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Name: YouTube
Owner/Maintainer: Google
Dates: Spring 2005
Type: Video hosting/streaming
Fandom: Panfandom and non-fandom
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YouTube is a world-famous video streaming site that revolutionized the concept of online video and popularized it among average Internet users. Someone who posts original content to YouTube is called a YouTuber.

Fanvids and AMVs

Many fans host their fanvids, animatics (or other fan animation), AMVs and MADs on YouTube. While some fans from the media fandom tradition of vidding that predates the internet may look down on YouTube as a vid site, many fandoms use the site as their main location for sharing vids and interacting with each other.

There have been several controversies over YouTube's policies of removal or partial removal of content uploaded by users. YouTube removes content when they receive a DMCA takedown notice and also makes an automated tool available to copyright holders who can choose to have content (usually audio tracks) removed if a match is made between the uploaded content and a database of copyrighted material.[1] Because of this issue, many vidders prefer to use other sites for hosting their work, but such sites have often had only a short life. (See iMeem, Bam Video Vault)

Soap Opera fandoms are but one example of the many fandoms where most of the vids are on YouTube. A search for any of the popular Soap couples will turn up lots of hits.

Other Fan-Made Things

YouTube is also home to fan films and other video works that exist outside the main vidding, AMV or machinima traditions. The series Chad Vader is about a grocery store night manager who cosplays as Darth Vader from Star Wars at work. The Doctor Who Fan Orchestra publishes its projects on YouTube.

Vlogging personal reactions to new canon, posting fan theories or video essays on canon or fan interpretations, performing dramatic readings of silly Internet comments or badfic, and podficcing are some other uses fans make of YouTube. Sharing meta, opinions/reviews, or news through videos as opposed to text is especially prominent in fandoms where canon is in a video format, such as anime, television, and movie fandoms. Newer channels, like CosTube, show tutorials on how to sew cosplay and historic costumes and the end result.

YouTube as Canon Resource

In some fandoms, YouTube is the main source for canon online. In some anime fandoms, the options are downloading via BitTorrent or YouTube. Soap Opera fans of shows from other countries, or fans who are only interested in one pairing, may watch compilation clips of their favourites rather than watch the entire source. Luke/Noah fans can watch dozens of clips of their appearances on As The World Turns without ever watching the rest of the show.[2]

Other canon material for film and television fandoms is available, such as previews and trailers, popular or controversial scenes, and soundtracks. RPF canon, including interviews and convention panels,[3] is of interest to RPF and FPF fans alike.

Web-original content such as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is also broadcast on YouTube.

YouTube as Canon

YouTube has its own thriving community, with vloggers posting original content daily. Some YouTubers have become so popular that fans make gifs and even fanfiction of them.[4] Sometimes individual YouTube videos will receive the same treatment.[5] One fandom whose canon is almost entirely based in original YouTube videos is Rooster Teeth.

See: YouTube RPF


YouTube uses software to determine automatically in which countries certain content should be available or not. This could be due to local laws or because of copyrights. After uploading, each video will be scanned by a software. If the software determines that the video contains content which may violate third party copyrights or laws, the video might get flagged, made unavailable to view in certain countries, audio tracks might get muted or the copyright owner will display adverts that will get monetized in the uploader's video. Uploaders may respond by claims via the platform which may result in removal of the blocking or flag.

Youtube vs. GEMA (2010 - 2016

Message displayed on Nuarity's Channel page when a geoblocked user tries to access the vid, here To kill the King.

Since negotiations between YouTube and the German GEMA broke down in May 2010,[6] German users couldn't access vids that include copyrighted material by artists who are represented by GEMA.[7][8][9]

That meant that almost every second or third fanvid was unavailable in Germany (unless a fan knows how to get around geoblocking). In an embedded video the preview image is shown so that the viewer knows what the vid is about, but once they click play, only a black screen with a message that usually looks something like this appears: "This video contains content from UMG. It is not available in your country." Trying to access the vid on the channel page of the vidder includes the title of the vid in the copyright message. Trying to open a direct link to the vid redirects to a version of the main page which displays the message that "This video is not available in your country." For German fans this meant missing out on fannish content that is only available via YouTube until November 1 2016 when YouTube and GEMA reached an agreement. Since that day, all videos contain GEMA music are fully accessible again by viewers with Germany-based IP address. [10]


  1. ^ The EFF Guide to YouTube Removals, accessed May 3, 2010
  2. ^ Luke and Noah's Story, 2,220 results when accessed May 3, 2010
  3. ^ J2 Con, 456 results when accessed May 3, 2010
  4. ^ See the Video Blogging & YouTube RPF tag on Archive of Our Own.
  5. ^ See Octopus Steals My Video Camera and Swims off with It While It's Recording (Youtube) tag on AO3.
  6. ^ Wolfgang Spahr ( GEMA Talks With YouTube Break Down, 10 May 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)
  7. ^ YouTube vs GEMA, 18 August 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)
  8. ^ German battle over YouTube royalties wages on, 27 August 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)
  9. ^ German Court Rules Against Google in Copyright Case, 07 September 2010. (Accessed 03 October 2010)
  10. ^ YouTube strikes deal with GEMA to host music videos in Germany Music Business Worldwide, Novemeber 1st, 2016]