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Firewatch Dev Issues DMCA Takedown Against PewDiePie After He Streamed a Racial Slur [Updated]

Campo Santo is urging other developers to join them.

This article first appeared on USgamer, a partner publication of VG247. Some content, such as this article, has been migrated to VG247 for posterity after USgamer's closure - but it has not been edited or further vetted by the VG247 team.

Update: Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg has offered an apology for his actions in a new video.

"You probably won't believe me when I say this but whenever I go online and I hear other players use the same kind of language I did, I always find it extremely immature and stupid. And I hate how I now personally fed into that part of gaming as well," said Kjellberg in the video. ""It was something I said in the heat of the moment. I said the worst word I could possibly think of. And it just sort of slipped out. I'm not going to make any excuses as to why it did because there are no excuses for it."

"I'm disappointed in myself because it seems like I've learned nothing from all these past controversies. And it's not that I think I can say or do whatever I want and get away with it. That's not it at all. I'm just an idiot," he added. "But that doesn't make what I said or how I said it okay. It was not okay. I'm really sorry if I offended, hurt or disappointed anyone with all of this. Being in the position I am, I should know better. I know I can't keep messing up like this. I owe it to my audience and to myself to do better than this because I know I'm better than this."

Firewatch developer Campo Santo has issued a DMCA request to YouTube and have successfully taken down videos of its game as streamed by YouTube personality Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg. The move is seen as a retaliation against Kjellberg for a string of offensive remarks and actions, the latest was over the weekend when Kjellberg used a racial slur during a livestream of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

"We're filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie's Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games," said studio co-founder Sean Vanaman. While Vanaman declined to say whether it is a direct result of Kjellberg's PUBG stream, but he did spend some time tweeting a longer response regarding Kjellberg.

"There is a bit of leeway you have with the internet when [you] wake up every day and make video games. There's also a breaking point.... I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make."

As of right now, Kjellberg's Firewatch video is unavailable.

Watch on YouTube

While the laws are a bit unclear when it comes to video game streaming, Campo Santo has the same laws that allow a game's corporate owners to limit or monetize off of its own game footage. YouTubers can claim fair use if they add sufficient commentary or criticism, but as YouTube's monetization help page states, "Video game content may be monetized depending on the commercial use rights granted to you by licenses of video game publishers... Without the appropriate license from the publisher, use of video game or software user interface must be minimal."

Kjellberg's latest incident where he used the n-word has drawn massive outcries from gamers and non-gamers alike. As one of the poster childs of YouTube stardom, the episode has drawn headlines from global media outlets like the Guardian and BBC.

Earlier this year Kjellberg was caught up in another incident when the YouTuber lost a contact with Disney after the Wall Street Journal reported on anti-semitic jokes made by Kjellberg. This includes a video where Kjellberg paid freelancers to hold up signs with anti-semitic statements.

While social media's response to the incident is about as much as you would imagine, it was interesting to see some parties come out against Campo Santo; citing the DMCA takedown as a dangerous precedent. Considering though that it's not so much precedent as it is Campo Santo's legal rights, this argument seems misguided.

"He's worse than a closeted racist: he's a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry," wrote Vanaman. He urges other developers to revoke Kjellberg's use of their games in his videos.

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