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YouTube Video Criticizing Benny Hinn Survives Takedown Request

Mike Winger says he followed the fair use doctrine.

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A four-hour long video critiquing the teachings of Benny Hinn by Bible teacher Mike Winger has survived an attempt by Hinn’s ministry and others to have it removed from YouTube.

Screenshot of YouTube Video by Mike Winger titled “Benny Hinn is Trying to Silence Me. I Won’t Back Down”

The documentary titled, “The Victims of Benny Hinn: 30 Years of Spiritual Deception” uses video clips of Hinn that a complaint submitted to YouTube alleged constituted “copyright infringement.”

However, Winger says he followed the principles of fair use. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports.”

YouTube agreed with Winger. Its notice to Winger stated, “We believe your content is protected by fair use, or a similar exception to copyright protection. We are writing to let you know we do NOT plan to remove your video(s) this time.”

The notice from YouTube indicated that the request for removal had come from Hinn’s ministry.

Winger obtained a copy of the original takedown request from Benny Hinn Ministries. It said, “The video in question from the YouTube user Mike Winger is over four hours long with our content being used throughout the entirety of the video,” and then provided time stamps.

Winger said Hinn’s complaint was not “in good faith” because it misrepresented his use of Hinn’s video.

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The provided time stamps made it appear “as if I used their content for six straight minutes when I didn’t,” Winger said. “I used it interspersed during that six-minute section.”

Another complaint against his video appears to have come from Jesus Image, a ministry in Florida led by Jessica and Michael Koulianos, Benny Hinn’s daughter and son-in-law.

On April 2, Winger posted on X that Jesus Image had made an “unjust” copyright claim against his video about Hinn. “[I] believe they are currently abusing YouTube’s automated copyright system to subvert fair use law,” he wrote.

On April 4, Winger wrote on X that Jesus Image had dropped the claim.

In a statement to The Roys Report, who reported this story last week, Jesus Image said YouTube automatically generated a copyright claim, but that once it came to the ministry’s attention, they “dropped the claim.”

As the video title indicates, the documentary is critical of Benny Hinn’s ministry. Winger told TRR that he didn’t intend the video to be four hours long, but once he started researching more, he felt the length was justified.

“Hinn is abusing biblical teaching in order to manipulate people to give money to his ministry while making promises in the name of God that God doesn’t make,” Winger said.

Winger has been an ordained minister since 2006. He trained at the Calvary Chapel School of Ministry in Costa Mesa, California. As the main teacher on his website BibleThinker.org, Winger claims to teach accurate theology, defend a Biblical worldview, and apply biblical teaching to life.

This is not Winger’s first time to face copyright challenges against his YouTube videos.

In 2021, Winger posted a video analyzing a sermon by Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church.

According to a video he posted on YouTube, Winger said Lakewood Church made a copyright claim on his video and collected the ad revenue for a few months. Winger said he didn’t care.

Then a few months later, Winger says the church had the video removed from YouTube for copyright issues. Winger said he tried to reach out to staff at Lakewood Church, but had no success.

That experience led Winger to consult with two copyright attorneys to learn more about the fair use doctrine.

“I tried to be very careful and strategic in how I used the video clips of Hinn and how often I would interrupt it,” Winger said.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a freelance writer who holds a Juris Doctorate from Baylor University. She has home schooled her three children and is happily married to her husband of 25 years.