A YouTube war is brewing - it's big game companies versus game reviewers, and this weekend, the game publishers have made every effort to show game reviewers that they won't be criticized, won't have their games displayed, and won't tolerate free speech.
Stage Select and other popular game information sites, review sites, and other sites using YouTube for video content have been stymied this weekend due to a massive "Content ID" sweep by YouTube. Content ID is a system by YouTube which scans for videos "owned" by companies and flags content. This flagging process redirects revenue sharing of the video to a company making a claim (regardless of validity) at a minimum, or in severe cases, completely blocks video viewing worldwide. The concept is nice for those companies that have had their content pirated repeatedly - but the actual implementation, including excluding smaller rights holders from the Content ID system, is twisted to the point of ridiculousness toward large companies, and their interests.
The content sweep this weekend has essentially silenced hudreds/thousands of game reviews - first amendment protected works of criticism. It's also financially harmed several reviewers that rely on revenue from their videos. It has, of course, benefitted big media interests.
The redirection of revenue sharing means that while Google retains their cut of the revenues of any video displayed, the content uploader loses the ability to generate revenues from their videos. The claimant participating in Content ID (regardless of accuracy) then gets any revenues generated for the video. To recover from false claims, the individual uploader must fill out a manual form (a few pages long) to try to get monitization rights back from their video, and despite owning the video, are basically asking the "content owner" (large company using Content ID) permission to use their own content. The methodology at work here is exceedingly flawed. These large companies are incentivized to file false claims, or at a minimum, take as long as possible to resolve counterclaims as a part of this process. Counterclaims can take a month to be reviewed by the "claimant" and even then, the content producer has no recourse other than hoping the Content ID claimant will do the right thing and recind the claim.
As an example of this issue, Stage Select has had several videos, filed from the floor of E3, in addition to game trailers provided to us from game companies for the express purpose of distribution, flagged as infringing. Approximately half of our video library was flagged.
Because of this, YouTube content creators throughout the nation, making their living through critique of, and display of, video games have been irreperably harmed by Content ID and this content sweep. During the time that the revenue is being redirected, people expressing their first amendment rights of critique / game review, are having their revenue blocked - never to be recovered. Effectively, this is large corporations choking out criticism of their games - there's hardly any other way to express what's happened to several content creators.
One of the content owners deeply impacted by this content sweep is a very popular game reviewer named Angry Joe. Below, Angry Joe expresses his deep dissatisfaction with the Content ID system, and describes the impact it has and will have on him. Please be cautioned, this video is both loud and at times profane. But it hits the nail on the head.
Likewise, Adam Sessler brings in several content creators to discuss what's happened:
There are two sides to every story - piracy has a large impact on the industry, but these folks are not involved in piracy. There's no way to play these games in the context of a video. This is silencing criticism. The effects of this sweep this weekend have been so broad and absurd that it's nearly beyond reason.