Back at the start of December, we reported on new YouTube copyright detection rules that were leading to thousands of game bloggers having their monetized content removed from the video sharing site in an aggressive and overzealous form of copyright protection. You may also remember one of the most outlandish instances of this scandal; VVVVVV developer Terry Cavanagh having his own game trailer removed for infringing copyright.
YouTube responded by telling those hit that they could launch appeals and would hear back in January. But in case you were under the naïve impression that this meant people like Cavanagh would get the rights to their games back, think again. Cavanagh announced on Twitter over the weekend that his YouTube appeal was turned down…
The copyright claim in this case isn’t actually against the visual content of Cavanagh’s work, literally the content that he developed. It’s against the music used in the trailer – SoulEye’s track Positive Force. Cavanagh owns the rights to use the SoulEye track in his video, but once again this is a case where the claim has been filed by a third party music distribution company.
Once again, this claim has been filed by the now-hated Indmusic, a third-party who have the online distribution rights to thousands and thousands of songs online, and have been zealously pursuing those rights, apparently without checking whether the original poster is the creator of those tracks.
It’s not a great week to be a small games developer if you care about your legal rights. Earlier this week it emerged that King have both successfully trademarked the word “candy” (bringing whole new meaning to the term “taking candy from a baby”) but also are challenging The Banner Saga over their use of the word “Saga”.
This YouTube appeal rejection seems like merely the latest in a series of legal cases that could prove dangerous and damaging to the retention of a healthy and competitive gaming culture where indies square up to huge AAA titles and gamers are freely able to post Let’s Plays, discussion and reviews of their favourite titles online without fear of legal repercussions.
What do you think of the latest in the VVVVVV saga (if it is, indeed, still safe to use the term saga)?
Is this series of events indicative of wider and more damaging change in the games industry?