Popular anime essayist ‘Totally Not Mark’ has achieved a landmark YouTube victory against Toei Animation after the anime company served him with over 150 copyright strikes in a single day.
In December 2021, anime reviewer Totally Not Mark came to his 700,000 subscribers with sobering news — over 150 of his videos had been claimed by Toei Animation on grounds of copyright infringement.
Toei Animation is a Japanese animation company that owns the rights to such shows as One Piece, Dragon Ball, and more. Totally Not Mark is known for his reviews of Dragon Ball episodes and films, where he sometimes uses footage from the content he’s reviewing.
According to Mark, Toei had effectively blocked the equivalent of three years of his work, leaving him “devastated” and stressed about providing for both his team and his family during the holiday season.
After some back and forth with YouTube and heartfelt pleading with Toei, Mark eventually stepped away from the situation and privated his initial videos discussing the matter.
However, in January 2022, Mark returned with a shocking update: YouTube had reinstated his affected videos in most countries outside of Japan.
Totally Not Mark gives update on Toei copyright strike drama
This latest development came about after Toei purportedly failed to comply with YouTube’s copyright strike policy.
Rather than responding with a “justification” for their 150 + takedown notices, Toei instead manually claimed and blocked “each and every one” of the videos, as per Mark’s newest announcement.
As a result of this, YouTube could avoid effectively “picking a side” in this battle, and has now reinstated Mark’s videos in most countries outside of Japan.
This means that, should Toei hit Mark with another strike, they would be acting outside of their own country’s copyright laws.
“YouTube felt the videos could reasonably qualify for a fair use exemption in most of the rest of the world,” Mark explained. “So the content will remain up everywhere else until, or unless, Toei can make an argument that it would not qualify for copyright exemption in other territories.”
Mark claimed that this is the first time YouTube has applied such a rule to matters of copyright, making this a landmark victory for anime reviewers on the platform after being supported by such creators as MoistCritikal and even PewDiePie amid the initial chaos.
Toei has not publicly commented on the subject at the time of writing.