Well, you could probably see this coming a mile away, but Ray William Johnson is threatening to sue his former network Maker Studios for withholding his AdSense account even after his contract expired. The trouble began back in October when Johnson left the network after he claimed Maker wanted to renegotiate his contract to make it way better for them (40% of his AdSense), and own 50% of his show "=3." When he refused, he left, and a Twitter war began. In effect, YouTube got its first real tabloid story. Now it's getting worse.
Ray William Johnson's Threat to Maker
As things happen, this was announced on Twitter:
fyi- All of my contracts with Maker Studios have expired, and theyre still refusing to give back my Adsense account. The lawsuit starts now.
— Ray William Johnson (@RayWJ) April 29, 2013
Johnson currently has the 2nd-most subscribed channel, recently zipped past by the ridiculously popular SMOSH channel. It's in danger of being 3rd since Jenna Marbles is right on his heels, but when you have over 8.5 million subs, does it matter? He's got one of the top 3 channels on all of YouTube. It goes without saying that the AdSense account is significant.
This is a pretty important story for everyone who is involved with a network. Because the business of online video is relatively young, and the payouts can be alien to those who are used to a weekly paycheck, it's hard to know the right thing to do. It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out and whether changes will be made because of it.