Industry fights back as YouTube begins mass cull of game videos

Ubisoft, Capcom, Blizzard and Deep Silver pledge to resolve automatic copyright blocks

A rising number of games publishers and developers are offering help to YouTube users affected by a sudden and sweeping cull of their videos.

Since Monday, numerous video game presenters on YouTube have been notified of strikes on their channel, as website owner Google implements a tougher new technology that auto-detects content in breach of copyright. If content is flagged by the new technology, any further revenue made from the videos will be redirected to the copyright owner and not the content creator - effectively culling the entrepreneurial business of YouTube.

However, many of the copyright owners have not asked for these changes to happen, and are now beginning to help users restore their business.

TetraNinja, a YouTube personality with about 500,000 subscribers, has said that more than 350 of his videos have been flagged. Meanwhile, GhostRobo (more than 600,000 subscribers) says more than one hundred of his videos have been affected, as outlined in the video below.

Close Close

Fellow YouTube star TheRadBrad (who has nearly 2 million subscribers) has criticised Google of its new policies. He claims that "every video I've uploaded since 2010 is slowly being taken away from me".

YouTuber users are describing the strikes as random and unnerving - many use game videos and commentary as their primary source of income. When a video is flagged for copyright, the channel's owner can also automatically lose certain upload privileges and functionalities.

Despite Google's stringent new sweeps for copyrighted content, with technology that auto-detects video patterns, the process for resolving these disputes are considered relatively unresponsive.

Now a rising number of games companies, such as World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment, are offering help to those affected.

A representative for Blizzard, writing on the Starcraft 2 Twitter account page, has asked YouTube users affected to contest all copyright claims "so we can quickly approve them". Meanwhile, Maurice Tan, the international community manager for publisher Deep Silver, has told his Twitter followers to make contact if their videos have been affected.

Major publishers are now issuing statements to the press. Early on Tuesday, Ubisoft told CVG that it is aiming to resolve all copyright issues within 24 hours. It said:

"If you happen to be hit with claims on any of your Ubisoft content, it may be that some of the audio is being auto-matched against the music catalogue on our digital stores - it might show up as being claimed by our distributor 'idol'. In such cases please take the following steps and we can get it cleared for you.

  • 1. Leave the video live for now.
  • 2. Send us the URL of the affected video and let us know who flagged it.
  • 3. We'll get it cleared hopefully same day."

Messages of support have also been offered by the Diablo and Capcom Twitter accounts.