Copyright Chronicles: A Viral Encounter With Landon Dowlatsingh

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted a rollicking internet copyright yarn. Not that there haven’t been infringements. Those are constant. It’s just that most are overly pedestrian- a pest control coupon that’s removed on request, for example. Not worth blogging. This one, however, involves a barely literate YouTube host pretending to be a lawyer, and his messages are simply too bizarre to pass up sharing.

A screen capture of Mr. Dowlatsingh presenting my photographs.

I won’t bore you with the details of the infringement beyond the basics: 6 photographs of driver ants, most with my name cropped out, uploaded twice to a popular YouTube tabloid without being credited or licensed. The infringer responded to my formal copyright notice by committing perjury, claiming to Youtube that he had rights to my work and that my notice was mistaken.

Thinking the rights grab a bold move, I emailed him. Our correspondence follows:




This provoked two responses:



My reply:


And Mr. Dowlatsingh’s:


This line of argument was obviously not headed anywhere, so off to the lawyers it goes.

Update (8/25/2015): Mr. Dowlatsingh has sent a DMCA counter-notice to YouTube that implicates YouTube and Google as being knowing, approving parties in the infringement. Updated Strategy: have attorney pen letter to Google’s legal department requesting verification?


Update 2 (10/24/2018): Apparently some commentators are under the impression there was a lawsuit of some kind. There wasn’t. I briefly hired a Canadian attorney in 2015 to look at the possibility of recovering my license fees, and we determined that Mr. Dowlatsingh had no assets, so I was just throwing money down a hole. Whatever impression you may have of Mr. Dowlatsingh’s success, he appears to be flat-ass broke. So I dropped the entire thing. There was no lawsuit on either my part or Mr. Dowlatsingh’s. Other photographers appear to have pursued him for similar infringements, but that ain’t me.

57 thoughts on “Copyright Chronicles: A Viral Encounter With Landon Dowlatsingh”

  1. James C. Trager

    I particularly like his last paragraph. Seems to me you’d be pleased to have every last one of his “1.3 million subscribers” know that you’re a stingey stickler when it comes to copyright infringement, impinging on his right to make millions by stealing your work. Of course it’s a bluff, and he’d never state it that way even if it weren’t a bluff.

  2. I agree with the earlier comments that I don’t envy you having to deal with this. However, I co-teach a course on scientific professionalism and ethics in my department, and my section deals with professional online behavior. Your copyright infringement posts have given me lots of great tangible real world examples to show my students, so thanks for sharing!

      1. What a pathetic loser. I love the pseudo-legal gibberish that he is spewing, especially the statement “[…] or if my address is outside of the United States[…]” If? He doesn’t know where he lives? Alex, I very much appreciate you going after scumbags like this.

        1. Collective cyber bullying much… what do you hope to get from him… I know he might have causes narcissistic injuries on you and since most Caucasian North American-er would have an ego the size of Montreal to protect and many of your sycophants, but seriously… he is just trying to entertain the mass… and you are just sucking him dry at this point. How about I give you $500 CAD. Would that help with your desperate career as a professional photographer and forget about suing him further.

          1. I wish I could like you’re comment a hundred times.
            You most of a lot of time to go on YouTube and search for people using a pic from GOGGLE. Lol

    1. The term “[…] may be subject to copyright” is there to ensure people don’t attempt to falsely sue an individual/company. This greedy photographer just wants money, and completely ignores the legal definition of “Fair Use.” It is clear he does not understand the law, or blatantly ignores it. Is this the type of individual you want to be following? Attorneys – on YouTube, Google, and those of MostAmazingTop10 – have all agreed the usage of these photos follow the legal definition of “Fair Use,” and are not infringing on International Copyright Laws. Please check your basic facts before you blindly follow an arrogant man attempting to rip off a hard working, small corporation. Legal matters are not difficult to search, and civil cases, such as this one, are forced to be put on public record. I’d love to let you know that MostAmazingTop10 has won this civil dispute, as they have been deemed legally obliged and to be following the legal definition of “Fair Use” under the court of law.

  3. How do the ‘fair use’ rules interact with these cases? I know for example from Youtube that many people make reviews of movies, using the footage of that movie for the review (and monetizing that video with ads, of which the money I assume goes to the maker of the youtube video?).

    Are videos in this instance different from pictures? I’m confused.

    1. I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is:

      Fair use is a bit nebulous and decided on a case-by-case basis. As wikipedia says “Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.” I for one don’t see how a breathless for-profit top-10 youtube video hits any of those, or is in the interest of the society to curtail the right holders exclusive rights, but maybe they’ve got a really good lawyer and can come up with some reasoning that a court might buy. I rather doubt it given the amazing command of the language demonstrated.

      (I doubt that Alex can or should comment much more on this particular case now that it’s been passed to the lawyers)

  4. If his legal team can not even muster a grammatically correct reply in proper English, it’s a miracle he’s won battles for 6-7 years.

    What is he, his own legal team?

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Pretending to be a legal team. I’m pretty sure that, if they don’t know how to be grammatically correct, they at least know people for that.

  5. It’s kind of funny how after your “I am not a large company” he tries to scare you with “It’s not just a channel it’s a corporation with a lot of people in it”.

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  7. I don’t know if Google Translate has it right, but it appears that you have just been spammed in Chinese. According to Translate, the text reads, “Your boss to send you free website templates?”

    1. What he’s pretty much saying is that he likes the look of the site and wants to know if/how he can get a free copy of the template.

  8. Just checked the video and I just wouldn’t bare to see more than a few seconds. As far as I’m concerned… those horrendously ridiculous, stupid videos/clips/lists/orwhatever could be banned altogether. I just can’t understand why people need to see screaming clowns present nonsense when a single short informative video of… let’s say ants hunting a millipede… is far more exciting and fantastic… and real.
    But maybe I’m only turning into an “old fart” who can’t stand the development of… well…
    Anyhow. Hope your fight goes well.

  9. As I type this the video is still up, with your pictures still in place. I’m curious to know how this battle pans out, and, if you win, how you managed it! I’m rooting for the good guy here.

  10. I love that the copyright infringer can’t spell and exhibits lousy grammar skills. Yeah, we all really should side with this guy…. and the Donald, too.

  11. I was watching the video just to be sure of some things. He did not add a source, or provide any links for fair use. So I think you have a solid case here.

  12. Don’t worry

    If I was Landon, I would beat the living shit out of you, you’re such a pus instead of just simply telling him “ hey those are copyrighted images plzz remove them” you dicided to be bitch and sue him over some lame pictures which in shit quality anyways btw eat a dick you lil shit Stan cuck

    1. As a matter of fact, he did!! Alex’s first letter to Landon does state that. You should take this time and scroll on up and read the very first letter that Alex wrote to Landon. Too lazy?? Well let me help you out a bit. The letter goes a little something like this (since you obviously didn’t read it)
      “… do the right thing and license my photo for commercial use like everyone else [ …] or re-upload the video without my photos … “

      Smh. Someone should slap some sense into YOUR head!! Bottom line is if it’s not your photo and you want to use it – kindly ask the photographer and give them credit where credit is due Or don’t use the pictures at all !! Draw a damn picture if you must.

      Alex’s pictures must have not been so “shit quality” if Landon was willing to go to court over it. That “shit quality” pictures made that “shit quality” of a video THOUSANDS of dollars, so go take you head full of PUS somewhere else with that BS!! You can choke on that!

    2. Wow, way to provide a compelling and articulate argument. Your comment hasn’t helped Landon at all as well as showed you didn’t read anything. In addition it makes the rest of the viewers on YouTube channels look like morons (not all shows are of the crazy ones described here, there are enjoyable and short entertaining videos to watch as well)
      I actually watch a channel he owns, not the channel with him hosting personally, however, I heard about the lawsuit and wanted to understand the story… I think it’s unfortunate, I know they use a lot of images however, in this case when presented with someone showing this is their work you think an apology, removal or since that is impossible, purchase of the photo, would be a valid and acceptable solution to everyone.
      I’m sorry it has come down to suing and counter suing, being the methods of coming to a solution. Very unfortunate.
      Good luck, I hope this works out.

      1. Just to be clear..That was directed towards the others from the Landon channels that posted. “Don’t worry” and “scumbag” 😊

  13. Judith Zepeda-Mojica

    You people are clearly adults, but you don’t seem to be acting like it. You need look at both sides of the story before trashing them. They both have their own lives and have to pay for their families. You need to look in what type of person they are before judging them. Landon said in one of his more recent videos that he thinks Alex is a good guy, meanwhile Alex said “This one, however, involves a barely literate YouTube host pretending to be a lawyer…” Landon did not want to expose Alex and even called him a nice guy. Both Landon and Alex have their jobs and they both know how it feels to lose money. Right now, Landon is losing hundreds of thousands a day for his lawyer expenses and Alex has lost money off those pictures, yes, but not as much as Landon is losing. I understand Alex earns his living off of photography but Landon got those images off of Google, which means he didn’t know they where Alex’s. He got it off of a website that Alex should really be sueing for stealing his pictures. Please, Alex needs to understand that he did not know and it was a misunderstanding. Landon could lose his channel, which has been up for 8 years, he worked hard for 8 long years, just to lose it all because of pictures. And I’m sure those pictures were hard work but he needs to handle this more properly. It’s sad that there so much hate in this world and people cannot stop holding grudges over small things. I’m just a 12 year old and some adults act even more childish than me.

    1. Landon could have stopped it getting to this point by simply removing the video or editing out the pictures, but he refused to and instead chose to pretend to be a lawyer

  14. Professors such as yourself do not deserve a Ph.D.You are not being nice to the youtube channel at all that you’re currently suing. People such as yourself is the reason the college system is corrupted.Nothing, but money grabbing.scumbags with a pompous ego who can’t teach. I can understand you being upset if this is your way of living, but you are also at fault. You would be surprised at what people on the internet can do. Just saying.

  15. You lost the case under educational fair use law. Also Canadian law has jurisdiction so hope you learned Canadian law

  16. Please remove this post. I am now getting death threats because of this post. This matter has been over my head since 2015. Please remove this. This content isn’t meant for the internet. Thanks- Landon

    1. He still has it up!!! I would sue him now. I mean he sued you for a picture on Google and now has the nerve not to take this down. Now that you ask him and he has not and it is causing you to get treats it seem like a good enough reason to go after him for defamation and emotional distress from the stress of being threatened.
      I’m so glad you didn’t give up to him. My son loves your videos. Best wishes Landon you’re the best.

  17. It’s about time you lost the suit. You took advantage of a situation to make a quick buck and now you have to pay for it. Now you just sound dumb with your accusations that he was bluffing about suing you and him breaking the law. Well The courts say he’s innocent. So you were wrong. Time to stop pretending to be a victim.

  18. You know, photographers, for years now, have been using a watermark….. even wildlife photographers. Now, do everyone a favor and move on. You’re are beginning to sound like a petty teenager.

  19. Personally, I believe Alex Wilde or whatever his name is should shut up complaining. He’s targeted Most Amazing Top 10 because he knows that they’re a big YouTube channel, how the hell would he just “come across” these photos one day unless he either watches their videos or he was looking for it. Not only that but the video is for educational and entertainment purposes and so should he not be glad people are learning and not being bored from it. If the image was found on google (which it probably was let’s be real, editors don’t have time to sit and go through individual websites) then hundreds if not thousands of different people would be using the image for things such as coursework in schools but he only sued Most Amazing Top 10 when he knew they had money. Seems fishy to me. Alex would not have bothered to attempt to sue him if it was just a small YouTube channel with around 100 subscribers would he? Pathetic, coming from a grown man with children suing another man with children because his “beautiful ant pictures” have been “stolen” by a YouTuber, get a grip.

  20. This post has gotten way out of control. I feel like the only reason Alex wants to keep it up is money. He gets revenue when all of us visit his site. I mean he is gonna need to recover from the ass whooping he got but hey things happen.

  21. I see points of both sides without reading the lawsuit itself, but I would take Landon’s side because 1 million dollars is a bit much just because of some ant pictures. also, some people claimed that Landon’s depression was to attract attention and that he lied to his viewers which I don’t believe is right.

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