IN-DEPTH: Is The Future Of YouTube Gamers Under Threat?
14 January 2016, 14:47
YouTube is not a fun place to be if you're a full-time gamer.
If you've been a long time supporter and follower of gaming YouTubers, you will have noticed somewhat of a trend in recent years. Multiple complaints about the unjustified privatisation of gaming videos seem to be leading up to a dramatic fight over who truly controls video content on YouTube - the creator or the network behind them.
On Twitter, anonymous video gamer and PewDiePie BFF Cryaotic seems to have dedicated the entirety of his December towards blasting his YouTube network, Polaris/Maker Studios, and calling them out on their terrible approach to video privatisation. We've highlighted a couple of our favourites below.
Hey @PolarisTweets, can you stop hiring terrible third party automated companies to privatize my videos that have nothing wrong with them?— Cryaotic (@CryWasTaken) December 1, 2015
So tired of my network privatizing upwards of 80 videos at once without any prior warning when it happens. Seriously, this is bullshit. :|— Cryaotic (@CryWasTaken) December 9, 2015
Yo Maker legal team. Suck my legal dick. This is bullshit and you fucking know it you god damn prehistoric fucks.— Cryaotic (@CryWasTaken) December 15, 2015
So looks like instead of every few days Maker is now privatizing my videos every single day. Thanks for helping me enjoy my vacation guys!— Cryaotic (@CryWasTaken) December 19, 2015
Polaris even issued Cry a warning, saying that these videos needed to remain private or else they would be permanently deleted from the channel. In response, Cry has been desperately asking his followers to download his videos and reupload them on different channels so all his hard work isn't eradicated from the Internet.
Ton of videos may be going private tomorrow, so if you want to watch something, I recommend downloading them and backing them up for now.— Cryaotic (@CryWasTaken) January 9, 2016
So the first question to ask is this... why the fudge are Polaris doing this to Cryaotic?
First of all it's important to understand what a network is and why it's so fundamental for YouTubers to be signed up to them. A simple Google search brought us these results about a multi-channel network, in that Polaris/Maker Studios...
"work with video platforms such as YouTube to offer assistance in areas such as product, programming, funding, cross-promotion, partner management, digital rights management, monetisation/sales and/or audience development'
Essentially, because YouTubers are traditionally just everyday people who shot to unfathomable popularity, they often lack the legal and financial knowledge to maintain their level of fame - this is where networks are supposed come in and support a creator's vast needs.
In the case of gaming YouTubers however, networks seem to be doing more harm than good. The decision behind privatising all of Cry's videos comes from a nervous disposition networks have regarding the audio sampling and usage within video games.
Example: If you play Grand Theft Auto and listen to the radio in your car, everything is cool. If you record this footage and upload it to YouTube, suddenly you might find yourself in a barrel of trouble if that radio station is playing music only licensed for that specific video game - not for streaming over the Internet.
The reason Cry's videos are being repeatedly privatised comes from Polaris being unsure whether the music from his Let's Play content features copyrighted music, so they shut it down before they receive any copyright lawsuits. Let me repeat that one more time for you...
Polaris are pulling video content off YouTube before there is even a copyright issue.
If you're not a follower of Cryaotic, then you may not have noticed 100+ of his videos going missing every single day. But when you learn more about who else the Polaris network represents then you can begin to understand how this issue could end up effecting the large majority of YouTube gamers:
This leads me onto the next point... Has anyone else complained about the issues with privatisation?
Oh hell yes, YouTubers have definitely been complaining about it. Here's what TheRadBrad had to say on the issues of 'Content IDs'...
Here's what Hannah from YogsCast had to say about her mini hiatus following 'foreseeable copyright claims'...
Hannah also took to Reddit in the past week to talk to fans and other YouTubers about her suggestions about how to get around the video privatisation, which she pitched to Polaris - all of which got rejected.
So this takes us onto the last question; Is there an endgame to all of this privatisation anarchy?
Well, as far as we're concerned, YouTube will have a continued struggle over the concept of copyrighted music for a long time to come. Video games will have music created specifically for that medium, but all of their soundtracks will not have been licensed for YouTube creators.
However, in news that broke late on the 14th of January, PewDiePie just announced his own network for gaming YouTubers - 'RevelMode'. It was created in the hopes it would stop YouTubers being so reliant on the support of large media corporations designed to fill a need they could capitalise on. Whilst RevelMode is still owned by Maker Studios technically, we hope it will be granted greater autonomy than other YouTube networks.
Hopefully RevelMode will pool the collective experience of all it's new creators and help them to grow to their maximum potential away from overly-legal conscious multi-channel networks.
What are YOUR thoughts on the issue? Will this come to greater effect over the entirety of YouTube, or is this an issue confined only to the GameTubers?