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Developers may be “waiving their rights” if they allow YouTubers to use game footage

Monday, 16th December 2013 12:56 GMT By Dave Owen

The controversy of YouTube clamping down on gameplay videos continues, and now a lawyer well-versed in copyright law has weighed in on the subject, claiming that if developers allow YouTubers to continue unchecked, it may prevent them from taking action in the future if their footage is used in a manner they don’t like.

“Posting video clips without the copyright owners’ permission is copyright infringement,” says Kim Walker, partner at Thomas Eggar law firm. “In allowing gamers to promote themselves with footage informally, and by announcing this to the press, developers may be waiving their right to take action for infringement against these or other You-tubers if the content is used in a way they don’t like, unless they have clearly reserved their rights. A licence agreement would be the best way of protecting both parties rather than leaving things on an informal basis, but there will likely be a cost to administer the scheme and so may not prove popular.”

This follows a spate of copyright claims seeing well-known YouTube personalities being forced to remove videos showing gameplay footage. Many developers have since spoken out to voice their support for the YouTube community and the use of their games.

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15 Comments

  1. salarta

    In other words, copyright is terrible and needs to be completely overhauled for the digital age.

    #1 8 months ago
  2. Darkfield

    In my time I’ve seen so much shit, this has to be the most infuriating one, on par with SOPA.

    #2 8 months ago
  3. Christopher Jack

    I don’t get a lot of this bullshit copyright infringement crap. You don’t watch video games, you play them so how the hell are they infringing by showing footage? At it’s core it’s just free advertisement. It also annoys me when parodies get targeted, again it’s simply free advertisement.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. Cobra951

    “developers may be waiving their right to take action for infringement against these or other You-tubers if the content is used in a way they don’t like, unless they have clearly reserved their rights.”

    I’ve said as much before. Copyright must be actively protected, or it may be lost. So they’re not necessarily just being greedy. I know it sucks, and I would like to see that changed to something friendlier. But it is what it is.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. foofly

    Is it possible for a developer / publisher to say that all captured footage from their game can be used with a Creative Commons licence to their liking?

    #5 8 months ago
  6. Christopher Jack

    @4, You make it sound like it’s a bad thing. It’s certainly not cannibalizing sales so what harm could their possibly be? If it were movies or music you may have a case if they were using a majority of the unaltered content but little clips parodies do no harm & again, just provide free advertisement.

    #6 8 months ago
  7. ruckus

    “They allowed unlicensed video’s of their game to be uploaded on youtube your honour – a fact that was published widely in the press so I think you’ll find my client was well within their right to assume they could copy anything they damned well please, and sell it with impunity.”

    The court lol’d.

    Copyright does NOT have to be actively defended – it is not a trademark.
    I’d imagine the fact would be used to try and impact damages a court awards however.

    #7 8 months ago
  8. Cobra951

    @7: I understand you shouldn’t trust my legal judgment. So I can understand you ignoring my previous statements. But now they are backed up by official legal expertise, and you still hold on to that falsehood?

    #8 8 months ago
  9. salarta

    @4: Nah, they’re just being greedy. “We need to protect copyright” isn’t a reason, it’s an excuse. It’s understandable if we’re talking episode of TV shows or whole movies, but we’re talking about videos of gameplay, and the majority of takedown notices that I’ve seen so far have been because of music in the games, not video of the games themselves.

    Squeenix pulled this on fan sequels of Chrono Trigger too, “we need to protect copyright,” and they only did it after the release of the half-assed CTDS didn’t lead to the mountains of money they expected. One of the execs from Squeenix actually said that if fans wanted a sequel, they had to buy more copies of CTDS. Before CTDS, Squeenix completely left fan sequels alone.

    #9 8 months ago
  10. karma

    Yup, thats what happens when you mess with the status quo, it only ends up creating a whole lot more problems than there were to begin with.

    The games industry has gotten really good at that just lately.

    #10 8 months ago
  11. ruckus

    “But now they are backed up by official legal expertise”

    Where?

    If you mean the quote above:
    “Posting video clips without the copyright owners’ permission is copyright infringement,”
    Nothing here…

    “In allowing gamers to promote themselves with footage informally, and by announcing this to the press, developers may be waiving their right to take action for infringement against these or other You-tubers if the content is used in a way they don’t like,”
    Nothing here

    “unless they have clearly reserved their rights. A licence agreement would be the best way of protecting both parties rather than leaving things on an informal basis, but there will likely be a cost to administer the scheme and so may not prove popular.”

    So no I don’t see anything.

    The headline: Developers may be “waiving their rights” if they allow YouTubers to use game footage

    Though it doesn’t say they lose all rights.

    The lawyer is mainly saying that if they want to control what’s uploaded then they can by paying for licensing (administrative or fee not implicitly implied). If EULA’s are that great then I don’t see why you don’t just put an exemption there and if the fee is for screening then I’d imagine a free speech challenge if anyone can be bothered.

    So where was I? Oh – “But now they are backed up by official legal expertise” where’d that happen again?_?

    edit: Thought it doesn’t – changed Thought

    #11 8 months ago
  12. Arnvidr

    It should be up to the person who MADE the VIDEO to decide what licence it should have. That the creators of the GAME has ANY sort of say over this is a travesty.

    #12 8 months ago
  13. Hybridpsycho

    Couldn’t they just add a part where they say that all their content is to be legally used in Let’s play/walkthrough videos? :o

    Maybe I’m missing something big and this seems to simple to me so I probably am, but still :/

    #13 8 months ago
  14. Llewelyn_MT

    Sooo, not challenging each occurrence of fair use of your materials makes you waive your copyright rights. Totally makes sense. Except not in this world.

    #14 8 months ago
  15. majicship

    I never buy a game (even an old game) without first checking that game out on YouTube, and most especially via a walkthrough. It’s the best free mass advertising the games industry could ever wish for. Therefore it does not seem to be in the games industry’s best interest to piss away potentially good sales gained from having somebody showcase their latest release on YouTube to millions of potential customers. The industry needs to come out in full support of those who provide walkthroughs of the industry’s products on YouTube.

    #15 8 months ago

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