CVG reports that this new automatic copyright claim system has been targeting a number of YouTubers’ videos that contain gameplay. As a result of this, “any further revenue made from the videos will be redirected to the copyright owner and not the content creator,” according to CVG. This means that YouTubers using gameplay in videos they create aren’t able to earn any money from them, and if that is their job and sole means of making money, then it’s at high risk of being lost right now.
“…indie games can get a huge boost from being played by a well-known YouTuber.”
That’s not the only new policy that Google introduced to YouTube, either. As RPS notes, last week, Google introduced a policy whereby Affiliates of Multi-Channel Networks (which are YouTube networks that handle the business side for creators) need to have their videos pre-screened and approved before going live. It’s an increased measure to find copyrighted material and to stop it from going live. This process could take several days, so it means that some YouTubers wouldn’t be able to upload their videos when they wished, if they were allowed at all.
If you’re wondering what this has to do with indie games, then let me ask you a question: how many indie games have you discovered through YouTubers? It’s probably a few, at least, right? Regardless, indie games can get a huge boost from being played by a well-known YouTuber. In fact, you may have discovered Indie Statik through YouTube as that’s where our roots lie, when Josh decided to set up a channel dedicated to covering indie games.
Let's Plays are responsible for a lot of the exposure that my games get. Y'all can always and forever make videos of my games for money.
— kyle pulver (@kylepulver) December 11, 2013
There are others who go out of their way to highlight and share interesting indie games, of course. Perhaps you’ve heard of Prescription Pixel, RockLeeSmile, NerdCubed, Jesse Cox, TotalBiscuit or NorthernLion, to name just a few. All of these people could be affected by this new copyright claim technology, and some already are being affected drastically as their videos and the revenue attached to them disappears, in fact.
If this continues, it means they’ll have to stop producing these videos as they’ll have to find other sources of income. This will mean that indie games will have less chance of being discovered by lots of people, which is vital to keep them going through direct sales and community fans, for instance.
“…many game developers and publishers are supporting the YouTubers who create videos of their games”
As such, many developers have started to make their support for YouTubers who produce Let’s Plays and more edited videos for and about games. It’s not just indie game developers, either. As CVG reports once again, the likes of Ubisoft, Capcom, Blizzard and Deep Silver have told YouTubers getting videos flagged for having footage of their games to dispute the claim so that they can quickly approve them.
Developers of all sizes have also started to put their names down into a list of developers who support YouTube videos of their games and do not want content creators to be penalized for using footage of their games.
Devolver Digital also started this amusing website a while back to answer whether or not they allow people to post and monetize videos of their games (keep refreshing that page).
Paradox Interactive created a forum post that contains a letter that people can use to show YouTube that they have Paradox’s permission to create and monetize videos with footage from their games in them.
Above you can see, Bossa Studios, developer of Surgeon Simulator, uploaded a video today in support of Let’s Players and YouTubers, saying that it’s absolutely fine for people to create and monetize videos of their games.
It’s clear that many game developers and publishers are supporting the YouTubers who create videos of their games and are actively trying to help them out against these drastic new measures to battle copyrighted content appearing in YouTube videos. Their efforts should help to lessen the blow that YouTubers are receiving after having hundreds of their videos flagged for copyright claims.
Still, it’s going to take a lot more to battle something as widespread and indiscriminate as this new technology and the continued efforts of Google to battle shut down videos with copyrighted content.