EntertainmentBuzzFeed Steals Ideas From YouTubers, & More Drama

“BuzzFeed has been caught repeatedly stealing ideas, jokes, bits, gags and therefore money from prominent YouTube creators. And we’ve all had enough. It’s time to #StopBuzzThieves.”

-Brooklyn-based YouTuber and Writer, Akilah Hughes(@AkilahObviously) wrote on her website.

Hughes has launched a campaign, in which she accuses BuzzFeed of stealing ideas for their videos without crediting or compensating the original creators. 

She called out BuzzFeed on Twitter for allegedly plagiarising her video How To Be An Introvert.

“It’s a video that has exactly two jokes that are visually represented the exact same way that I made the two jokes,” Hughes told The Independent. “In the span of 25 minutes, it had nearly 100,000 views, whereas mine over the course of two years has 50,000. And so i’m watching dollars add up.”

Zach Evans, who produced the video for BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, apologised to Hughes on Twitter: “Hey, I’m sorry about this whole situation,” he wrote. “I promise you it was a coincidence. I have never/would never rip someone off.”

Compare the videos here and see the similarity for yourself.

Akilah’s video:

BuzzFeed’s video:

And as Akilah’s battle against BuzzFeed continued, more creators came out with their stories:

In the end of 2011, López-Alt, author of the New York Times bestselling book The Food Labpublished a recipe for halal-cart style chicken and rice for the website Serious Eats – for which he currently serves as managing culinary editor. He told The Independent that he developed the recipe in 2010 by visiting a number of food carts throughout New York City, interviewing the owners, and assembling the right ingredients through a trial and error process. 

When he first saw BuzzFeed’s video on Tasty, in May of this year, he said the ingredient list was nearly identical “with a few tweaks”.

Then Akilah started a petition addressed directly to BuzzFeed’s advertisers highlighting the instances where BuzzFeed has stolen ideas for video content, and urging them to stop supporting the media giant.

Hughes said she first noticed a problem in 2015 when BuzzFeed ran a series called, “Ask an Asian”, where comedian Jenny Yang answers questions as the sole representative of her race.

“I had a series called, ‘How Black people Feel About…’, which is the exact same concept,” she said. “I did mine in 2013, theirs came out in 2015.”

Other examples cited in the petition include BuzzFeed’s “Can You Waffle It?”, which bears the resemblance to the blog and book Will It Waffle?; TigerTomato’s pancake art channel and BuzzFeed’s “Artists try pancake art sponsored by Holiday Inn Express”; and “100 Years of Beauty” on Cut.com alongside BuzzFeed’s “100 Years of…” series.  

When Technical.ly asked what her end goal is, she said she wants BuzzFeed to publicly acknowledge the fact that they are stealing work and initiate company policies that encourage their creators to research videos before making them for the sake of a quota.

“There’s not one large media company/news organization that doesn’t vet their reporting beforehand,” she said. “Common decency and protection against intellectual property theft would dictate that you would have some process in place to avoid these all too common coincidences of stealing other people’s work.”

According to Technical.ly, Hughes advises that if you are facing a similar situation, “Get a good IP lawyer and remind yourself that you aren’t the first, second or one-hundredth person who has had their stuff copied by a giant corporation. You don’t have to take it laying down.”

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Kritika Bansal

Kritika is a sleep deprived Vidooly content writer based in New Delhi with an inexplicable weakness for pre-loved books, Tumblr, YouTube, TV shows, Pop music, and the sultry voice of Benedict Cumberbatch. Kritika is also currently on a road to become a creative.

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