YouTube Removes Blair Mountain Documentary Over Insane Copyright Claim

Matt Orfalea
5 min readOct 26, 2017

My latest video, “Battle of Blair Mountain (#SaveBlairMountain)”, is a short educational video about the history of Blair Mountain. The video ends with an urgent call to action to save Blair Mt. because the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places will soon be reaching decision to either protect it or let coal companies blow it up.

It was removed from Youtube and Facebook for copyright claims at the behest of Mari-lynn Evans, a filmmaker of one of the films I used (with Fair Use) in my video.

Now I’ve had a lot of my own videos stolen — re-uploaded in their entirety (which is not Fair Use) without giving me any credit. That’s not at all what happened here though.

The base of my video is original voice over, original interviews, with some original animation/gfx. Even though it is filled with 1–2 second shots from several films and youtube videos, they were completely rearranged to make a new transformative story. That’s why I am confident it falls under Fair Use and that a court would rule in my favor.

I’ve uploaded to Vimeo so you can see what this whole damn thing was about. Will likely be taken down soon.

I sent Mari-lynn Evans my video because I thought she would appreciate it. She co-directed “Blood on the Mountain”. It’s about coal companies and corruption in West Virginia. My video covered the same subject matter so I thought she would appreciate me getting the word out.

I was so wrong.

She immediately started threatening me.

I was instantly alarmed…but remained polite and patient.

She just responded with more threats.

Yes she just told me to “shut the fuck up” after I said nothing.

So. Much. Hate.

She wrote dozens of hateful comments on my Facebook (and other’s) calling me a white privileged-racist-scab-vulture-oppressor.

Just FYI, my video is literally a story about all races (white, black, and immigrant) coming together for a common cause.

She then accused me of being “an infiltrator for the coal industry” even though my entire video was about how the coal industry is bad.

She said I’m “trying to destroy our last chance to save Blair Mountain” even though I worked my ass off to put together a shareable video to save Blair Mountain and she had it removed.

She says I’m a “scab taking credit for [her] work” but I credited all my film sources (including her movie) at the end of the video.

Out of nowhere she shared a photo to brag about her Hollywood connections and called my original content a “fake video”.

She then urged people to ignore my video that is entirely about Blair Mountain (and emailing NPS before Oct 26 deadline — the next day).

Can we not do both??

Beware of Mari-lynn Evans

Mari-lynn Evans made a good movie about corporations bullying West Virginians. But she too is a bully. A bully who appears to care more about her own ego and insulting others than the issues she professes in her movies.

I have contested the copyright claim on Youtube and Facebook. Whether or not it is Fair Use will have to be determined by a third party at a later date, well past the Oct 26 deadline I was hoping to spread news of in order to save Blair Mountain.

Today is the last day (Oct 26) you can send an email to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places ( if you wish to Blair Mountain protected and registered as a Historic Place.

*UPDATE (11/13/17)

Twenty days later YouTube has now restored the video. This is great news. But it is important to note that (1) it is no longer as relevant as it was 20 days earlier when first uploaded and (2) when it was taken down it killed momentum the video was building. At the time it was getting over 80 unique views an hour and growing (significant especially for a small channel like mine).

Sadly, the video remains removed by Facebook.

I gave them the same information I gave Youtube...

Matt Orfalea makes videos on Youtube and writes on Medium.
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