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.

copy

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.

aj

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
Guest
Milos

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

blackice85
Guest
blackice85

That’s only part of it, they’re also stealing money from the creators of these videos when the material is usually fair use.

Jan Smejkal
Guest
Jan Smejkal

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

Oldfarticus
Guest
Oldfarticus
I reckon right now, you’d need someone like Pewds to either lead, or be involved in a Youtube Strike as it were. A day where there are no monetised vids and the viewers who want to support their favourite channels stop watching em. It’s not a long term strategy but it’s important to send the message. If people don’t show they care enough, Youtube doesn’t have any reason to make any changes. We all get angry for a few a days and then wait for the next outrage. The kind of case that would be required to take on Youtube… Read more »
Vorkon
Guest
Vorkon
Pewdiepie might rake in the views, but I don’t think his fanbase would really be able to help too much in a crowdfunding venture of this sort. The fanbases of people like Jim, TB, and AngryJoe, all working together, on the other hand? Combined with the favorable coverage a move like this is likely to receive elsewhere in games media? Combined with people like the EFF, the CBLDF, and Popehat, who while they might not be games media, per se, care an awful lot about free speech in general, and would gladly rally to a noble cause? How about all… Read more »
CSStrowbridge
Guest
CSStrowbridge

I heard EFF wanted to amend the law so that every false claim would result in a $5,000 fine. I would love that to happen.

SamJ
Guest
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.

gasmaskangel
Guest
gasmaskangel

Nah, its only theft when people who can’t afford a battalion of lawyers do it. When huge corporations do it, its “an unfortunate misunderstanding (no we will not give you any of the money back.)”

Steven White
Guest
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
Guest
Rover86

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

Uldi
Guest
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 »
MJC
Guest
MJC

Sadly YouTube will never do that because then they’d have to hire actual human beings to review claims rather than letting robots approve them automatically.

Oldfarticus
Guest
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
Guest
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.

MJC
Guest
MJC

Konami wins because they own the video twice and Activision only owns it once. :p

SneakaFreaka
Guest
SneakaFreaka

XD

Edwin Jackson
Guest
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
Guest
Logan Graham

When is YouTube streaming coming to PS4?

soundog
Guest
soundog

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

Logan Graham
Guest
Logan Graham

Twitch tried that, and it didn’t work.

MJC
Guest
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 »
MJC
Guest
MJC

Wow. I did not realize I was writing that much.

Erich Fromm Hell
Guest

Aye, but you made a lot of interesting points. That said, WHERE’S MY TL;DR SYNOPSIS!!??

Jpkurihara
Guest
Jpkurihara

This is one of the best comments ever on the Internet.

BruhDragoon
Guest
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
Guest
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.

Milestone_RP
Guest
Milestone_RP

Google’s Terms of Service pretty much boil down to “don’t like it, don’t use it, you can’t complain.” And they’re legally in the right because of that.
You can complain about being “roped and dragged”, but the REAL way out is STOP USING YOUTUBE. But people won’t. They never listen. And YouTube is the biggest provider out there, so people like Angry Joe et all will never pull their videos off. Because people’d be too lazy/dumb to follow them to some other hosting service.

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 »
MJC
Guest
MJC

I like their idea for what should happen when a copyright claim is filed.

VET3RANSSNIPER
Guest
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 »
Joshua Chap
Guest
Joshua Chap

The thing is this has been going on for a very long time and company’s like Sony have been caught abusing it, Yet nothing happens and no one had the money to fight them against it. It’s much easier, less hassle, and cheaper to wait the month or so then paying lawyer fees claiming you’re right just to get your video back.

Umbaglo
Guest
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.

Chris N
Guest
Chris N

Because YouTube *is* the only game in town. They’re the only ones who provide the amount of resources and visibility. And beyond that, the only people who care are those with a vested interest in playing along. I dearly love what Jim is doing, but his and many others’ hands are tied here, and not in the fun BDSM way.

Sanji Himura
Guest
Sanji Himura
Actually, they(YouTube) are required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to shoot first and ask questions later. Even though ContentID is different from a straight copyright strike, in the copyright holder’s eyes, it all amounts to the same thing. It all amounts to a weapon that they can use to censor criticism about anything that they don’t really like about any given video’s contents. Heck, I can sing “A, B, C” into a microphone with Frank Sinatra’s Blue Moon playing gently into the background, and I would still get a copyright notice, not for my singing, but for Frank. And… Read more »
Umbaglo
Guest
Umbaglo
The DMCA requires them to shoot first /only after receiving a proper takedown notice/. ContentID does /not/ follow the standard. Yes, the copyright holder may see it as the same, but that does not make it right, /especially since the point of the DMCA takedown system is to provide the ability for recourse, which ContentID does not/. A rights holder, under the DMCA, is required to 1) Actively police their property and 2) Provide a takedown request after having already done an internal check as to whether it meets fair use provisions or not. Once a provider receives the takedown… Read more »
tripper
Guest
tripper
The way I see it, ContentID should only be a notification/monitoring tool and nothing else. A tool that would make it easy for companies to issue DMCA takedowns. So that the only way to take down a video, would be to issue a proper DMCA takedown notice. That would pretty much solve the problem. But it won’t happen. Those companies are not content with the power that is granted to them by DMCA. They want a system such as ContentID, that gives them full immunity from legal action when they overstep. Because under DMCA, a false claim is pretty much… Read more »
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
Guest
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
Guest
oraoraikuze

question is, what are you gonna do about it?

kripto sporidium
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
Julio César Mendoza

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

Thanatos2k
Guest
Thanatos2k

Good thing he didn’t use “Candy”

SilentPony
Guest
SilentPony

Fuck Konami

bimmyz
Guest
bimmyz

#FucKonami

1 2 3 4
wpDiscuz