a “content thief.”
“If you think that is defamation PLEASE sue me,” Klein continued. “If you want me to explain why you are [a] content thief, I’m happy to chat with you anytime.”
Lengyel has over 11 million followers on Twitch, where he’s been streaming himself playing esports since 2016. Some of Lengyel’s most popular videos are of him reacting to other people’s videos while live on the platform.
Don’t worry xQc, I’m sure he’s a paid actor too. https://t.co/97IiY02W4b
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) August 8, 2023
Klein is not the first person to accuse Lengyel of stealing content. In July there was a string of tweets from other creators who slammed Lengyel and another popular Twitch streamer, Hasan Piker, for reacting to a heavily researched 90-minute video about the Kennedy assassination.
lemmino spends months researching, scripting, and editing a video just for react streamers to reupload the entire thing and provide zero input pic.twitter.com/jNO6QTqHRG
— Bub Films (@FilmsBub) July 28, 2023
Every single time without fail LMAO pic.twitter.com/FelAor31yf
— 𝕭𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙩 (@TechsaintHD) July 25, 2023
It's honestly a bit depressing seeing a highly edited video from a small creator get like 100,000 views & then a massive streamer uploading their "reaction" with the thumbnail stolen getting 5 times the views, sometimes more.
— Michael (@LegacyKillaHD) July 28, 2023
In 2022, Lengyel accused audiences of a “double standard” when it came to calling out reaction videos.
“Where was all this energy when Toast was watching 150 episodes of Naruto while literally sleeping on stream?” Lengyel said at the time, referring to another Twitch streamer. “Where was all this energy at then?”
What happened in the debate between xQc and Ethan Klein?
On the Aug. 7 episode of Klein’s H3 Podcast live YouTube show, the two debated what counts as “fair use” when it comes to showing other people’s content.
Overall, Lengyel had two big arguments against Klein. The first was that Klein, whose podcast discusses internet culture, also features smaller creators’ content on his platform. Fans of the H3 Podcast and YouTube channel were quick to point out — since Klein didn’t on the show — that H3 rarely plays a video in its entirety.
Lengyel’s second argument was that he was giving exposure to smaller creators by showing their videos to his audience of millions.
“You do this to enrich yourself,” Klein dissented. “You’re a multimillionaire and you steal content from small creators and you don’t give a f*** about their rights or what they want. … You’re just taking attention and views for yourself and you don’t give a f*** about the consequences of that. It’s not your decision to make for other people’s property.”
Although there was no clear conclusion from the debate, Reddit users and other streamers seemed to agree that Klein came away from the conversation looking like the winner.
After filming, Klein started leaking DMs between him and Lengyel to his 2.2 million Twitter followers.
At one point Lengyel questioned why Klein was “caught up with money” when it came to videos and views.
“It matters to other people whose videos you use,” Klein answered.
“If they want something from us we will give [it to] them,” Lengyel said, referring to the small creators whose videos he reacts to. “A flat fee would be fine.”
The final message, in which Lengyel sends a photo of his watch and writes, “I got ur whole house on my wrist,” immediately became a meme on Reddit.
Have xQc and Klein feuded before?
This is not the first time the two have gotten into a very public fight. In January, Lengyel slammed Klein after he laughed at QTCinderella’s tearful video condemning a website that was selling explicit deepfakes of female streamers.
In an extremely meta moment, Lengyel reacted to the clip of Klein reacting to QTCinderella’s video.
“Yo, what’s going on with this guy, man?” Lengyel said in his stream. “Bro, you know what this guy looks like? He looks like the f***ing opossum that’s under my f***ing house.”
In June, Klein called Lengyel a “moron” on an episode of his podcast after Lengyel condemned FaZe Clan, one of the most popular esports organizations in the world, for adding actress Grace Van Dien to its roster.
“People need to stop doing this ‘we need more women in esports,'” Lengyel said in response to the news. “Bro, if people paid attention, there’s a bunch of deserving women that can get picked up, because they deserve it.”
Klein rolled his eyes at the clip and questioned where Lengyel’s “outrage” was when FaZe named rapper Snoop Dogg to its board of directors in 2022.
“He’s such a f***ing idiot,” Klein said about Lengyel. “Where was your outrage when Snoop Dogg got signed to FaZe? Was Snoop Dogg a pro gamer? Oh no, he’s a f***ing guy, so you don’t care.”
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