Today it looks like YouTube is rolling out the long-awaited Copyright Match tool, which will let normal Creators deal with video-stealers. In the past it’s mostly just been larger companies that have been privy to Content ID and other more exclusive tools.
The tool was announced a while ago but (at least for me) just released and was added to the YouTube Studio Beta, where it can be found in the new Copyright section.
How Copyright Match Works
You’ll get an email when you have access to Copyright Match in the new Studio Beta dashboard. It’s not presently in the old Creator Studio.
You’ll be shown something like below, assuming you have any matches. It lists the videos, some metadata on them, and includes links to the video to see it. You should check the video manually to see the exact context it’s used in, though as you can see in the below images, my matches were all 100% direct rips with not so much as a commentary track or video edit of any kind.
So YouTube has a DMCA problem. We all knew this, since the DMCA itself sucks and YouTube doesn’t have the best track record regarding copyright. But what do you need to know if you’re affected? What’s the long and short of it?
In June 2017 Alex Mauer began a series of events including DMCA claims, death threats, and releasing personal information of countless parties due to a contract dispute with her former employer, Imagos Softworks/Imagos Films. The dispute also spread to include River City Ransom Underground and includes several other games as well.
As sick as I am of talking about, hearing about, and generally being in the same plane of existence as this issue, it’s a very confusing and fast-moving topic and no one really has the full story. And unlike other articles, this one will be kept up to date with new events and will be corrected as needed.
So, here we are; a timeline of events in the Alex Mauer DMCA situation. There will be little analysis in this piece for various reasons; the horse is dead, I’m sick of talking about it, discussion on the issue turns nasty fast, an objective analysis isn’t easy to find, etc. etc.. Most of Mauer’s actions speak for themselves when presented in proper context anyway.
Times may be approximate. Feel free to contribute or correct anything you feel is relevant and I’ll update the list as necessary, but some of the more minor issues are not tracked due to the extreme depth of this ordeal.
Or: It’s Time To Stop Defending Nintendo Unless You Hate Fan Art Too.
(This article is available in an expanded, podcast-style form as well, on YouTube.)
A common refrain when a fan game is taken down is that it’s within Nintendo’s rights. Do you know what else is within Nintendo’s rights? Sending DMCA takedowns to every single OC Remix track based directly on Nintendo’s music. What else is within Nintendo’s Legal Rights That Are Totally Always Okay To Enforce?
Say Nintendo read every article about Cosplay and sent a DMCA notice to have the pictures taken down and demanded that the cosplayer never again display or create a costume based on a Nintendo character. Is that cool with you? Because it’s not actually any different than fan games, legally speaking.
How about Nintendo sends DMCAs to the millions of pieces of Nintendo character fan art spread across Deviant Art, Pixiv, Twitter, Tumblr, everywhere? Because they could do that. Legally.
Remixes, fan art and yes, even cosplay are derivative works. The only legal difference between them and fan games is that corporations don’t go after them.
I’m angry. You see, recently a truly fantastic Metroid 2 fan recreation was released: AM2R. I played it for a live stream. It’s truly fantastic, and has an amazing amount of original work put into it, being far and away more than a “fan port” of the game.
But then it got taken down by everyone’s least favorite four letter word, a DMCA, straight from Nintendo. I’m very frustrated with Nintendo for the copyright claim, very frustrated the game was taken down (though torrent sites seem to be ensuring it will not be lost). But that’s not what I’m writing this article about.
I’m writing this because this conversation about copyright and fan projects is…the same as all conversations about fan projects. The conversation is full of ignorance, misunderstanding, and what I can only assume are deliberate bald-faced lies about what companies have to do to protect their copyright.
Companies Don’t Have To Shut Down Projects to Keep Copyright