Game publisher/developer Activision have set their sights on the YouTube gaming community, in particular Machinima Partners for uploading videos showing exploits with the new Call of Duty title.
According to an email sent to YouTubers under the Machinima banner; Activision has been issuing DMCA claims towards Call of Duty videos. As it stands the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claims are only issued to YouTubers who show glitches or exploits of their top-selling game franchise Call of Duty.
Wes Holmes or known on YouTube as “Pure Monsterz” is one of those YouTubers who have been issued with a DMCA copyright strike, with around a thousand subscribers and 80,000 views he has been targeted by one of the biggest game publishers/developers.
Activision released a statement regarding the DMCA claims towards the YouTubers,
“We’re excited that so many fans are having fun playing the game and posting videos of their gameplay. We love watching the videos ourselves. Occasionally, some folks post videos that promote cheating and unfair exploits. As always, we keep an eye out for these videos – our level of video claims hasn’t changed”.
“We are appreciative of the community’s support in helping to ensure that everyone has the best playing experience possible.”
Unfortunately for both parties, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) does not specify if game play falls under critique (fair usage of intellectual property) or copyright. The more parties involved in a DMCA claim directly increases the liability of said parties. YouTube, to save itself from legal action complies with the publishers and has implemented a takedown policy to cover their own assets which ultimately leaves the YouTubers to comply or quit.
Using copyright strikes to mitigate content that the publishers want on the website is a little on the nose. With all of the “ethics in journalism” articles floating around these days you would think that Activision would stop and think for a second about lodging DMCA claims to small YouTube channels focusing on bugs and issues with a game they had published. Strikes against a YouTube account can shut a channel down and do permanent damage to a person’s reputation.
In a way, YouTubers who expose exploits in AAA games such as Call of Duty are doing these developers a favour when it comes to patching and customer feedback. Fixing bugs and issues before release should be a stable in the life cycle of game development, maybe in the future we can use these bright YouTubers to alpha test these games while allowing them to produce ENTERTAINMENT content through their YouTube channel.
For more on DMCA have a look at Totalbiscuit’s video on Strikes and DMCA lodgements –