Gamers love checking out Let’s Play videos on YouTube, either to decide if they should buy a game, or to get tips, walkthroughs, and cheats they already have. These videos feature games being played, together with a commentary from the player. But gamers may soon find themselves Let’s Play-less, as YouTube has recently begun flagging some of these videos for copyright infringement.
“We recently enabled Content ID scanning on channels identified as affiliates of MCNs [Multi Channel Networks],” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.
“This has resulted in new copyright claims for some users, based on policies set by the relevant content owners.”
Video games often feature content that’s copyrighted, very often the background music, but they obtain a license to use it. The problem is, when Let’s Plays are created, they often contain this copyrighted content.
YouTube uses a system called Content ID to track copyrighted materials that have been posted onto the site, and it helps it to dodge copyright claims. In the case of many Let’s Play videos, YouTube argues that video producers do not have license to use some of the materials found in games, say the soundtrack, thus they were flagged and taken offline.
“It has been rumored that YouTube will be changing their policy for awhile, ever since music companies started to sue YouTube and networks for allowing monetization of cover songs,” said Doug Le, aka NukemDukem, a video content creator.
“We got e-mails saying this was suppose to take place in early 2014 with the new video monetization review. It is to cover YouTube’s behind from more lawsuits.”
Most game companies are okay with Let’s Plays as long as they’re not being monetized. But if the producers are making money from their videos, the game companies can get a cut from the ad revenue without having to call in their lawyers.
Reports stated that the videos were flagged because of YouTube’s Content ID, but could game companies be behind this crackdown as well?
Game companies such as Ubisoft, Capcom, Blizzard and Deep Silver have made no complaints, and have in fact encouraged video producers to contest copyright claims as they see the value of Let’s Plays in promoting their games.