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Developer accused of using copyright takedown to censor critic (updated)

Developer accused of using copyright takedown to censor critic (updated)

October 21, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

Update: Wild Games Studio made an apology in a statement to several news outlets, including Gamasutra. The statement reads in part: "Monetizing wasn't mentioned in our communications and it was an error on our part to not have clarified the issue. It was for that particular fact that Wild Games Studio had asked the video's removal." TotalBiscuit's original video has been restored as well.

Wild Games Studio has been accused of unlawfully using Youtube's copyright protection features to censor a highly critical review of its recently released survival game, Day One: Garry's Incident.

The popular Youtube personality John Bain, better known under the handle "TotalBiscuit," took to social media to blast the developer for submitting a copyright claim on a video review for which Bain had obtained a review code.

"It's horrendously anti-consumer. It's unquestionably censorship," Bain says in a new video uploaded in response to the takedown notice.

Wild Games Studio's position is that since the video review included ads, thus allowing Bain and his network to draw revenue from the video, the review constituted an illegal appropriation of its game's images.

"We protected out copyright because TotalBiscuit has no right to make advertising revenues with our license," studio CEO Stephane Woods said via a Steam forum post.

In response, Bain excerpts the exact email his network sent to Wild Games Studio requesting the review code, in which the network explains its policies for coverage and ad monetization, as well as Woods's reply containing the review code. Bain also points out that several other monetized videos about the game, including full Let's Plays and walkthroughs, have been allowed to remain up on Youtube.

"Isn't it... a little odd, that the only video that didn't have the right to monetize was the most viewed, top ranked, and the most highly critical of the title?" Bain questions, adding that there is no way the studio could not have been fully aware of the video long before the takedown.

Youtube's automated copyright protection feature has come under fire for facilitating abuses in the past. Most recently, Nintendo received criticism for appropriating the ad revenue of fan videos including Let's Plays.

"I'm asking [Youtube parent] Google to take a stand against censorship, as they have in the past, and take a long, hard look at their implementation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and see how it can be improved," Bain concludes in the last leg of his video.

Gamasutra has reached out to Wild Games Studio for comment.

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