YouTube Let’s Play celebrities hit by draconian Content ID claims

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It’s no secret that YouTube content ID claims are a huge problem in the Let’s Play community. Even as a small channel, I myself found that people (and Google’s bots) will content ID match over anything. So it was no surprise to me that big YouTube gaming networks like Machinima and YouTube celebrities like NukemDukem  are finding themselves in a load of trouble with a huge flood of unmerited copyright claims.

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For people who don’t know, YouTube has a rather confusing system called Content ID where they allow copyright owners to automatically search for videos that may use their content, and flag the videos for removal and/or acquisition of the revenue they make off the ads on the video, all without a lawyer or phone call to endure. In a perfect world, this would mean copyright stealing heathens would be casts into the bowels of YouTube and have their videos deleted and all would be well. Unfortunately, due to the rather undefined idea of ‘fair use’ and the recent emergence of Let’s Plays as a form of entertainment, this has caused a problem with false Content ID matches. Since game audio and video are exactly the same on every video, this creates many false positives in the Content ID system.

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It wasn’t until recently that producers on YouTube, under YouTube’s rumoured new copyright policies have found that over 15% of their content is getting their revenue diverted to third parties.

“It has been rumoured 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, known better as NukemDukem on YouTube.  “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.”

“A floodgate has opened and we have gone from getting maybe one [copyright notice] every few weeks to getting hundreds in one day,” said Zach Drapala, aka GhostRobo, who runs a Machinima networked channel with over 600,000 subscribers. “It’s crazy. Nothing like this has happened before.”

It seems that a large portion of the claims are either completely bunk, or from third parties with very disparate or no ties to the content. For content creators on YouTube whose income depends on their videos making money on advertising, these are surely troubling times.

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