YouTube Pings American McGee For Trying To Let’s Play His Own Game

YouTube Pings American McGee For Trying To Let’s Play His Own Game

“Is this how the system is meant to work,” McGee asked. The answer: of course it is.

American McGee, the game designer behind Alice and known for his time working on the early Doom and Quake games, is in the process of making a new Alice sequel. But in the meantime, he decided to do a Let’s Play of Alice: Madness Returns and upload the whole thing to YouTube.

McGee’s channel is reasonably active: it’s where he posts updates on Alice: Asylum, ranging from basic design discussions to the licensing agreement with EA that allows Alice: Asylum to exist. So, naturally, it’s a good spot for a Let’s Play of Alice: Madness Returns.

Except, because of course, YouTube’s Content ID wouldn’t have a bar of it.

Undeterred, the official YouTube Twitter account waded in with the remarkably unhelpful “if you feel your video was claimed in error response”.

McGee’s reply was perfect:

The copyright claim, incidentally, came from a company called Illustrated Sound. A few hours ago, they posted an apology on Twitter saying that “all claims were made as a result of an internal error”.

Alternatively: Illustrated Sound should be able to make all the claims they want, and YouTube can maybe come up with a better system that doesn’t shaft creators from highlighting or playing their own creations. Keeping creators front of mind isn’t really YouTube’s MO, though.

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  • Copyright owners, you made your bed now sleep in it.

    But seriously, how is YouTube supposed to know if you have the rights to a game if you don’t tell them? The world is full of authors whose name is on the book or game who have long since on-sold or contractually signed away their own copyright. A name on the box means literally nothing, just ask Taylor Swift.

    Also, there’s no reason at all why his current licensing agreement with EA should be assumed to include any rights whatsoever to stream previous games, just a right to make the next one.

    The inability of copyright to deal reasonably with all sorts of issues around fair use and moral rights is an abomination, but there’s nothing about what’s happened here that isn’t the system working exactly as intended.

    • Except the system didnt work as intended….. its a Lets Play.. something covered under Youtube’s own Fair Use policy and the even McGee points this out by mentioning another Lets Play…. its just next level absurdity when the creator of the game themselves gets flagged.. its the same as when wb’s or someother publishers game trailers were flagged…by the same company themselves!

      • That’s just not true on several levels.

        For a start, McGee ‘s video wasn’t taken down, it was just demonetised with any advertising revenue being redirected to… the copyright owner! If McGee was in fact the copyright owner the net effect on him or his video would have been zero. This is expressly YouTube’s policy with respect to contested content.

        Furthermore, YouTube’s guidelines are vague and, in any case, make clear that Let’s Play creators require a fair level of voiceover commentary in order for the video to be offered a fair use defence. Any long pauses would immediately open content up to demonetisation.

        Even then, the law in the US remains unclear mainly because no case has ever ended up in court. The DMCA, under which copyright notices are issued, makes no allowance for fair use at all.

        Regardless, we have seen a number of instances over the last few years where content creators, such as Nintendo and Campo Santo (Firewatch), have evoked their right to copyright take downs of Let’s Plays and many lawyers have argued that they were well within their legal rights to do so.

        • Ah.. my bad. I got mixed up with the takedown vs demonitised bit. I wil take my dose of humble pie my good sir xD

          As an aside though… lawyers arguing someone is within their rights to do x doesnt normally mean its completely legal and/or ethical though…specially when it comes to corporate shenanigans.

        • the problem is that the money is redirected not to the copyright owner, but the people who claimed it. this is a problem. the owner of the copyright can get stolen from because a random company makes claims.

          • I think the whole process is verging on evil, make no mistake, but I’m pretty sure that you can’t just make an allegation of copyright infringement and then immediately start collecting a cheque.

          • honestly I’m not sure the full process. as it stands though Youtube definitely favours those who file the claims over the one accused though.

  • To be fair, this is the same issue many content creators face when streaming games.

    They get pinged for the music, not the game. Some have even been pinged for singing renditions of the game’s music.

    It’s why you very rarely hear any game music in Let’s Plays.

  • Let’s just tell it like it is: YouTube is complete and utter trash, a horrible, awful, dreadful, clunky, unwieldy, insane, easily-abused site which nevertheless sits in a completely unassailable position atop the online video world because it’s the biggest and being the biggest means you’ll always BE the biggest, even if you’re total garbage, because monopolies are self-sustaining and any attempts to seriously compete are automatically doomed to fail. So yeah, YouTube is shit, it will always be shit, and it doesn’t care that it’s shit because it doesn’t need to care. That’s about it, really.

  • Alternatively: Illustrated Sound should be able to make all the claims they want, and YouTube can maybe come up with a better system that doesn’t shaft creators from highlighting or playing their own creations.Actually, the translation is more: “We’re sorry we got caught making a blanket claim in the hopes that most people wouldn’t bother with the rigmarole of trying to contest and restore their content and we’d get free money out of it.”

    In YouTube’s “defense” though, they have more or less done everything required of them by the DMCA to keep themselves protected. The rest is just making your bed and lying in it.

  • Lol….. is it reaaaaalllyyy an “internal error” or did they have to backpedal on the intentional claim by what was probably an in househead hunter because claiming the game fromthe person who’s name is on the box prrooooobbbaabbblllyy isnt a good idea? =P

  • If you follow the link to Illustrated Sound in their tweet, their entire business is monetizing videos on Youtube, expecially where music is involved.

  • Yup. I got copyright claimed 40 times yesterday, by the same company. YouTube is draining my life away. A week before WMG claimed about the same. They’re just some random Youtubers let’s play videos with less subs than me, claiming this crap. The big company’s think they own the gameplay footage cos they’re partnered with them, and anyone with the same gameplay / cut scenes will get screwed by it. It’s so frustrating spending all day, disputing false claims, and thinking my channel will get deleted. Disputing things on YouTube can get you in deep sh!t if your in the wrong, so…

  • “all claims were made as a result of an internal error”

    Yeah right, like the ENTIRE content ID and claim video system is the error. Its down right easy to abuse if your a big media company, and they do!

    • So after looking into it a bit more… these guys are basically an mcn/copywrite headhunter on youtube.. a lot of the stuff they claimed they dont actually own =P

      They are claiming on behalf of other creators and mass contentid’ed a lot of other creators besides mcgee most are false flags… of course no one seems to be talking about this..

      • false flags still demonitize videos until cleared by YT review system. So ultimately the headhunters win even if their wrong all the time. BROKEN SYSTEM!

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