YouTube’s recent copyright crackdown has generated a ton of controversy over the last few weeks, with many coming down on the side of the gamers. This, of course, is in staunch opposition to the copyright holders and YouTube, who has since issued its own public statement.
The YouTube copyright issue has generated so much buzz that even popular faces in the media are weighing on the topic. One such face being Clerks director Kevin Smith.
In an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos, Smith voiced his support for the various YouTubers out there that have been hit with copyright claims. Specifically, Smith highlighted video makers known as Let’s Play-ers, gamers who create video walkthroughs and gameplay videos.
“On YouTube they are starting to cull all these video game clips.YouTube are starting to pull back on the freedom of expression that people have been enjoying. Now video game companies are jumping into the fray on behalf of the kids [content creators] saying, let them run these clips. Let them have fun. These kids are not hurting anyone.”
While many of these videos have existed on YouTube for months, or even years, it appears that the proverbial party has ended. The copyright claims tend to vary, but the most common occurrences are music rights claims from various license holders.
See, although a game developer acquires proper rights for music, those rights don’t always extend past the game itself. In other words, someone who captures footage while playing a game and tries to make money off that footage isn’t just using a publisher’s copyrighted property.
As far as the claims, some developers (Ubisoft and Deep Silver, among others) have come out to say they won’t pursue these copyright claims and encourage the video creators to dispute the claims. In this case, the copyright claim is triggered by YouTube’s automatic Content ID match service. Other claims, however, are from music rights holders as mentioned, and these videos will likely have a hard time earning back their monetization privileges.
And although there is no easy solution for those gamers who wish to continue making money off Let’s Play videos, one non-profit resource, “WhoLetsPlay,” has emerged that could help gamers navigate these tricky waters.
Defender’s Quest developer Lars Doucet started the resource, which gives gamers an easy reference guide for how to avoid these copyright claims. It explains why these copyright claims are coming through, and it gives gamers a place to badge musicians/music labels as Let’s Play friendly or not. The resource, which currently calls WhoLetsPlay.com home, is still growing, but those who need some help should head there first.
Clearly, the YouTube copy right conversation is only just beginning, as more industry veterans, and even some outsiders, weigh in on the issue. We’ll keep you posted as the saga of YouTube copyright continues.
Do you agree with Kevin Smith? Have you found any success fighting a copyright claim?