A YouTube video producer is seeking at least $7.6 million in a contract dispute with a Redmond gun-maker, which the producer blames for driving down viewership and hurting business.
The Texas-based video producer, GY6vids, was initially sued by Radian Weapons in April, but filed an answer and counterclaim in U.S. District Court of Oregon this month that says Radian simply wasn’t prepared to pay the cost of sponsoring a viral video. And now Radian is trying to get out of the contract.
Radian’s parent company, AXTS Inc., “has posited ever-changing, frivolous theories for evading its obligations,” according to the recent court filing. GY6vids also claims that Radian was behind a “cyberattack,” consisting of an “excessive” number of dislikes of videos on the GY6vids channel. The thumbs-down campaign disrupted relationships with other sponsors and advertisers, the filing says.
GY6vids is a YouTube entertainment channel with 650,000 subscribers that features CEO Andrew Boetjer demonstrating various guns and other weapons.
Radian agreed last year to pay 3 cents per view over a six-month period for its sponsorship of a video titled “Getting Shot at Point Blank Range — Part 2.” GY6vids demanded payment based on millions of views, but Radian said in a Deschutes County lawsuit the video was “unlisted,” meaning it couldn’t be promoted by YouTube. Radian also alleged that Boetjer failed to inform Radian about a YouTube policy change that restricted gun-related content.
GY6vids’ attorneys at Markowitz Herbold PC in Portland couldn’t be reached for comment.
Radian’s attorney, Paul Barton at Olsen Barton LLC in Lake Oswego, also couldn’t be reached Tuesday.
Radian Director of Operations Josiah Underwood first contacted Boetjer in August through Instagram, the GY6vids counterclaim states. They signed a contract, and GY6vids created a 30-second promotional video for Radian that was placed ahead of the main video, published Oct. 1.
Contrary to Radian’s allegation in the April lawsuit, GY6vids says the video was published publicly, meaning it was available in all YouTube search listings, promoted by YouTube and placed in the feeds of GY6vids’ more than 650,000 subscribers.
The video’s description on YouTube included a link to the Radian website, but it wasn’t a unique URL, so Radian nor GY6vids could track the number of users driven to Radian’s site, the counterclaim states. Through Instagram messages, Underwood said the video increased “traffic and brand recognition” and that there had been “increased sales,” the counterclaim states.
“Everyone was really happy with the spot and your delivery,” he said. “That’s not always the case.”
The video had 527,208 views at the end of the first month, so GY6vids sent Radian an invoice for $15,816.24, and Radian paid it, the counterclaim states.
In its second month, the video gained 1.4 million more views, GY6vids claims, so Radian was sent an invoice for $42,442.29. Then the relationship broke down. GY6vids claims during a Dec. 5 phone call, Underwood told Boetjer Radian made a “mistake” entering the agreement, it was “extremely unprofessional” in signing onto an agreement it couldn’t fulfill and needed “mercy” on the terms. In a follow-up email, Underwood asked to restructure the agreement.
GY6vids sent texts and emails demanding Radian confirm it would pay the bill due Dec. 7, according to the counterclaim. GY6vids moved the video Dec. 11 from public view to unlisted, so only viewers who have a link can find it. Then on Dec. 14, the producer received a letter from Radian’s attorney saying the agreement was void and unenforceable.
The video went back to public view for the last two weeks of January and then was set to private, meaning it couldn’t be viewed by the public at all, according to the counterclaim.
“The video garnered approximately 2.9 million views during the limited time in which it was set to public or unlisted viewing,” GY6vids states.
GY6vids hired a lawyer, and the sides traded letters in February. That’s when the YouTube channel suffered a spate of dislikes, which the producer blames on Radian.
“The cyberattack began by targeting the video at issue in this dispute, and then targeted each video GY6vids posted during the pendency of negotiations,” the counterclaim states.
The “unprecedented” number of dislikes — 19,000 on Feb. 20 alone — hurt the production company because YouTube uses dislikes to decide which channels to promote, the counterclaim states. GY6vids says its damages from the attack amount to no less than $2 million.
The video producer takes issue with Radian’s decision to include the confidential sponsorship agreement in its lawsuit.
By revealing the 3-cent-per-view price, Radian “depressed the price that GY6vids can obtain for its services in perpetuity.”
GY6vids claims $5 million in damages for the breach of confidentiality.