Celebrity gossip queen Perez Hilton said he’s unlikely to post videos on YouTube any longer and instead will probably host them on his own site, Perezhilton.com.
The blogger and YouTube are feuding after the biggest video-sharing site pulled some of his videos due to complaints from copyright holders. YouTube today reinstated Mr. Hilton’s channel on the site, but that didn’t mollify him.
Mr. Hilton, who has made himself into a multimedia sensation with Hollywood gossip and over-the-top critiques of celebrities, said he’s disappointed by the way YouTube handled the matter. His site, self-described as the most hated in Hollywood, attracted more than 1.5 million unique visitors in November, according to Nielsen Online.
“I don’t have any more incentive to make any more videos on YouTube,” Mr. Hilton said in an interview with WebVideoReport sister publication TelevisionWeek. “I have sent them millions and millions of page views and the way they treated me … they aren’t respecting me enough to treat me like a valued partner. I am so heartbroken because I was the biggest YouTube fan.”
Mr. Hilton said YouTube sent him an e-mail Monday alerting him that his account was being shut down temporarily. The blogger said a phone call would have been appreciated, given that his YouTube-hosted videos have garnered more than 25 million views in the last three months.
The trouble started Monday when Mr. Hilton posted a video that included a clip of Liza Minnelli in concert. He said YouTube sent him an e-mail informing him that the site had received a take-down notice from a copyright holder.
The blogger said he had permission to use the video from the person who shot the clip at a concert. Mr. Hilton had already received two prior copyright-violation notices against his YouTube account in the last year and a half and was deemed a “repeat offender,” he said.
He said he was unaware of the prior violations.
Ironically, those notices were from Viacom, the corporate parent of VH1, which runs Mr. Hilton’s TV show “What Perez Sez.”
Once the account was suspended on Tuesday morning, Mr. Hilton’s attorney contacted Viacom and asked that it rescind the notices. Viacom did, Mr. Hilton said.
Viacom couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Mr. Hilton’s YouTube account was reinstated Thursday afternoon and he promptly posted a YouTube kiss-off video, telling the site to “F--- off.” In that video, he also suggested YouTube should send copyright violation notices to a user’s YouTube account as well as the e-mail the user provides when registering.
“I literally get 4,000 to 5,000 e-mails a day. They sent it to my regular address. I would have gone to Viacom immediately had it been taken to me immediately,” he said.
YouTube is treating the squabble as it would any other copyright dispute.
“We cooperate with copyright holders to identify and promptly remove infringing content,” YouTube said in a statement. “When we receive a DMCA take-down notice alleging a video infringes copyright, we disable the video and notify the user who uploaded the video. The user then has an opportunity to challenge the complaint. We terminate the accounts of repeat infringers in accordance with our repeat infringer policy, as required by the DMCA. In cases where an account is terminated for repeat infringement, it might be possible to have the account reinstated if one or more of the copyright claims is retracted."
YouTube is currently defending itself in a $1 billion lawsuit brought by Viacom, which alleges copyright violations.
Mr. Hilton said he has been a YouTube partner via the site’s official partner program for the last three months. He said he’s received $5,000 from YouTube in ad-sharing revenue.
“The way they treated me with this whole incident makes me feel not appreciated,” he said. “They didn’t do anything. Not to overestimate my own worth, but I probably have sent more traffic to YouTube than anyone else on the Internet.”
Mr. Hilton said his site generates more than 120 million page views per month. Visitors in November spent an average of 39 minutes on the site, according to Nielsen. Perezhilton.com is the No. 1 rated blog in the lifestyle category, measured by market share of Internet traffic, according to Hitwise.