Internet commentator Ethan Klein, creator and owner of H3 productions, criticized xQc's lawyer Ryan Morrison, a.k.a the Video Game Attorney, while discussing xQc's counterclaim against the Olympics during his H3TV podcast on Monday. In his segment discussing the xQc situation, Klein provided details about his negative experience with Morrison when he was hired to defend H3 Productions in a fair use lawsuit back in 2016.
"He is a horrible attorney that royally screwed us," Klein stated. "The fact that he is handling [xQc's fair use claim] makes me very, very nervous. We almost sued him for malpractice. The next attorneys we got, who were extremely competent, were just outraged about how he handled this."
He continued, "Ryan Morrison is out there saying [xQc's restream of the Olympics] was fair use, and I actually am afraid that Ryan is misleading [xQc]. . . If Ryan represents him in a bad case, not only is xQc going to get screwed with time and money and liability, but he could actually set back the work that we have done. If we get a bad ruling against fair use, that could screw everybody."
Ryan Morrison served as H3H3's first attorney in their lawsuit against Matt Hoss. Matt Hoss sued H3H3 Productions over a video parody in 2016, and after litigation, H3 Productions ended up winning the suit on fair use arguments in mid-2017, but only after changing lawyers.
H3H3 successfully defended their right to create the above video in 2017
According to Klein, Morrison mishandled the defense while he was working for H3, including making a non-profit with some of the money donated to help with H3's defense, an action that turned out to be illegal and nearly tied up H3's defense fund permanently. Klein also questioned the attorneys' decision to go after the validity of Hoss' copyright, instead of arguing the merits of the fair use defense that would eventually clear H3 of any wrongdoing.
"We even considered suing [Morrison and partner Walter–Michael Lee] for malpractice, because of the way they handled it, especially the way they set up this non-profit," Klein explained. "In the end, we had to pay more attorneys to petition the Attorney General of New York to explain what happened to get the money out [...] They just are not experienced attorneys [...] So that is what I am afraid of for xQc right now, that Ryan is out there saying 'This is fair use we are fighting it' instead of 'I am not a f*cking media attorney and I am not equipped to deal with this.'"
Klein concluded, "I have held my tongue on this guy for so long, but now it has come to a point where I see him in a position to cause even more damage and I really think this is a dangerous place for everyone to be, when xQc is being represented by this guy who doesn't know what he is doing and actually doesn't understand fair use at all."
xQc counterclaimed a copyright strike last week, after he was received a live copyright strike on Twitch resulting in a two-day ban. By counterclaiming the strike, xQc undid the ban, but has now opened himself up to be sued by the IOC over his decision to restream part of the Olympics.
According to xQc and Morrison, xQc commenting on the Olympics while watching them should constitute a transformative use, and is thereby protected under fair use. The IOC has yet to announce if they are planning on suing xQc over his decision to restream the Olympics. So for now we will just have to wait and see.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.