Indie developers including the makers of The Witness, Thomas Was Alone, VVVVVV, and Ridiculous Fishing, are railing against YouTube and Google over their new copyright detection policies after being the target of false copyright claims on videos of their own games.
Mike Bithell, creator of puzzle platformer game Thomas Was Alone, was the target of a claim by a group called 'Indmusic' for "systematically" claiming rights to footage of his game. He lashed out at the group via Twitter:
"Pissed off at @indmusic, they are currently systematically copyright claiming all footage of my game, and monetizing. Daylight robbery," said Bithell, after having aimed a Tweet directly at the organization requesting that it stop making false claims.
"Hey, guys, you have zero ownership of footage of my game, Thomas Was Alone. Stop demanding monetization of videos of it," he said.
This is kinda disgusting, and I'm sickened that @indmusic are taking money from the pockets of a number of supporters of my game," Bithell later added.
Terry Cavanagh, developer of platformer VVVVVV, publicly railed against Indmusic too for receiving a copyright flag on a trailer of his own game.
"Uh, I'm sorry, WHAT? Apparently my own video trailer of VVVVVV has a copyright claim against it?," commented Cavanagh.
"Just submitted a claim dispute," added Cavanagh. "It's so ridiculous!"
Rami Ismail of Vlambeer (Ridiculous Fishing, Super Crate Box) took to Twitter to sound off on the whole YouTube controversy.
"I can't believe this. The games industry and video content creators finally start to work together and then this happens," he said. "Basically, if you make music for games, @indmusic and @TuneCore might be 'services' you want to avoid. Musicians having their own videos hit with claims, entire games disappearing from YouTube even though they're licensed."
"Sure, copyright is complex and I get that @YouTube wants to shield itself from potential claims, but this is disproportionate. What is not complex is looking at the situation that a lot of power-users of @YouTube find themselves in now. Let alone a lot of smaller users of the service, just uploading a small video of Hotline Miami or Thomas Was Alone," he continued. "YouTube should not give such unilateral mass-measures to people obviously not capable of dealing with that responsibility. Let alone have those measures depend on algorithms that are not capable of distinguishing between fair use and infringement."
Finally Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid and The Witness, detailed a claim filed against him from Sony for a video of his upcoming game. That story is detailed here.
The trouble with YouTube began last week when Google deployed a new copyright detection tech, which led to mass flagging of videos on well-established gaming YouTube channels with hundreds of thousands or even millions of active subscribers. When this happens monetization rights are taken away from the channel owner. YouTube has sent a statement to affected YouTubers via email earlier in the week, standing by its new 'Content ID' detection tech, and reiterating that affected users file disputes for 'invalid' copyright claims.