Zoie Burgher, a banned Twitch streamer who is making big waves on YouTube, might soon have to take down most of her channel thanks to a cease and desist. Burgher, who is known for twerking during Call of Duty killcams and calling herself a "bikini streamer", often brands herself with Zoidberg, a lobster alien character from Futurama. Her online handle is a reference to Zoidberg. Her overlays on YouTube streams have a small Zoidberg displayed during gameplay, on the bottom left. She calls her fanbase "Zoidberg Nation".
Over the last few weeks, Burgher's channel gained hundreds of thousands of subscribers on YouTube thanks in part to controversy regarding her attire during streams. It seems that Fox — who owns Futurama — was among the entities who took notice of Burgher. In an email shared with Kotaku by Burgher, Fox is demanding that Burgher stop using Zoidberg, as the association "creates consumer confusion because users encountering it will assume that Fox sponsors, endorses, or authorizes the use of the Fox IP or the content of your channel, when neither is true".
Fox says that Burgher may have to pay "statutory damages up to $150,000 [$AU197,745] per copyright infringed", along with any of her profits and Fox's attorney fees. On Twitter, Burgher says this may cost her around $US1.2 million ($1.5 million), though it's not clear on whether Fox will actually go after the money or not.
As a part of the cease and desist, Fox wants Burgher to "permanently remove all references to Futurama" from her YouTube channel, along with all of her social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. We asked Burgher what she plans to do next, but she did not respond in time for publication. Presumably, this would mean taking most of her videos down, and losing all the millions of views they have already accrued. Fox would be within its rights, of course, though Burgher's story is still unusual in that, well, lots of people use images/sounds they don't own during streams, be it in overlays surrounding the gameplay or during pop-ups signalling new subscribers.
"I am utterly disgusted," Burgher tweeted. "Apparently they weren't fans of my
#NudesAt1Mill campaign," she said, presumably in reference to her plan to release nude pictures of herself to the public when she reaches a million YouTube subscribers.
Since the cease and desist, it appears that Burgher has indeed stopped using the Zoidberg in her streams, though there are still videos on her channel that feature Zoidberg.
We reached out to Fox for comment but had not received a response at time of writing.