Following PewDiePie saying the N-word on a livestream – the second time he has said it on video this year – game developer Sean Vanaman has blocked Felix from making videos using his game, and called for game creators to also boycott him. Vanaman is the co-founder of games company Camp Santo which created the popular game Firewatch.
PewDiePie made a video of himself playing the game, which has now been removed from YouTube. It is not clear if the video was removed by Felix himself or by YouTube, but either way, Vanaman had announced that Camp Santo would use copyright strikes to prevent Felix from profiting from any of their existing or future games:
He also said he would encourage other game makers to do the same
Vanaman did not mince words when it came to PewDiePie’s racist language, and then called on other developers to ‘cut off’ PewDiePie from their gaming content.
He made it clear that it was an issue with Felix only
Vanaman stated that he sees nothing wrong with streamers and emphasised that they happily sent ‘3000’ keys for the game to all kinds of video makers. His problem is solely with Felix’s behaviour.
What about fair use?
A lot of internet commenters are labelling the move as an abuse of copyright law, but the issue is much more legally grey than it appears. As Vanaman points out, all game streamers are technically violating game company’s copyright by sharing the game they have made online – it’s just that games companies tend to allow this, because it can be good for business.
However, if a games company wants to suddenly make a claim and have the videos demonetised or taken down, that is still their right. A big example of this is when Nintendo clamped down on people streaming their games.
This has massive implications for all streamers
Don’t underestimate the impact of this move – Vanaman has highlighted the uncomfortable truth that not only are all game streamers completely beholden to games companies – but also those games companies can and will have their videos removed at will. It has opened a can of worms that might have massive ripples across the whole world of YouTube game streaming.