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Opinion: YouTube Content Crackdown Threatens Era of Sharing

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YouTube logoThis was going to be the most social era in gaming history. It may still turn out that way, but YouTube’s major malfunction has glitched up the proceedings. In case you haven’t heard, YouTube has seriously ramped up efforts to flag material that might infringe a copyright. Video game content creators are among the hardest hit so far.

Joe Vargas, a YouTube personality known as “Angry Joe,” said since the stricter checks went into effect more than 60 of his videos have been flagged. They include not just reviews and previews (which obviously use game footage) but interviews with game designers. Among the videos flagged are some of his most profitable. There is a process to dispute the copyright claims, but it is a lengthy one. During the appeal, the content creator can’t earn any ad revenue. Vargas isn’t just an angry guy who rages about the latest games. Though he’s famous for profane rants, he did some of the best journalism regarding Microsoft’s about face on its Xbox One policies. This is his full-time job, and this policy change has endangered it.

Part of the frustration with the system is the seeming lack of any rhyme or reason. People can file claims even if their right to do so is laughable. Does anyone other than publishers think it’s a good idea for them to have the right to confiscate bad publicity? Many of these claims aren’t coming from the entities who have the legal right to do so. Blizzard and Valve are among those who quickly announced they enjoy publicity and want players to stream videos of their games.

But under the current system, content creators are guilty until proven innocent. Brian Picchi got flagged for uploading video of  the BASIC game Surfshooter. He’s the creator of the game. Another incident saw a Darksiders II video flagged due to a copyright claim YouTube said came from publisher THQ, which went out of business earlier this year. YouTube has posted a response, with its most helpful suggestion being to mute any music playing in the background. There’s nothing indicating they realize how badly they’re screwing up, or that a fix is on the way. They’re simply telling people to deal with it.

The timing of this couldn’t be much worse. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are both designed to encourage the sharing of gameplay. Sure, most who do so have no dream of web stardom. They’d just like to show footage of that killstreak they earned in

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