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 World of Tanks  dev apologizes for threatening YouTuber with a takedown

World of Tanks dev apologizes for threatening YouTuber with a takedown

May 23, 2017 | By Alex Wawro

The folks at World of Tanks dev Wargaming published a statement today on the "SirFoch Incident" in which they apologize for threatening to have a YouTuber's video taken down via a copyright infringement complaint, promising to "grow and improve."

If you're a dev who works with YouTubers and you're not up on what's up with the "SirFoch Incident," here's why it's notable: YouTuber SirFoch published a video on Friday (since taken down but reposted on another channel) in which he exuberantly criticized a recently-added in-game tank that can be purchased for as much as $80.

As Kotaku recounts, SirFoch -- a member of Wargaming's YouTuber community partner program -- said he was later contacted by a Wargaming representative about the video. In the course of that conversation (which SirFoch produced screenshots of) the YouTuber was reportedly told he would be removed from Wargaming's YouTuber program -- and that Wargaming would lodge a copyright infringement claim against his negative video if SirFoch didn't take it down himself.

SirFoch then took the video in question down and published a second one that aimed to explain the whole situation from his perspective. Debates about the whole affair sprung up both among other YouTubers and other World of Tanks players, with Wargaming itself issuing a statement to Kotaku over the weekend that it was standing by its decision to pressure SirFoch because the video in question contained "profane language" as well as "hate speech and homophobic slurs."

"We regret having to go to such extreme measures in SirFoch’s case, but we also don’t consider those measures to be censorship because we weren’t trying to silence SirFoch’s opinion, we were simply seeking to curb the extremely profane language of a member of our contributor program," Wargaming previously stated. "SirFoch’s latest claim that we’re somehow prohibiting him from making future videos involving our games is completely false – he’s more than welcome to make more Wargaming-related videos. If those videos continue to include hate speech and homophobic slurs, we’ll take the necessary and appropriate action.”  

While copyright enforcement is often a balancing act for devs, it seems that Wargaming has since decided that citing copyright over a video expressing an opinion was perhaps beyond the pale. In today's statement, Wargaming recants and says that, after further review of the incident, " We acted too quickly and over the line when we threatened to have YouTube remove SirFoch’s video through a copyright infringement complaint."

"Our official position is that Wargaming will not take copyright action against opinions based on our publicly released content," the statement continues."Over the weekend we released a statement to some media outlets regarding the content of SirFoch’s video that inferred that SirFoch’s videos contained hate speech and homophobia. While we would obviously not want such content to be associated with any of our games – this video clearly did not. We apologize for this statement, and we don't stand behind those claims."

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