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YouTubers hit with wave of copyright claims

YouTubers hit with wave of copyright claims

Wed 11 Dec 2013 12:20pm GMT / 7:20am EST / 4:20am PST
PublishingDevelopmentMarketing

New measures spell trouble for monetisation on user-created videos, several publishers distance themselves from crackdown

YouTubers have reported a dramatic spike in the number of copyright claims made against their videos this week, as YouTube implements new measures to stamp out copyright violations on the site.

The news that YouTube was planning to crack down on videos using copyrighted images and music emerged at the end of last week, but the new measures weren't expected until early next year.

However, according to a number of sources - many of which have clustered on the NeoGaf forum - YouTubers are already seeing a huge increase in the volume of copyright claims made against their videos on behalf of game companies. The ramifications for YouTubers - an increasingly popular and lucrative sector of the games press - could be severe, as a copyright claim effectively prevents the uploader from monetising their content.

One popular YouTube channel, Force Strategy Gaming, published a video criticising the "content ID sweep" that has taken place this week. In just a few days, the number of copyright claims received in the history of the channel have doubled, "and it seems like every time I refresh the page a couple more pop up."

Force highlighted game trailers, game music and in-game cut-scenes as "the biggest offenders" for those making the claims, with even videos containing just a few seconds from a trailer called into question and stripped of their monetisation potential. Force claimed that a certain amount of copyright material is classified as "fair use", but he predicted that these stricter enforcement policies could have a huge impact on YouTubers specialising in "Let's Play" videos - a very popular new form widely regarded as beneficial to the products it critiques.

"I do this full-time, and put out the amount and quality of content that I do because I make money off of it," Force said. "If I didn't make money, I couldn't do that. I put in 50 to 60 hours a week, every single week, and I work seven days a week... That's the thing to remember. I know some people hate that people make money from YouTube, but it contributes to the quality that you see on YouTube, because the [monetisation] allows us to do it full-time."

Earlier this week, CramGaming published an article explaining that, next year, YouTube would start pre-screening videos when they are first published, before any monetisation can take place. Until now, major networks like Machinima were able to bypass these checks, which were still implemented randomly for videos uploaded by individuals, who had to seek permission directly from the copyright holder.

However, not all publishers seem to agree with the new policies. Capcom published a tweet indicating that some part of the flood of new copyright claims may be "illegitimate," and Blizzard beseeched YouTubers to context any claims made, "so that we can quickly approve them."

This morning, Ubisoft issued a note to the press stating that new claims have been made against videos featuring its games due to a system that "auto-matches" audio against its own digital music catalogue. Ubisoft is endeavouring to resolve these claims on the same day it receives notice of each incident, and reiterated that its policies allow people to make and monetise bespoke videos based on its game content.

15 Comments

Steven Hodgson
Programmer

77 111 1.4
First it was piracy damaging games, now apparently its YouTube

Posted:4 months ago

#1

Anthony Gowland
Lead Designer

155 428 2.8
claims made against their videos on behalf of game companies
So is it the publishers that are making the claims, or is it one of those dumb "pay us and we'll run our software to throw takedown notices all over the place" companies like Degban?

Posted:4 months ago

#2
so basically the whole problem is simply YouTube implemented new measures to stamp out copyright violations on the site and it is over doing it .

Posted:4 months ago

#3

Ruud Van De Moosdijk
VP of Development

40 45 1.1
I honestly don't know any developer or publisher who objects to Lets Play videos. None.

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Pablo Santos
Developer

23 18 0.8
My 2 cents is that this is a bit more of a complex scenario.
While big film and music producers are strongly against use of copyrighted material in uploaded movies, most game publishers and small film/music producers are not. In fact, some musicians rely entirely on Youtube to advertise their work.
Fine tuning a process that automatically matches uploaded material according to a given context is not a trivial thing to do. =)

Posted:4 months ago

#5

Graheme Wilson
producer

3 1 0.3
This is what you get when you automate the matching process and expect it churn out the results. I wonder which company is behind the matching? No mention of them in the article. It seems unlikely that YouTube have the necessary equipment so it points to them farming in out to someone. Perhaps a company rep knocked on YouTube's door and sold them on the system.

It would have been polite to notify the companies whose rights are alleged to have been infringed before issuing take down notices, not cool.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Graheme Wilson on 11th December 2013 10:46pm

Posted:4 months ago

#6

Rick Cody
PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
I really enjoy looking at cover performances of music and concert videos. I also enjoy quite a bit of the gaming stuff. There should be a shred monetization system though. And if there is, then I don't see a problem.

Posted:4 months ago

#7

Dirk van Wijk
Student - Computer Science (Master)

28 13 0.5
I honestly don't know any developer or publisher who objects to Lets Play videos. None.
Wasn't Nintendo doing this?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dirk van Wijk on 11th December 2013 9:01pm

Posted:4 months ago

#8

Steve Wetz
Reviewer/Assistant Editor

98 132 1.3
@Dirk,

Damn, you beat me to that one. Yes, Nintendo was in fact objecting to Let's Play videos. There was a lot of press about it at the time, which caused them to back down a little from their staunch position.

I honestly don't understand why this is even a issue. I mean, getting past the legal definition of "fair use" and the TotalBiscuit dust-up, this is basically free advertising for the games they are showing content from. Why would you want to stop that?

Posted:4 months ago

#9

Robin Clarke
Producer

275 600 2.2
@Steve Wetz: I can imagine some situations where you'd want to reserve the right to stop content being used, but those would be extreme cases rather than the norm.

Posted:4 months ago

#10

Craig Page
Programmer

381 216 0.6
I think rather than removing all of these videos, we should just imprison everyone who takes glorious 1080p content and records it on their crappy shaky cell phone at 480p to later be uploaded to YouTube. I think five years of hard labor in Sibera for every offence sounds about right.

Posted:4 months ago

#11

Jason Kingsley
CEO and Creative Director

9 13 1.4
This is Rebellion's response. In summary we're OK with you making videos of our games, just not OK with you promoting cracked copies.

http://www.rebellion.co.uk/blog/2013/12/11/rebellion-and-youtube

Posted:4 months ago

#12

Jed Ashforth
Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group

90 140 1.6
"...this is basically free advertising for the games they are showing content from. Why would you want to stop that?"

@Steve - Something worth considering perhaps is that Let's Play videos seem to be very popular among people who want to see the game, be able to enter into discussion about it, but don't care enough to pay for it in money or time. I hear 'I'll skip that game and watch it on YouTube' all the time in my gaming circles these days.

There's too many good games out there to buy them all and play them all but it doesn't mean players aren't interested in seeing that content for free even if they're not playing it. Big budget, low-agency titles like Beyond, Last of Us etc are often 50% cutscene anyway, if narrative is your focus then it's not like players are always going to be missing out on much meaningful interaction.

20 second clips of game footage where something interesting happens is a different proposition to seeing 5 /10 minutes of it, or even a full playthrough of a game where every gameplay choice and cutscene are laid bare for anyone who can't be bothered playing.

Whether stopping that is ever going to translate to increased sales is another question, but it's not hard to see how for many gamers, this is no different to watching a sketchy download of a great movie. The user experience is much less enjoyable, for sure, but it's timely and convenient and you're still getting to see all the surprises without paying. It's not hard to see how content creators could see that as giving too much of their creativity away for free.

Posted:4 months ago

#13

Steve Wetz
Reviewer/Assistant Editor

98 132 1.3
Something worth considering perhaps is that Let's Play videos seem to be very popular among people who want to see the game, be able to enter into discussion about it, but don't care enough to pay for it in money or time.
This seems like the crowd that is more likely to pirate or simply not buy. I seriously doubt that Let's Play videos are causing a decrease in sales - anyone who would rather watch a Let's Play than buy your game was probably not a paying customer to begin with.

Posted:4 months ago

#14

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