YouTube's recent copyright policy changes have deeply angered the gaming community, and even has rights holders coming to the aid of affected YouTubers.
Earlier in the week, YouTube's ContentID copyright detection system was made to target affiliates of MCNs (Multi Channel Networks, like Machinima), which had previously been spared in copyright sweeps. This single move meant that thousands of videos were flagged and removed, to the dismay of uploaders.
Most of the removed gaming videos were "Let's Play" videos, which featured gaming footage along with audio commentary by the uploader. These videos have proven to be extremely popular with gamers, and game publishers have also embraced these videos as great promotion tools. The positive response to these videos by people on both sides of the copyright divide was not enough to prevent a few high profile incidents involving YouTube's controversial automated anti-piracy system ContentID, most notably an incident earlier this year involving Nintendo.
YouTube's latest copyright sweep appears to be another PR nightmare for the company struggling to strike the right balance between copyright and freedom of expression. This time, even the game publishers, the rights holders in this equation, are finding YouTube's actions to be excessive. Ubisoft, Capcom, Blizzard, Deep Silver, Valve and Nintendo are among the many gaming companies that have united with YouTubers to help them reinstate videos that have been caught in this latest crackdown.
Even with videos reinstated, this latest incident has left a bitter taste in the mouth of YouTubers. Many have already expressed a desire to create less videos, or only for games for which they have received specific permission to make videos for.
With both next-gen consoles, the PS4 and Xbox One, offering a video sharing feature built into the core operating system, YouTube's heavy handed copyright handling may become more and more of an issue.