Background: Recently, the youtube channel 'CGPGrey' filed a copyright strike against channel 'Vlogging Through History'

When reading about this I've seen people say that this sort of thing is settled as free use, but I'm not so sure.


Are there any court cases that found reaction videos with the following properties to be free use?

  • The person reacting watches the entire original video from start to finish.
  • They pause several times over the course of the video and adds commentary.

These sorts of videos are fairly common on youtube, and if you look at Vlogging Through History's channel, you'll see a lot of them.

Usually people like to cite the H3H3 Case but I don't feel like that matches the above properties. They're showing clips here and there, but I don't think they're covering the whole thing, and most of the time, the video isn't visible on the screen. You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXUs5FOo-JE&t=2s

I think the biggest difference between those and VTH's videos are because if you watch his reaction videos, then you've essentially already watched the original video too, and you have no incentive to watch it on the original creator's channel.

With this question, I'm specifically curious if a reaction video like has been actually tested in court, not so much the legal theory involved.

The reason I care about specific cases is because when discussing this issue with people online, a lot of people like to cite previous cases, and I want to do what I can to see if they're right or not before asserting one way or another whether such cases exist.

  • This question should not be closed. OP is pretty explicitly asking for cases applying fair-use doctrine to a specific situation, not for a general explanation of fair-use doctrine. Users are encouraged to read the whole question before voting to close.
    – bdb484
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


There are two

Both only at the District level:

This article sets out the state of the law. Fair use cases are heavily fact dependent but using the original appears to be accepted as a requirement for criticism and review - the dominant factor appears to be how transformative the video is.

  • 3
    I very clearly Indicated that I'm looking for cases involving reaction videos where the reactor watches the entire original video from start to finish. The videos in both of your examples do not have that property. In both cases, the derived video only showed part of the original video. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 0:32
  • 2
    I even described in my question why the H3H3 video is not an example of the genre of video I'm curious about. I did this specifically so that people wouldn't be tempted to use it as the answer. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 0:34
  • Regarding the Equals three case, even though the Wikipedia article says "portions of Jukin Media's clips", after watching the videos, some of the source videos are feasibly just 5 seconds or so long like they show. Even so, this still is definitely not the "watch a video, pause, and talk" style reaction that I'm going for. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 0:51
  • @SamIamsaysReinstateMonica you get the cases there are, not the ones that haven’t yet been litigated
    – Dale M
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 1:38
  • 1
    In that case, Is it a fair assumption to say these sorts of reactions haven't been tested in court? Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 3:40

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