More YouTube copyright abuse from crooked developers

The debate steams forward as developers silence critics once again by abusing YouTube’s copyright claim system.

On the 7th of March a somewhat niche game appeared on Kickstarter. Named ‘Dark Skyes‘, the game was touted as a “brony dating sim with deep RPG elements, 100+ gameplay hours, and gorgeous artwork.”

Asking for $7,500, a figure of around $3000 was quickly raised by people interested in the title. Now, however, it seems the whole thing was a scam, pulled by elaborate pranksters ‘Million Dollar Extreme’.

The full back story to this entire fiasco is available here.

YouTube user iDubbbzTV uploaded a video to his channel explaining the story and urging his 40,000 subscribers not to back or fund the Dark Skyes project. This video was quickly pounced upon by the Dark Skyes team and removed with a copyright claim, which iDubbbzTV confirmed with a Tweet here.

Although there is a fundamental problem with Kickstarter campaigns taking advantage of niche markets and not delivering, the deeper problem lies in YouTube’s lap. A few months ago YouTube personality John ‘TotalBiscuit’ Bain encountered the same issue, with the developers of Day One: Gary’s Incident and Guise of the Wolf both abusing the copyright system and having his especially critical videos removed. TotalBiscuit, however, has the backing of over 1,500,000 subscribers, making sure that news got out and spread around very quickly.

TB’s videos were soon adjudged as ‘fair use’ by YouTube and restored back to his channel. TB’s Guise of the Wolf video is here, as is his Day One: Gary’s Incident video here.

Now the problem at its root is that developers who’ve made poor, buggy or unfinished games (or in Dark Skyes’ case, non-existent games) can just silence critics. The period in which the critics are silenced gives them more time to peddle their broken wares on unsuspecting gamers and the disappear back into obscurity, start a new company and do the same thing again.

YouTube, as much as you’d expect the opposite, fully facilitates this practise. If a company lodges a copyright claim against a video it is immediately taken down. There’s been stories of companies who have no involvement with the material in certain videos lodging complaints and having the videos removed. There’s even been a copyright claim successfully lodged against Terry Cavanagh a developer who hosted a trailer for his own game, with a random company having the video removed by crying copyright.

It seems the amount of times this happens doesn’t deter YouTube and its parent company Google from swinging the sword against small and large content creators alike. And this, of course, is fine because there is no alternative. People with huge channels like TotalBiscuit make their livings from their YouTube channels and abandoning the service would be abandoning his livelihood. Until a better alternative to YouTube comes along, gains more popularity and gets the large video creators on board, this will keep happening. It’s a shame, but it’s a clear indication into how much YouTube really cares when it comes to their audience and their ’employees’.

Let’s just hope that alternative comes along quickly.

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