Wild Games Studios accused of censorship

TotalBiscuit issues response after YouTube review removed over copyright issues

The popular YouTube games critic John Bain has accused Wild Games Studio of using copyright protection to censor one of his videos.

Bain, who assumes the moniker "TotalBiscuit" on his wildly popular YouTube channel, uploaded a video challenging Wild Games after his review of Day One: Garry's Incident was removed.

Wild Games claimed that Bain's decidedly negative review included advertising, and therefore amounted to Bain profiting from the studio's IP - a similar stance to that taken by Nintendo over Let's Play videos for Luigi's Mansion 2.

However, Bain's response accused Wild Games of attempting to censor negative comment on Day One through abuse of YouTube's automated copyright protection features.

"Critique and review are protected by U.S. fair use doctrine, and rightfully so," Bain said. "The idea that you could use copyright law as a spear to attack those who are criticising you is an affront to free speech and freedom of the press. It's horrendously anti-consumer. It's unquestionably censorship."

Bain believes that it is "unthinkable" that Wild Games Studio could have been mistaken as to the way he intended to use and monetise the video content - it was clearly stated in a standard e-mail requesting review code, to which Wild Games responded quickly and without argument. TotalBiscuit has produced more than 500 videos of this type, and this is the first case of anyone resorting to copyright protection.

Bain also highlighted a number of other monetised YouTube videos, some of which saw Day One in a more positive light, all of which were still available to watch.

"Isn't it, therefore, a little odd that the only video that mysteriously didn't have the right to monetise was the most viewed, top ranked and was highly critical of the title."

In the wake of Bain's response, Wild Games issued a response to several press outlets that read: ""Monetising 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 review has been restored to YouTube.

Thanks, Gamasutra.

Latest comments (9)

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
This are the kind of things that, (when confirmed, of course) cause me to loose interest in a game. It's good that everything was solved in the end.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development4 years ago
Been following this as I've been jealously trying to get TB to cover Combat Monsters for ages.

I've made a few PR howlers in my time, but this whole debacle has been an object lesson in how to turn the internet against you. Surely TB's outspoken and frank manner would be clue enough not to provoke him like this. A true popcorn moment.
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Del Hartin Senior Designer, NaturalMotion4 years ago
Don't look at metacritic, Wild Games. Just don't look.
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Show all comments (9)
Steven Wemyss Senior QA Engineer, Avalanche Studios4 years ago
Oh they're also accused of trying to rig the user reviews on Metacritic as well...
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Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital4 years ago
Just had a quick look on the Metacritic site, looks like the positive reviews have been removed. Says there are 57 positive reviews but they do not get listed when you click on the link,
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Tyler Moore Game Designer & Unity Developer 4 years ago
Trying to destroy someone's livelihood by abusing the youtube copyright system is a despicable way to do business. Good marketing can never save a poor game.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
@Steven Wemyss

That would not be the first time I see a company trying to do that.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
@Tyler Moore

Sad thing is that it actually can give that game a lot of sales, although most of companies do not seem to keep in mind how that will hit their reputation.

For example: I am a big fan of the Borderlands franchise that no longer trusts Gearbox after their Duke Nukem Forever + Alien Colonial Marines fiasco.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.4 years ago
Legal departments often jump into action without consulting the rest of the company. I've seen many times where this caused panic not just by the accused IP violators but from the IP creators too. But after checking the MetaCritic and GameRankings scores, panic probably ensued long before the legal department got involved.
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