If you've missed the news about alternate fuel vehicle brand Nikola, it's been quite a wild ride. The company has been exposed for being a Theranos-level fraud in all aspects. The design of their flagship truck was stolen from the 2010 concept by designer Adriano Mudri, who is now the head designer for the Croatian automaker Rimac. This is following a lawsuit against Tesla, claiming the company stole the design from them. Then, a partnership was announced with GM to produce the vehicle. Within short order, it was revealed that the sizzle video that was everywhere, showing the truck in operation was also a fraud.
Things have just gotten worse from there. The GM deal, which was supposed to be finalized this week, has not and potentially will not close at all. GM has come under fire for accidentally supporting a company that has no product and is under legal scrutiny on every front. But, it is all about that video - which has become a topic of much conversation, both in the technology space and in the investment space.
Investors are seeing another Theranos, with a founder that is under fire, and a company with high theoretical value based on nothing but lies. In discussing the topic, many commentators have included the clip of the truck rolling down the hill by gravity, which has been the center of the controversy. Including this clip is an important aspect of the news reporting, as it shows just what the company did to defraud investors and partners. However, the company has been using the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to issue takedowns against those who include the clip.
Many of the uses, including one from Sam Alexander, fall under fair use, but YouTube took the video down and hit Alexander with a copyright strike. That could ultimately affect the channel's monetization and reach, even though he did nothing wrong. Filing an invalid DMCA notice is illegal, and in Nikola's case, could also violate SEC guidelines in trying to hide fraudulent activity. Nikola founder Trevor Milton resigned as executive chairman but could be facing the same future as Elizabeth Holmes, as the cases are incredibly similar.