Monday, 20 August 2012

Learning to youtube: copyright troll adventures

Ever since I uploaded my first gameplay videos to Youtube, i have received five copyright infringement notices. The first one totally freaked me out. It was a whole new territory of information and I had no clue how to handle this. I wasn't so much surprised (I had combined the game footage with classical, recognizable pieces) but I was clueless. Except that I knew very well I had my "rights" sorted out. So, i returned to the source for consultation - Incompetech's FAQ page, that is. See, Kevin has done all the homework for people who use the music on his site. So, once the initial panic diffused and craftiness kicked in, I found the 'dispute' option and simply copied the FAQ link into the explanation box. These two notices were taken back immediately.

My third notice actually did surprise me. Once again, I'd combined game footage with music from Incompetech reserves. Except this time I was pretty sure those were all Kevin's own originals. And the name of the piece I was supposedly using without permission wasn't even among the material. Processing this dispute took a wee bit longer, but a few hours later it was taken back as well.

Enter present day. I had already uploaded a bunch of Fallout: New Vegas gameplay videos and not had one problem with the material. And then, as I had entered the add-on scenario, the ingame radio was playing some catchy tunes - which I had forgot to turn off at first. And two of these tunes (not all of them - just these two) triggered a copyright notice from a fishy-sounding company called AdRev. Now, once again, I experienced some initial panic: the situation was new again because I had no idea what licences and rights might apply in case of letting others hear the music that played while you played. Then the Crafty Mode kicked in and I begun my quests to find out:
a) what sorts of rules apply to these two songs; and
b) what's the deal with AdRev.

I wasn't able to find out sure-fire intel about the songs, though many clues indicate that they're probably in Public Domain. (While the whole game soundtrack is publicly available in several places, I wasn't able to track down the licensing information to go with it.) I did, however, come across abundant intel and lament on AdRev and the likes. First there was this Google group dedicated on the topic. While my ingame radio case isn't as clear-cut as the "my video is silent" kind of instances, it became clear that this wasn't about legit claims or honest mistakes. There was also this page but it seemed too advanced for the issue at hand.

Then I found the videos from the many Youtubers who had had similar problems. I want to help spreading  the word at least a little bit:

As for me, I feel I need to do some more homework before I hit the 'dispute' button on this - to make sure I've got all bases covered. In the future, I would also like to see these two reasons added to the dispute form:
* "I discard your claim because you are a copyright troll. Shoo!"
* "Oh, come on. This is simply ridiculous." 

Edit (Sept 4):
Apparently things can get even more fucked up (even without the malicious/ greedy intent):

1 comment:

  1. The middle video targeting AdRev has been taken down. Another user shares it here: