Kevin Smith is coming to the defense of gaming YouTube channels who have found themselves under a serious Content ID storm as of late. In a recent episode of “George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight,” Smith defended gaming channels, saying: “I know a lot of people who built careers off of taking video game footage and running commentary under it or reviewing it. So now YouTube is going like, ‘You don’t have the rights to do this’.” Smith added, “They [YouTube] are starting to pull back on the freedom of expressions people have been enjoying on YouTube for a while.”
In case none of this makes sense to you, here’s a quick primer on the YouTube game footage debacle that has officially boiled over as of this week: As the New Year rolled around, YouTube broke out the ban-hammer and began issuing copious amounts of copyright notices to creators big and small who featured in-game footage on their channels. Previously, gaming channels had few problems with copyright violations. In fact, most channels weren’t bothered by YouTube unless a game publisher specifically filed a complaint.
That has all changed, however. Gamers who have been around for years are now finding their videos pulled due to YouTube’s big Content ID push. “Angry Joe” Vargas of the Angry Joe Show spoke about the copyright cacophony, explaining that it was putting his career at risk. “Four fucking years of hard work, now in jeopardy, because of your new blanket system that completely favors big corporations and anybody with a lot of [money] whether it’s right or wrong,” he said.
Interestingly, as the mass content-flagging continued, game publishers began sticking up for YouTubers. Deep Silver, the game company behind “Saint’s Row,” “Dead Island,” and “Metro Last Light,” issued the following statement in response to YouTube-generated Content ID notices: “We have been working with YouTube to resolve various issues that have plagued the YouTube gaming community this week, as soon as we learned about what was going on.”
Smith chimed in on this point as well, stating that game publishers were making the right decision supporting gaming YouTube channels. “Number one: It’s probably good for business for them,” Smith said. “But number two: They’re also probably just like, ‘Let them have fun. These kids are not hurting anybody with clips of video games’.”
The director explained that he is primarily concerned with YouTube snuffing out creativity on the platform. “Don’t stamp down someone’s creativity, even if it is someone else’s creativity with other material,” Smith said. “You make found art out of art that you find.”
To date, gaming channels are still being issued Content ID notices in droves, including channels that own the content in question. Kotaku reported that Brian Picchi, creator of the BASIC game “Surfshooter,” received a takedown notice on a video that featured footage from the game he developed. Picchi has since uploaded a video about the auto-generated mishap, which has received over 127,000 views on YouTube.