A critic of ‘property guru’ Samuel Leeds has had his YouTube channel disabled by the video platform following complaints made by both Leeds and his partner, Amanda.
The pair complained to YouTube that clips taken from Leeds’ videos and used by Andrew Burgess in his own productions were an infringement of their copyright.
YouTube concurred and has deleted Burgess’ account including all his content because ‘one or more of your videos contained copyright material’. The platform has told Burgess that ‘copyright owners can choose to issue legal complaints that require YouTube to take down videos that contain their content’ and that ‘when you have three or more copyright strikes your account can be disabled’.
Burgess is one of many YouTubers who have used video clips from material published by Leeds to highlight their criticisms of his business model, personal wealth claims and ongoing assertions that students can attain financial freedom with little or no money via property investment.
Leeds has been investigated by several national newspapers including after Danny Butcher, one of his former students, took his own life after falling further into debt after paying substantial sums to attend a course run by Leeds’ company, Property Investors.
But in recent months the property guru has been on the front foot, publishing dozens of ‘crash course’ videos as well as sending legal letters to publishers, campaigners, YouTubers and forum moderators via his legal representatives, Ellisons.
“I have appealed the YouTube ban claiming ‘fair use’ and am waiting to hear but I don’t hold out much hope that they’ll reinstate my account,” says Burgess (pictured).
“I’ve lit the touch paper with my efforts and now many other people are looking more closely at how Leeds runs his business, so my work on YouTube is done.
“Leeds has tried everything including reporting me to the police and four sets of legal letters, all of which have not come to much, but I can’t fight an unaccountable platform like YouTube once they decide to take content down.”
Burgess, who also runs a Facebook page that is a discussion platform on ‘property educators’ like Leeds, says he recently won a victory of sorts after referring Ellisons to the Solicitors Regulation Authority following multiple threatening letters from the firm, one of which gave him less than the SRA’s suggested 14 days replay period to respond.
“They gave me ten days to reply to a pretty robust letter which the SRA has agreed was not a long enough period, particularly given it was over the Christmas period when law firms were closed. The SRA has raised their concerns over this with Ellisons.”