Cobb cites YouTube star in business license case

January 19, 2017
Marietta, GA

By Doug Richards, WXIA

MARIETTA, GA -- A YouTube star and Cobb County are at odds over the star's business location. The county has cited Justin Chandler for running a business out of a residence. His business is playing video games and putting it on YouTube.

In late October, a video appeared on YouTube showing off the new Atlanta home of a group called Team Kaliber. Team Kaliber uploads video of its members playing a video game called Call of Duty.

It’s part of an emerging video trend where gamers show themselves playing video games. Some get hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers – with moneymaking potential in clicks and ads and swag sold on the Team Kaliber store.

"I also make gaming videos and all kinds of videos that I film in my home right here in Atlanta, and I upload 'em to YouTube, in this house I live in with a bunch of my friends who do the exact same thing," Chandler says in a Youtube video.

On Jan. 10, a Cobb County code enforcement officer cited Justin Chandler for illegally running a business out of his house, saying that the “videos he makes for income can be considered business activity” made with business equipment.

Chandler argues otherwise – in a video he posted to YouTube. "This extremely unique and rare scenario poses the question: [Does] filming and uploading YouTube videos from your home constitute the home as a business?” he asks. “Does it matter how many views I have or how much income I make from it? Because to be honest, I do the same thing millions of other Americans do.”

Chandler declined comment when contacted by 11Alive News.

Legal analyst Phil Holloway says it’s about whether it’s a commercial enterprise operating in a residential area.

"There's nothing wrong or illegal with simply monetizing a YouTube account," said 11Alive legal analyst Phil Holloway. "But when you take it to the level of making it a business enterprise which they’ve apparently allegedly held themselves out to be, that’s where it can become a problem and in violation of the code."

Cobb County also cited the home for having too many unrelated adults occupying a single family home. Cobb officials say Chandler subsequently applied for a business license. He hasn't been penalized, but Cobb officials have asked him to apply for a land use permit to avoid any further trouble.

(© 2017 WXIA)