YouTube stick it to angry gamers and stand by copyright policy

18 Dec 2013  by   Paul Younger
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It’s taken a while but YouTube has finally issued a statement regarding the copyright claims that has been affecting gamers for the past couple of weeks.

In a note issued this evening which was posted by Kotaku, YouTube states that that their ContentID system, which seeks out copyright infringement in videos, is working as intended and has now been expanded to cover multi-channel networks (MCN).

Prolific gaming YouTubers have been upset by the stricter policies now in place with many being hit hard with content claims. In some cases more than 10%+ of their videos have been flagged for copyright reasons which means they will earn nothing from the advertising.

Many of the claims appear to be due to music included in videos, or in some cases even just music playing in the background. YouTube state that rights to audio and visuals are sometimes resold to music labels so the name on the copyright claim may not be instantly recognisable when a video is flagged. This means that it’s risky to post a video because you may think the audio/video is fine to use because it was freely distributed by a game publisher, but in fact part of the video such as the music is owned by another party who can subsequently file a complaint. This appears to be one of the most common problems at the moment since the ContentID system changed.

According to YouTube they want to “make it as easy as possible for you to act on Content ID claims”. Anyone who has used YouTube for gaming content will know that it’s not easy at all and the systems in place are  inadequate.

The comments from YouTube will not go down well with gamers creating content such as ‘Let’s Play’ videos. The removal of game audio will severely hamper the finished video and it will be harder to produce videos with free music as YouTube is now suggesting.

Despite the support of the majority of developers and videogame publishers, YouTube are not going to back down or change their ContentID system. Gaming content creators will have to either adapt to the policies or move elsewhere.

Based on the comments from YouTube, and the fact that fair use does not come into play on YouTube, I can see gamers moving on to pastures new to either share their creations for fun or make money.

YouTube have failed to realise there are flaws in their ContentID system as the Super Hexagon story posted earlier demonstrates. Even the actual game creators are being flagged for posting their own videos with music they have the rights to use. This is something we have also fallen foul of in the past with interviews containing nothing but speech between two individuals (us interviewing a developer) being flagged for copyright, a copyright which we own.

Wrapping up the message Youtube passes on a few tips.

If you’re creating videos with content from other people, remember that rights ownership can be complicated and different owners have different policies. Be aware of music. Many games allow you to turn off background music, while leaving sound effects enabled. And if you’re looking for music you can freely use (and monetize!), check out our Audio Library.

Whether gaming, music or comedy is your passion, know that we love what you do. We’ve worked hard to design Content ID and other tools to give everyone — from individual creators to media companies — the opportunity to make great videos and earn money. As YouTube grows, we want to make sure we’re providing the right product features to ensure that everyone continues to thrive.

Is this the end for gaming content on YouTube? Will this be the straw that breaks the YouTubers’ backs? The next few days could be very interesting.

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