The other day, I was talking with the owner of one of my affiliate sites about broadcasts and gameplay videos, and the topic of copyrighted materials and lawsuits came up. Apparently, there is a lot of concern in certain circles when it comes to getting slapped with a lawsuit for copyright violation, perhaps rightfully so. Yet, why is it that people are now becoming afraid of doing broadcasts and gaming videos of the fun they have when playing certain titles? Are we really at a point where even that is now subject to a lawsuit from a major corporation?
Granted, I don’t want to get sued myself, but I’m at a loss in regards to why this is still an issue for some people. Yes, I am quite aware of Nintendo’s comments regarding pulling gameplay videos or, best-case, putting in their own ads for their own private revenue, but so far, I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that the fears certain site owners have are warranted. From what I understand, if someone is upset that you are featuring their content on YouTube or any other service, all they have to do is request that the content is taken down. If you or the site manager complies, then the issue should be settled. Sure, it sucks if EA tells you that they don’t want your Let’s Play video floating around the web, mainly because of all the time you put into making said video, but it isn’t the end of the world, and it is their right, for whatever reason, to request you take it down. But, on the other hand, so far I don’t know of any direct cases where someone was overtly rude about their request or overly hostile, and even though my videos don’t have huge hit counts (1,000 or more is great for me), I’ve never had any complaints or requests or anything, even with modern gaming videos.
The way I see it, if you sit down and watch me play Guild Wars 2 for two hours and really enjoy the video, perhaps you will go out and buy your own copy of that game. Sure, maybe I’m just a very good host, but still, the game had to appeal to you for you on some level to watch the video all the way through. I know this to be true, because I’ve gotten messages and e-mails from people who enjoyed my series on The Witcher so much that they went and picked up their own copy of the game, or, if they didn’t see a need to relive that game, bought the sequel. Of course, you could argue that perhaps what you see in a Let’s Play video might be so bad that it puts you off from ever buying the game, but in that case, it’s probably less the fault of the video producer and more the fault of the game developer for making a sucky game.
So, when someone tells me that they aren’t sure if they want to keep hosting videos with copyrighted materials in them because they are afraid of a lawsuit, it surprises me. After all, this is their site and they can put out whatever they want on it. They aren’t really risking any trouble here, in my opinion, and the worst-case scenario is they will be asked to take the links down. There are so many videos out there on YouTube or Twitch that it seems incredibly unlikely that someone will go after all of them and, really, that would be a terrible PR move in a time when such PR moves can make or break a company (like Microsoft’s XBox One already is starting to see, and it hasn’t even launched yet).
Long story short: you can decide what you want on your own personal site, but don’t tell me that the reason you don’t want a video or stream or podcast on your site is because you are afraid of a lawsuit, just tell me that you don’t like it and leave it at that. 😛
For other news, musings, podcasts, videos, and more, please check out Jessica’s gaming site Allahweh’s Domain!