Copyright Apocalypse: End of YouTube?

yt1The gaming community has been hit hard this week as Google has updated its Content ID system. Numerous gaming channels have been targeted by the algorithm. Is the end of YouTube near?

YouTube uses an automated system that matches user created content with the content from copyright holders. When a hit is found the content is matched and the user has to admit the footage belongs to the copyright holder. The monetization of the video will be halted and all the advertising revenue will go to the copyright holder. Many YouTube stars in the gaming realm earn a living from uploading gaming content, even with consent from the publishers.

With the new wave of copyright claims, even publishers distance themselves from YouTube’s practices as it tries to counter multichannel networks such as IGN and Machinima who collaborate or oversee many content creators. The networks would work as an agent for the creators, ensuring they can keep creating quality content.

This post will probably be a complaint on existing copyright law which is hopelessly outdated. I saw this coming, that one day the corrupted and poisoned copyright claimants would seize the internet, only to satisfy multibillion corporations. It hasn’t come to that doom scenario yet, but they are sure trying their hardest.

Copyright law in essence isn’t a stupid concept. It protects the original creators and gives them the proper compensation. But, these laws were created in a time where communication and media distribution was slower, much slower. In earlier posts I talked about the issue, where media companies could discover new ways of finding revenue instead of penalizing every outing of their product.

What the old copyright law does in a new world, is killing creativity and feeding angst to users. These laws are now mostly backed by authorities who most likely can’t distinguish a computer from a television or who think a keyboard is a teleportation device to another dimension. I am exaggerating of course, but when SOPA was introduced, the people backing it weren’t in their late 20’s. Their mindset is different, their worldview is therefore different.

Back to the Youtube disaster. I mentioned earlier that some creators earn a living from YouTube. I think PewdiePie isn’t unfamiliar to many, who is also making a living from YouTube. If so to speak, someone like PewdiePie was halted from doing his ‘job’ on YouTube, he would disappear. And so are many other channels that move in the realm of gaming.

YouTube would lose a great deal of content, considering PewdiePie being the biggest channel at the moment. PewdiePie and the likes create content, of course combined with other content, namely gaming footage. They made games popular and generated sales. One of the reasons why publishers are against the recent raid of YouTube. They benefit from the exposure generated by the gaming community on YouTube. Stopping this movement could push away a lot of users and scare of potential talent or new users from uploading their content.

If this trend continues, I predict YouTube will become a push-platform for commercial parties to show off their “fantastic” products. And YouTube is a social media platform. If you pull the social out of social media, you get media. Media alone isn’t what makes it special. People need to be able to communicate, share and create media or else it is doomed to fail. Maybe someday we will see a brighter future for copyright, because this week was a black chapter for the internet.


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