Well, I've been busy.
I'm helping people take on a multimillion dollar corporation again. The target this time? Sega.
People are familiar with YouTube's Content ID system, which watches out for potentially copyright infringing videos. This has been going on for a while, and everyone has been going back and forth for a while. In the past couple of weeks, though, YouTube has expanded the scope of Content ID with a little sucking Sega's dick, and the war that cooled down after Downfall was dealt with has reignited.
Because this time, it's something important.
Here's what's going on -- for the past few months, some game publishers have gone after let's play videos. For those who don't know, a "let's play" is simply a longplay of a video game. Sometimes with commentary, sometimes with tools, but watching the game from start to finish.
Publishers and some game designers are pissed about let's plays. The producer of Super Smash Brothers says there will be no story mode in the new one because people uploaded the footage to YouTube so anyone could see it, not just those who played the game. Nintendo even took the remarkable step a few months ago of asserting copyright claims on all let's plays featuring their games, saying that people who monetized their videos are stealing from Nintendo and Nintendo should get any money coming in. Well, that caused an uproar for about a week and Nintendo reversed the policy. And all was quiet for a while.
I used to love Sega. Their Genesis was one of the greatest consoles ever. I even forgave them for abandoning the Saturn after only three years (although when they quit on the Dreamcast after three years…well, if Sega ever made another game system, I wouldn't buy it). Sega got bought by Sammy and has become a much different company. A couple of years ago, they were trying to promote their new Shining Darkness game, and wanted their puff pieces (their PR bits or reviews by people friendly to them) to be the ones YouTubers found. So they started flagging other videos for inappropriate content. The result was that, until YouTube reviewed the videos and everybody had their say, a lot of videos weren't available on YouTube thanks to Sega. In other words, they gamed the system. They cheated.
Now, Sega is flashing ass again. Using Content ID, they are getting let's plays taken off YouTube. Among them are let's plays by DSP Gaming, who saw one of his videos that is almost two years old get bounced. He wrote YouTube to say the video is covered by Fair Use (and he's right, it is transformative) and put it back up. YouTube chatted with Sega, and YouTube upheld the decision.
This has been happening on a smaller scale for a while now, with people flagging videos of people they don't like or are competing with. It's just that now big corporations are getting in on the act. And YouTube, given that it is trying to be friendly to media partners and the like, not to mention their own dictatorial nature (as the YTASK scandal proved), is eager to help.
So people are clamoring for digital rights and demanding to know what can be done. And as I have background with this and am a unique thinker, I've been drafted into helping sort out avenues of defense. Some like DSP Gaming are simply reuploading the videos and publicly challenging Sega to sue them (Sega won't, their case would never stand up in court. Why do you think they are flagging videos instead of actually suing?). Others want something they can go to the mat with YouTube with, and this is where I came in. After all, the logical conclusion is, if watching people play video games on the Internet is illegal, then so is sitting in the same room with them and watching them play. Been going over precedents, thinking of arguments, and everything else.
Some are abandoning YouTube, like Classic Game Room, one of YouTube's earliest media partners. Unfortunately, that's not going to help -- any site like Viveo and such, if they get as big as YouTube, will do the exact same thing. This solves nothing.
So there's this huge legal grey area, and Big Money doesn't want to get rid of it because they can still use it to their advantage. Plus, if there is a ruling, if they pull stunts like this, they can be in real trouble, so they have a vested interest in getting everyone to volunteer to do as they wish rather than creating a situation where they don't have to.
So I'm gonna be fighting the power for a while.