A Strike Against Colorshift

by | Jan 6, 2020

While most of us were getting back to work or still recovering from the holiday season, a drama was played out on YouTube between a small content creator by the name of Sword ‘n’ Steele and a big bad online hobby supply manufacturer Green Stuff World. The whole episode reminded me of time in the not so distance past when Games Workshop old litigious ways ran rampant no matter who you were, no matter the actual leg they had to stand on.

Here is the quick and dirty of what went down, Sword ‘n’ Steele just before the new year did a video reviewing Vallejo Colorshift paints which just so happens to be a trademarked term by competitor Green Stuff World. So Green Stuff World took it upon itself to manually file a copyright infringement strike against Sword ‘n’ Steele because she dared referring Vallejo products as Colorshift paints.

As a big aside, Green Stuff World only has a trademark for the Colorshift term in Spain, Sword ‘n’ Steele is Canadian, but you might not know, Vallejo paints though is also a Spanish company. The result was Sword ‘n’ Steele getting her video taken down, but more importantly a strike against her YouTube account which is way more devastating.

YouTube has a strike point system for people posting copyrighted material without permission, YouTube aggressively monitors channels for copyrighted materials, demonetizing and removing material. When we usually think of this songs and movies jump to mind. Depending on frequently you get strikes a channel can be shut down in as little as three strikes. In this circumstance, Green Stuff World is the only one who could actually bring a claim to YouTube’s attention for any action to take place. So, what Green Stuff World did was intentional, and means they had a person scanning YouTube for any use of Colorshift regardless of actual content or fair use.

It would be one thing if Vallejo had created a Youtube video themselves to confuse customers, but this was a small channel who wasn’t sponsored by Vallejo to reviewing their paints. Thankfully, Sword ‘n’ Steele did the right thing and brought attention to her followers about what happened, taking Green Stuff World less than 24 hours to realize how much they screwed the pooch.

If you want to get the more granular details, see Sword ‘n’ Steele videos, what though bares repeating is Green Stuff World didn’t have like an army bots that accidentally flagged Sword ‘n’ Steele video, they did this with intent and a bit of malice. They got caught and when you get caught is when you are forced to apologize…

So see just a big misunderstanding, they had no idea what would happen, if we took the time to fill out YouTube strike form? By the way, you always know someone is a little full of shit when they use the “we are a family business” don’t hurt us please line. I will say though Sword ‘n’ Steele has milked this whole episode quite a bit as she chronicled the events over four videos, easily making them the most viewed videos on her channel. The big winner, though has to be Vallejo paints, who have been around for years and must have quite the grin going on over this whole thing escapade.

This is a great example of the Streisand effect where trying to legally suppress something only brings more attention to said something, and in this case helps the very competitor you are trying to compete with. It also shines light on how easy companies or individuals can abuse and manipulating YouTube’s copyright and trademark claim system to hurt or intimidate small creators or channels. 

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