Another Monday, Another Copyright Claim

YouTube’s broken copyright system is nothing new.

We’re all well aware of how ContentID is an overzealous automated system that flags content regardless of circumstance, sometimes to the point of claiming somebody’s original music on behalf of an unrelated company that has NO claim to the original work. We know how the “takedown” system allows companies to silence critics and abuse DMCA rules for the pursuit of grudges.

It throws open the floor for a lot of debate. What classifies as Fair Use? Do copyright laws need updating? At what point does gameplay footage qualify as theft of intellectual property? Should it ever?

The irony of these discussions is that they focus almost entirely on Let’s Plays – videos that feature a personality playing and commenting on whole segments of games. In my experience, it’s rarely the Let’s Play material that gets claimed, but the stuff that is even easier to argue as Fair Use.

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Here is the copyright infringement page of the latest Jimquisition episode – click to enlarge it, if you want!

As you can see, ContentID has worked overtime on behalf of three major corporations, allowing Konami, Sony, and Activision to each claim that my video belongs primarily to them. In fact, Konami claimed the video twice, meaning they must double-own it or something.

This is fairly common for The Jimquisition, to the point where I’m lucky it’s supported through Patreon and not commercials. If it’s not Konami, it’s Nintendo or some other company. What infuriates me in the case of both Konami and Nintendo is that they actively monetize other peoples’ videos, meaning my ad-free Jimquisitions can have commercials forced upon them to put a few extra pennies in some company’s pocket.

The Jimquisition uses publicly distributed trailer footage – footage typically handed to traditional games media for use on their own publications – as an illustrative point while criticizing the game industry. I’d argue the videos are far more transformative than any Let’s Play, and yet my “Squirty Play” series of videos don’t get anywhere near as much ContentID flagging as The Jimquisition.

I’ve seen many people defend YouTube’s system by saying that Let’s Players are lazy, that their work is not transformative enough to constitute Fair Use. Aside from the fact that’s simply not true and the sneering dismissal of Let’s Players is pathetic, it also completely ignores the fact that more than Let’s Players get hit with ridiculous claims.

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Angry Joe is known mostly for his thorough and lengthy videogame reviews. As any video-based review should, his work includes footage of the games he’s criticizing.

His struggles with ContentID are perhaps the most widely known, as his critical work is constantly flagged by Nintendo and others for alleged infringement, robbing him of the money earned from his hard work.

Meanwhile, Podquisition co-host Gavin “Miracle of Sound” Dunne has complained before about how his own original music has been flagged by some unknown company before, and most recently I was unable to monetize my gameplay of Dropsy for a time because the composer of the game’s soundtrack had no control over the company claiming his music.

I think we can all appreciate how absolutely ludicrous that is – a musician cannot stop a company he has nothing to do with claiming ownership of his material. Even Dropsy‘s publisher, Devolver Digital, proved unable to release the claim. Only the claimant could, which it eventually did.

Dropsy was a rarity for my productions. The vast majority of my 389 Squirty Play videos have remained untouched by ContentID.

By comparison, The Jimquisition – my videos with the highest original material, production value, time and effort spent – are flagged on a regular basis with only a fraction of the uploads.

This is not to say Let’s Plays don’t have to struggle with the constant copyright battle, of course they do. In fact, the bigger the Let’s Player, the more likely it is some third party chancer will try and ride the money train.

Simply focusing on Let’s Play as the sole subject of the discussion, however, does a disservice to all the others fighting the bullshit, and fails to adequately frame exactly how dreadful ContentID is as a system.

The fact three different companies can claim they own my video because I used trailer footage as part of industry criticism is fucking laughable. The fact Konami even wants to claim cash for it is grotesque.

ContentID is a piece of shit, and it affects a wide variety of videos in all sorts of utterly nonsensical ways.

But that’s Monday for you. Another Monday, another claim.

 

Milos
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Milos

I suggest that prior to starting of your videos you advise your viewers to get and activate Adblock Plus. 🙂 Problem solved.

Jan Smejkal
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Jan Smejkal

How about crowdfunding money for a legal battle? I’d give you some.

SamJ
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SamJ

YouTube should have never offered the ability to let companies monetize on other people’s videos. That’s basically theft in a lot of instances.

Steven White
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Steven White

I’m surprised nobody has sued Youtube for their broken system being key to upsetting livelihoods. Even if it didn’t work it would force them to notice it.

Or better, since the system is conveniently risk free for the claimant, someone should file a claim takedown on something Youtube itself created.

Rover86
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Rover86

Intercourse Konami AND youtube with a highly oxidized basic farming tool.

Uldi
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Uldi

I’m almost certain all these claims are coming from companies whose entire business is based around protecting the copyrights of their clients. These companies don’t give a single un-lubed sandy fuck whether the claims are legit or not. All they care about are the numbers they can show their clients. They can show that they they issued [X] number of claims over [Y] period of time, and the client claps like a demented monkey having a spasm. Youtube needs to institute a system that punishes claimants that keep making bot-driven bad claims. Something like suspending the near instant claims, and… Read more »

Oldfarticus
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Oldfarticus

The Youtube copyright system is creative abuse if you ask me. It promotes monopolies and dodgy deals with shady games coverage doers (lets not call them journalists). It is everything democracy is supposed to stand against. There must be much more severe punishments for claimers and not just the claimed against. This goes way beyond lets play. It is imperative that fair usage laws be respected in a society that supposedly values free speech and fairness and that those who provide comment and criticism be allowed to do their work unimpeded (eg, financial impedance is a serious ‘up yours’ to… Read more »

James Taylor
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James Taylor

If Konami want to monetise the video and Activision claim it cannot be monetised who wins? If Konami puts adverts on surely that would violate Activision’s policy.

I hate this kind of thing as I never know where the money goes if I watch an advert on YouTube. I’m happy to watch if the money goes to the owner but not if its going to some greedy corporation.

Edwin Jackson
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Edwin Jackson

YouTube should grow some balls change the system so these companies have to make an proper legal claim through the courts or actually state in their EULA what is fair use so these [♪SKELETON WARRIORS♫] can’t just click a button and ruin someone’s income.

Logan Graham
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Logan Graham

When is YouTube streaming coming to PS4?

soundog
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soundog

if content ID is the be all and end all of the attacks on lets play’ers… where does that leave TWITCH?!

MJC
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MJC

What pisses me off the most is that Content ID is intended to protect AGAINST copyright infringement. It’s supposed to match things like TV shows, music, and movies to stop people just uploading a TV show, song, or movie to YouTube and calling it a day. Content ID was YouTube’s answer to those industries wanting YouTube to do something about people uploading stuff verbatim or else they were going to sue YouTube. Instead, Content ID is the CAUSE of copyright infringement for tons of innocent people. Some douchebag music company claiming Angry Joe’s review because he did a PARODY of… Read more »

BruhDragoon
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BruhDragoon

Innocent until proven otherwise. NOT guilty until proven otherwise that’s the wrong way of seeing things and it’s dumb. That’s not opinion that’s a fact

SneakaFreaka
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SneakaFreaka

The problem with these claims is YOU’RE GUILTY UNLESS PROVEN INNOCENT. It should NOT fucking be this way. Big corporation serving big corporation by creating rules that serve and benefit them and only them while hurting others in the process. I’m getting so sick and tired of living in a semi-democracy gagged and bound, roped and dragged behind a rampant horse called Capitalism.

Andrew Davis
Guest

It’s not just video-games that have this bullshit problem on YouTube. I watch an Atheist Bible-Study channel (TheBibleReloaded) and they sometimes review Christian movies. A few days ago they reviewed the Christian movie Audacity – which was released on YouTube for free by the maker. The maker of the movie (Ray Comfort) has been known to claim videos, and knowing this TheBibleReloaded did not include ANY audio or visuals from the movie that they reviewed was used. The video review was still the victim of a copyright strike – despite the precautions, and it obviously being protected under fair-use. The… Read more »

VET3RANSSNIPER
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VET3RANSSNIPER

I fear the only way to make Youtube change their policy is for all the major content creators revolted unanimously and stopped posting on Youtube.

Geekficient
Guest

It is sad that companies are able to do this. There should always be innocent until proven guilty clause in the copyright world. YouTube apparently has made it too easy for companies to claim videos and in the long run it will diminish the appeal of the platform. At least there should be some repercussions for false claims. That change is already apparent in other instances, where YouTube is failing to keep their high profile content creators, and they move on to streaming with twitch. Unfortunately that isn’t an option for you Jim, but at least your own income doesn’t… Read more »

Umbaglo
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Umbaglo

ContentID is a system that assumes people are criminals first, and then lets those with a conflict of interest make the call if someone had the ~gall~ to argue otherwise. Why has there never been an uprising against this? Why deal with someone who calls you a crook first? Even if YouTube was the only game in town, enough pressure would get them to respond. This is not required of them by law, and is really the content holders trying to offload their own responsibilities.

Rafael R Piñero
Guest

This is getting ridiculous. Square Enix goes Pre-Order loopy, the industry goes to war against Jim, and I suspect that EA will pull a Azura’s Wrath with Trespasser DLC for Inquisition. Something’s gotta give!

Chris N
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Chris N

If nothing else, I want to thank you, sir, for being transparent with us and showing us the copyright claims you’ve received. You didn’t need to do this to make your point, but you did.

The US copyright laws are in sore need of revision, but sadly the only revision I think they’ll see any time soon is the next time Mickey Mouse is scheduled to go into the public domain. Fucking Disney, fucking hypocrites.

oraoraikuze
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oraoraikuze

question is, what are you gonna do about it?

kripto sporidium
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kripto sporidium

Jim, you busy queen bee, that’s two videos and a writeup in one day. How much of that Patreon money is going into performance enhancers ( and/or cheeses ) ?

Wonko The Sane
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Wonko The Sane

Every word in this article is lifted wholesale from another published work. I believe you may have a heard of a little something called THE DICTIONARY!! For shame, Jim Sterling, for shame.

Julio César Mendoza
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Julio César Mendoza

You used words here. I have the copyright on most of them, please take this article down.

SilentPony
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SilentPony

Fuck Konami

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