Indie devs blast YouTube over copyright debacle

Thomas Was Alone, VVVVVV and Ridiculous Fishing devs vent following false claims on their games

Major indie developers have hurled complaints at YouTube's controversial new copyright detection policies after witnessing false copyright claims on videos of their games.

Mike Bithell, creator of puzzle platformer Thomas Was Alone, hit out at an outfit called 'Indmusic' - which describes itself as YouTube's "largest music network" - for allegedly "systematically" claiming rights to footage of his game.


"Pissed off at @indmusic, they are currently systematically copyright claiming all footage of my game, and monetizing. Daylight robbery," said Bithell, after having aimed a Tweet directly at the organization requesting that it stop making false claims.

"Hey, guys, you have zero ownership of footage of my game, Thomas Was Alone. Stop demanding monetization of videos of it," he said.

Bithell later added, "This is kinda disgusting, and I'm sickened that @indmusic are taking money from the pockets of a number of supporters of my game."

More surprisingly, Terry Cavanagh, developer of platformer VVVVVV, has vented over having personally received a copyright flag on a trailer of his own game.


"Uh, I'm sorry, WHAT? Apparently my own video trailer of VVVVVV has a copyright claim against it?," commented Cavanagh.

Again, the copyright claimant is Indmusic. "Just submitted a claim dispute," said Cavanagh. "It's so ridiculous!"

Rami Ismail of indie dev Vlambeer (Ridiculous Fishing, Super Crate Box), has also taken to Twitter to cast his views on the YouTube debacle. "I can't believe this. The games industry and video content creators finally start to work together and then this happens," he said.

"Basically, if you make music for games, @indmusic and @TuneCore might be "services" you want to avoid. Musicians having their own videos hit with claims, entire games disappearing from YouTube even though they're licensed."


Ismail continued, "Sure, copyright is complex and I get that @YouTube wants to shield itself from potential claims, but this is disproportionate. What is not complex is looking at the situation that a lot of power-users of @YouTube find themselves in now. Let alone a lot of smaller users of the service, just uploading a small video of Hotline Miami or Thomas Was Alone.

"YouTube should not give such unilateral mass-measures to people obviously not capable of dealing with that responsibility. Let alone have those measures depend on algorithms that are not capable of distinguishing between fair use and infringement."

The seeming copyright claim free-for-all began last week when YouTube deployed new copyright detection tech, which has incited mass flagging of videos on well-established gaming YouTube channels, critically removing monetization privileges in the process.

It emerged Tuesday that YouTube has sent a statement to YouTubers via email standing by its new 'Content ID' detection tech, and reiterating its recommendation that affected users file disputes for 'invalid' copyright claims.