One independent developer is attempting to organize a movement in response to the recent rise of YouTube copyright claims against Let's Play videos and other gaming-focused content on the video site.
Lars Doucet, cofounder of Defender's Quest developer Level Up Labs, has created a wikia directory page called WhoLetsPlay (based on the Twitter hashtag) where video creators can easily find out which publishers allow monetized Let's Play videos and which don't.
Publishers are divided into three groups:
YES - Allows Let's Play AND allows them to be monetized.
MAYBE - Might allow monetization under some circumstances, or it is unknown.
No - Does not allow monetization.
But the situation is more complicated than that, Doucet says, because many of the copyright claims are the result of YouTube's ContentID system automatically flagging music.
"Right now, there's an issue with music," Doucet said. "Many developers, small and large, license music non-exclusively. This means the musician owns the music, but gives the developers some rights (namely to use it in their game). This means that *technically* it's not legally clear-cut (again, I'm not a lawyer) that the developer has the right to grant permission for fans to make monetized videos that include the music."
"This ambiguity leads to situations where 3rd party licensors and Youtube can actually issue takedown notices and content-ID matches to developers for hosting THEIR OWN OFFICIAL TRAILERS or THEIR OWN MUSIC, in order to 'protect them. Insane, right?" he added.
According to Doucet, this is bad because it will pressure developers to secure exclusive music rights as a means to protect themselves. This is bad for everyone, Doucet argues, because exclusive rights are more expensive for developers and not as flexible for musicians.
YouTube is currently recommending Let's Play creators to make videos without music, though this is hardly an optimal scenario. Doucet said he may also create a second wiki for "known bad actors" in the music reseller space, but doesn't want it to become a "witch hunt."
YouTube said this week that it is standing by its controversial copyright policy after many angry gamers spoke out against it. A letter to affected users featured no apology or policy reversal, but rather an explanation of the scenario and tips for creators going forward.