Former “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels is celebrating a $US5.8 million win in her legal battle with Lionsgate that could have implications for the future of free videos on YouTube.
Originally filing in 2015, Michaels sued Lionsgate for posting her workouts for free on its YouTube channel, Befit. She argued that because the workouts were offered for free, her fans would be less likely to pay for her content in the future.
On Wednesday, an arbitrator agreed and awarded Michaels about $US5.8 million from Lionsgate for lost past and potential future profits. And Lionsgate was ordered to cover attorneys’ fees and arbitration costs.
“This is an important decision for not just me, but for all experts, artists, and content creators finding their work devalued and revenue lost in this digital age,” Michaels told Business Insider in an exclusive statement on Thursday.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to provide healthy lifestyle content to the masses through digital media and want it to be accessible and affordable for fans,” the fitness guru added. “It is a win for the consumer and the experts and how I hope the digital media landscape can continue to evolve.”
She created the streaming network FitFusion, which allows members to view all of her fitness content, as well as that of many other fitness experts.
Michaels’ attorney, Richard Busch, called Michaels’ win a “landmark” ruling, since it could affect how companies promote, share, and licence content in the future in addition to protecting the talent.
“This decision represents a firm pronouncement that placing work on YouTube for free devalues it, and damages artists, like Jillian, who created it,” Busch told The Tennessean newspaper.
Lionsgate didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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