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Everything retro - big and small! Live from Perth, Australia!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Retro Game On & ContentID

Aghhh, I've been hit! 
Ouch, ouch. Right in the YouTube channel. Ohh. That stings.
Unfortunately (for me, not you) my review of Metal Gear Solid which I happily reviewed not too long ago, has been deemed by ContentID as infringing copyright law.
Wait, what's ContentID again? ContentID is a database of files that checks all uploaded videos to see if there is anything in them owned by someone else. In theory, this is a good idea so that nobody can upload the latest Transformers lamefest and earn money off it using AdSense. However, it doesn't work 100%. When certain types of videos (like game reviews) get flagged, it's simply not fair. These videos fall under something called Fair Use, because how the hell are you going to create a good video review without showing game footage? Fair Use is a legal term, and is completely legit. I'm obviously no lawyer though (I'm a retro game reviewer, damn it) but there is a great website explaining it all which can be found here.
ContentID does not discern between that and someone trying to make an illegal buck off someone else's legal property though, and it picked up my Metal Gear Solid video since I showed too much of a cutscene (while in the video I was ironically explaining how awesome they are).

So then, what can the average YouTuber do about this?
If you do get picked up then usually your video is not deleted, which is why you can still enjoy my review today. Having said that though, the right owner can then decide to do a number a things with the video, like taking all ad revenue earned on the video in question. This doesn't affect me so much as my channel is quite small, but I can imagine this being quite the pain in the bum for a YouTuber who makes their living creating videos. After putting hours into a video which falls under something like Fair Use, you don't want all the potential money going to someone else over a bogus claim.
From there you can file a dispute, which looks like the obvious route, but it's there where things get dicey.
The thing is, it's totally up to the copyright holder if you're doing the right thing or not. They ultimately hold the power to let you have the ad revenue, or they take down your video forever. Doesn't that seem one sided to you? What's to stop (in my case) Konami from just taking down my video anyway? What sort of defence does a small-time YouTuber like me have?  

If they do that, your channel then receives a copyright strike. If that happens, then your channel goes into something called bad standing. If that happens, you lose the ability to do all sorts of cool stuff with your channel. This includes the ability to have videos longer than 15 minutes, custom thumbnails and ironically being able to dispute ContentID claims.
I don't want to lose those things, so I have decided to not dispute this claim. In my mind I know its being wrongly singled out, but since it's such a one-sided fight I've been painted into a corner. Ultimately, I'll just have to be careful when uploading videos from now on. The system doesn't seem to pick up on cutscenes if you only show a little bit of them, and gameplay is fine since there would be no such clip in the library that ContentID checks that will be exactly like mine.
Honestly though, I don't like my creative freedom being threatened like this. What can I do though?
This is the current state of the internet.


  1. Yeah, ContentID is idiotic. I uploaded a Crysis 2 Gameplay video on my old YouTube channel, and got hit pretty much instantly with a ContentID claim for a Korean symphony piece(!) claim. I googled the nae, and could find no mention of it in conjuction with Crysis 2. I therefore contested the claim. Then one day the claim was just gone. No email or anything saying why, or if I'd won or lost the contestation, just GONE! :3

    1. It must of been a copyright troll, making bogus claims so they can earn AdSense money. Supposedly the system is taken advantage of quite often.