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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
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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