Bear with us

David Elston's picture

Popular Youtuber Bearing recently had their channel shut down, after setting all their videos to private. He has over 300,000 subscribers.


 

What’s all the fuss about? This bear:


Image for reporting only. Cartoon Network hold copyright.

 

The avatar bears (excuse the pun) a striking resemblance and is practically the same looking bear as the one that features in Total Drama Island, the Cartoon Network show. The show ran from 8th July 2007 until 29th November 2008, with 28 episodes and no further production continued. The show only aired in Canada, the USA and the UK – not Australia where Bearing is resident. It’s last air date was in the UK, 6th May 2009.

Furthermore the Bear is not one of the primary cast and does not feature in any of the show’s advertisement.

Critics and friends of Bearing have given different levels of critique to what infractions Bearing has actually made here. In computer games, this could quite possibly count as a Total Conversation, whereby Bearing has not used the original brand or sought to run under the guise that he is producing and selling content that belongs to the Cartoon Network but instead has created a whole new brand and show, using a visually similar (different voice, personality etc) in an entirely new show. However, in TV shows copyright holders can seemingly isolate a single strand of your content and claim they own it.

There is also a case to be made that the bear image is too simple to grant anyone with copyright.

YouTube has struggled with issues like this in the past and with equally unappealing results. Family videos happening to feature a Michael Jackson soundtrack in the background have been taken down due to copyright claims.

Some good has come from this; a generous fan has donated replacement bear images to allow Bearing to continue his usual production:

WARNING: Strong Language

 

Older videos remain unavailable for viewing and it is currently unclear as to if Bearing will renew his older videos with the replacement avatar – which is no small task.

While the Pirate Party UK does not endorse Bearing or his chosen content, I personally always found his comedy with occasional point making a rather easy watch and useful perspective.

Is this copyright too far? Or was it right to shut Bearing down? Let me know!

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