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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Youtube's newest copyright infringement policy (and how it effects you)

If you haven't heard, Youtube put up this new system (or software, I'm not really a tech savant) that is basically a blanket that flags videos that have certain content pertaining to a game developer. That means that any gaming channel that has footage, music or even pictures of a video game can be flagged and now owned by the company that made the actual product. Many gaming developers have come forward and said they haven't done this and have never made any requests to have this done, eluding to Youtube being its sole proprietor of this entire new system. Worse yet, Youtube will not take any emails or even tweets by the people on their website that use their videos as revenue. So that means that a multitude of your favorite Youtube personalities (whether they be Gaijin Goombah, MatPat13, Angry Joe, PewDiePie, LORE and perhaps even AVGN as well as a bunch of other channels I have not mentioned) will basically be out of the job, not making money and therefore have little to no incentive to continue making videos. The sweep is supposed to cut down on people uploading full videos and full songs but is not targeting only those but simple game footage channels as well as reviews featuring clips from the game itself and possibly even walkthroughs.

The system came about around a year ago and has been met with controversy since by apparently actually flagging a video because it had bird calls in it as a copyright violation. Apart from the frustration this will cause everyone, Youtube is basically washing their hands of this entire affair when no one else is actually in favor of this.

-What does this mean for me? (a person who reviews games on a Google owned site but who doesn't use videos or clips or even pictures of said games): Virtually nothing... as far as I can tell. This system is targeting sounds, videos and possibly even pictures. I, and others like me, will hopefully remain generally unaffected by this bill other than to be hurt by watching so many good channels go under should this system continue to run rampant.

-What does this mean for you? (reader/watcher/purveyor of gaming Youtube channels): Videos, and perhaps even channels, will be unwatchable. For special people like Angry Joe who have their own websites, they will possibly be able to have life away from Youtube, but their main source of revenue is Youtube so they may cancel all their videos in order to pay for their everyday lives by getting 'normal' jobs. In lay-men's terms, we may see the end of the gaming channel as we know it.

-What does this mean for those channel owners listed before?: They will be hit the hardest. Like I've said, they will lose money, lose traffic, lose views and eventually even their jobs. What was once an almost limitless economy for them, in the sense they couldn't really be fired, will now shatter. They could continue to do this as a hobby, but most of them are expected to fall due to the time and effort it takes to make those videos (editing, set up etc). This may even go further to companies like Machinima. I don't know how far this is, which is why I mentioned LORE and AVGN which uses music from the game's opening and uses games for companies that may not even exist anymore. The main problem with this is that it doesn't discriminate how much of the video was used from the company or the music etc., it gives 100% of the money to that company or companies in some cases.

-What can we do?: The best thing to do is generate buzz for this. Word of mouth may seem small, but just commenting on a video, telling your friends and even emails could be our saving grace. Email the developers asking perhaps what can you do, email Google and tell them how you feel (if they read only one email, it could make the difference). The worst thing you can do is ignore this problem completely, because it effects us all.

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