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Copyright crackdown, as thousands of game videos are yanked from YouTube
December 11, 2013 | By Mike Rose

December 11, 2013 | By Mike Rose
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    15 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Video



Player-created videos on YouTube have been subject to copyright crackdowns in the past, but not on the scale we've seen lately.

YouTubers this week are pointing to what appears to be the largest crackdown to date, with reports of thousands of videos being flagged over the last few days for alleged copyright violations.

The copyright claims revolve around YouTube's Content ID system, which copyright holders can use to automatically identify videos that include their own material. Videos that contain game trailer, cutscenes from games, and music from games appear to be getting hit hard by the flagging system.

YouTubers are currently able to record footage of video games, whether it be them playing the game and providing commentary, or simply showing a trailer and talking about it, and monetize these videos to essentially earn a living from recording game videos.

Companies like Nintendo have attempted to crack down on this behavior in the past, saying that showing game images and videos of a certain length breached its copyright.

Now, numerous companies have put forward their stances on the monetization of YouTube footage of their games. Ubisoft, for example, highlighted its own policy on YouTube videos, and Capcom urged YouTubers to let them know if they believe a video has been flagged illegitimately.

Meanwhile, the Twitter accounts for specific games like Blizzard's Diablo III and StarCraft II tell YouTubers to simply contest copyright claims, so that they can get back to monetizing again.

The cuts appears to be continuing today, and will no doubt rumble on -- although YouTube itself has not posted any information with regards to why this sudden outburst has occurred.

UPDATE: When reached for comment, a YouTube spokesperson said only that the Content ID scanning system has been expanded to include multi-channel networks -- like Machinima -- and their affiliates, which could account for the uptick in copyright claims. The full statement reads as follows:

"We recently enabled Content ID scanning on channels identified as affiliates of MCNs. This has resulted in new copyright claims for some users, based on policies set by the relevant content owners. As ever, channel owners can easily dispute Content ID claims if they believe those claims are invalid."

Game companies continue to publish official responses to YouTuber complaints. The latest comes from Deep Silver, who claims to be "working with YouTube to resolve various issues that have plagued the YouTube gaming community this week." The company also encourages fans to contest copyright claims on footage of Deep Silver titles and send a link to the offending video to the official @deepsilver Twitter account.


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Comments


Wyatt Epp
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"...simply contest copyright claims..." Because Youtube's review process is transparent and fair, right? Does contesting a claim successfully even remove the strike from your account? I recall hearing that among the laundry list of common complaints.

This is made even worse by Youtube's account banning process which destroys all of a user's videos AND even the metadata regarding what it WAS (title, summary, comments, etc.). The number of mysterious dead links I've been finding has only been increasing with time.

Kevin Fishburne
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The content matching stuff is bullshit half the time. Try using music from the Open Goldberg Variations in one of your videos. It's public domain, so why was it marked as copyrighted in the first place? It's a damn mess.

E Zachary Knight
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I heard about this from the Jimquisition this morning. This is pretty insane. I think this is absolutely insane that game *trailers* are resulting in copyright claims. Those are the things that game companies should *want* to go viral and get blasted all over the internet. Yet, the idiot in charge still want to maintain absolute control over them. This is also setting aside the fact that game companies *pay* millions of dollars to get those trailers aired on television, yet here they are fighting the free promotion of those game trailers.

The music situation is also insane. One would think that the game company would have the only right to dispute the inclusion of the music, but sadly, that is not how music licensing works. The number of people, organizations and companies that can lay claim to music is mind boggling.

I would like to thank, once again, Lars Doucet for his effort in putting together a list of game companies that allow YouTube monetization.

http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/1egayn/

Lars Doucet
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Thanks :) The reddit list hasn't been updated in forever since I'm the bottleneck on that, so I migrated it to a wiki. Link is in my comment below.

Dane MacMahon
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I can understand a publisher going after a full "let's play" of a recent game, but going nuclear like this is just insanely dumb. They're more focused on control than they are profit and success.

Alex Covic
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This lives and breaths the 20th century notion of legal frenzy EULAs ("don't copy, publish, record, reproduce,...") of the movie and music industry, combined with the neurosis of wanting to "control" their brand & products in the age of Twitch TV and YouTube.

The stupidity aside, that publishers think, they are making "more" (or "better"?!) money, by not having free advertisement & their content widely seen and known, it is coherent in a legal sense, what they are trying to do? No matter, how stupid it seems.

Google is not a "player" in this. It has to comply to legal threats due to the DMCA. If you read on the takedown wars of the last 2-3 years, it is getting worse and worse. Up to 6-7 million takedown requests a week*

*) http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/copyright/

Lars Doucet
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Given this minefield, it's helpful for those of us developers who feel otherwise to make known where we stand on this. There's been plenty of cases where a developer has explicitly allowed Let's Plays, but Google didn't believe the LP'er because there was no explicit permission given on their site.

If you're a like-minded developer, add your name to this list, and link to your permission form:
http://letsplaylist.wikia.com/wiki/%22Let%27s_Play%22-friendly_de
velopers_Wiki

EDIT:
Whoa! Got some retweets from TotalBiscuit AND NorthernLion. And now we're a hashtag! #WhoLetsPlay
https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=%23wholetsplay

Kevin Fishburne
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Not that this will make a difference because the 99% don't give a crap (or most likely have no idea what's happening), but stop buying games from publishers/studios with hostile or otherwise disagreeable policies. The reason companies use dirty tactics is because they know they can get away with it. Punish them, and let them know why. The same thing happens with politicians, small children, pets (well, dogs, anyway), etc. Give them an inch...

Michael Wenk
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I don't think its completely true that this won't cause the games publishers problems. I don't see many players that look at game mag reviews anymore, nor do I think many people pay a whole lot of attention to things like metacritic. What people do these days is pay attention to is their friends. What this will do is cause the sharers to think twice before sharing. I mean why bother putting something out there if its gonna get a take down notice in a few hrs. So the whole word of mouth thing will drop a lot. I think in the end, they'll hurt themselves more than they'll hurt anyone trying to make a living out of posting game play vids to youtube...

Cordero W
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Welp, looks like I won't be able to learn hard combos in my favorite fighting games anymore.

John Millard
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On the up side indie games become a more attractive prospect for Lets Play videos because the developers aren't batshit crazy and love free promotion.

Jonathan Murphy
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In the traditional way you need millions of dollars. Games like Lost Planet spent $20 million advertising! So a person is making $500-$5,000 a month showing off our content. That's dirt cheap to the traditional method. Why are companies like Nintendo relevant? YOUTUBE!

Social media has bridged the gap between genders, races and ages. It's bringing people together to buy our products.

Joe Zachery
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Really it took Youtube to keep Nintendo relevant LOL

Jonathan Murphy
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Travel back to 2008. This is when streaming and YouTube started to take off. I remember how Mario Party After Dark, 72 hour Zelda Marathon, Chugga Conroy, and even EVO2k with SSBB not only kept Nintendo relevant, they grew their popularity to insane levels. Without people like the Angry Video Game Nerd, Let's Players we wouldn't have grown so much. I saw more people from all walks of life appear on the scene than ever before.

People attribute this growth to motion controls. I argue differently. The internet happened. To abandon this would be madness.

Joe Zachery
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Can people please post links to videos that have been removed! I have been hit with this copyright, and all I have done is lost the right to profit from the video. Which is the complaint I have heard from most Youtubers. Their video is still only, but they can't make money on the video. So please I would like to know if people are really getting their videos removed.


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