Thursday, December 12, 2013

YouTube Copyright Policy Change


There was a time where YouTube did not exist, and the way people watched videos were from Flash players or Real Video. It was a dark time, a time that lasted quite awhile, because it needed to buffer.

New policy changes and Content ID checks have created an avalanche of controversy, and rightfully so. Snippets of video and audio are now blocking Partners from monetizing their videos. This is done in an attempt to cut down on Let's Plays, where gamers commentate over the game they're playing. The problem stems that these blocks are wholesale. Let's Plays, reviews, interviews, it doesn't matter, and what is happening is the Partners who YouTube is their job, are now losing money.

This is an awful turn of events for the Partners being affected, because for the past several years they have been making a living without incident. Partners who have been allowed access and encourage to do the very thing they are losing out on. Years worth of trust has been destroy from the Content ID checks. Checks, that will very well hurt and cripple many livelihoods.

The content will still be made, it's a given. Passionate people will still go out of their way and make videos on their free time and weekends. What we are losing, as consumers, is the wealth and diversity of content once YouTube Partners no longer have a full-time job. What follows is less content, less reason to be on YouTube, and less access to information.

Video games are a unique medium, and with that comes unique situations. Someone can play a game one way, and somebody else can go through it completely different. It's not like a film or television show, where only the interpretations vary. Our interaction fundamentally changes the experience, and those changes should be shared and unhindered. 

The digital age has changed the way we receive content. No longer through a TV screen, no longer with a disc. I'm fine with that, I accept it with open arms. What is changing, and what can set a terrible precedent, is the idea of what we buy is no longer the product, but a license to use the product. This is something companies have been trying to push and make normal, and it is anything but.

I own movies, I own games, I own books. I can do whatever I want with them. With video games being a unique medium, it allows, and has allowed, us to record and stream our experience to share with others. It should stand that if a Partner is able to grow enough of an audience by playing video games, they've earned the right to make money.

Even if Let's Players are taken out of the equation, reviewers are still in harm's way with the Content ID checks. All of these are real jobs that are facing difficult and uncertain hardships. The equipment itself to record and edit is costly. I do gaming videos for fun, and my computer is nearly filled up with video and audio. Extrapolating from that, professional YouTubers have to use expensive equipment and deal with managing so much, and sadly, all the behind the scenes and ignored.

It'll be interesting to see where YouTube will take this, and how they will respond to the criticism and Content ID outcry.