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This morning's news about extensive copyright claims against a multitude of game-related videos on YouTube has prompted a lot of discussion about the best way for publishers to work with the community. United States copyright law is gray in a lot of places, but there is one thing that is certain. Content creators have a duty to vigorously defend their intellectual property. Failure to do so isn’t a gesture of kindness, it’s the bullet that becomes suddenly and unexpectedly lodged in the foot.
The law is written such that any incursion on the copyright boundaries can be used against an intellectual property holder should a case be pursued later. A defendant can cite similar examples using copyrighted material that weren’t pursued to show that the copyright holder failed in its duty. This could drastically reduce the value of the work and, therefore, the possible judgment amount.
It is for this reason (and others) that we’re likely seeing a surge in copyright claims on YouTube videos. It’s important to distinguish critical work (like video reviews) from “let’s play” videos.
While few would argue that LPers add their own flavor to the material. Use of the video content wouldn’t pass muster for fair use. Using huge chunks of a game (possibly the entire thing) even with that voice overlay wouldn’t pass the criticism and critique test because of the portion used in the video.
Regardless of whether something is considered fair use though, the copyright holder has a right to claim protection. There are some clearer cases (such as news broadcasts), but grey areas exist where the effect of the secondary work on the original is unclear or the purpose of the secondary material isn’t easy to discern. In the latter examples, a federal court is required to make the determination.
All of that aside, there is a better way. Some publishers have essentially waived licensing fees for video creators. One such company is Deep Silver.
Following Deep Silver’s extensive, YouTube creator-friendly statement on the copyright matter, we spoke with director of marketing and public relations Aubrey Norris about her company’s approach to that community.
“We absolutely love LPers and folks that make their own videos using our games,” Norris told us. “They are a really important part of our community because they're really passionate and super creative, which can result in some amazing videos that make the rounds among our team! (Yes, we do watch many of your videos and love them!)”
Norris went on to explain that Deep Silver views YouTube creations as a form of self-expression, and one that should be eligible for monetization. “Our policy is very simple – we won't flag your videos as long as you are posting content for released games, and we are fine with YouTubers earning money from their videos,” she said. “We think fundamentally that they should be able to express what they want via any medium – YouTube, Facebook, blogs, whatever. YouTube is just one of many outlets, and we don't want the barriers to expression to be any harder there than they are anywhere else.“
By extending permission to video creators, Deep Silver is making it clear how they are allowing their intellectual property to be used. While the publisher wouldn’t likely find success pursuing a claim against a single YouTube creator at this point, it has put up a wall between this type of use and others.
For instance, allowing users to create videos of themselves playing Saints Row would be acceptable. Stitching together all of the cutscenes and selling a DVD would likely fall outside that.
For Norris though, putting these rules in place for the YouTube community is about more than protecting copyright. “We treat YouTubers just like any other media,” she says. “We put them on our news lists, send them review copies, invite them to events, join their livestreams, and try to support them as much as we can. Basically we just want to let people have fun with our games and want to make it as easy as possible for them.”
Deep Silver’s approach swings just about as far to the opposite of today’s YouTube copyright claims as you could possibly get. There is a middle ground, and publishers need to start finding their place in it fast.
Publishers don’t have to be Deep Silver to succeed, but they aren’t going to make friends being one of the companies causing trouble today in the YouTube community. As Norris has shown, there is a way to protect intellectual property that doesn’t shut the door on the burgeoning derivative scene.
The more quickly publishers embrace that, the better off they will be. Taking a hardline approach might shut down some YouTube channels and save some money in the short term, but it’s also shutting out a potentially untapped audience and customer base.
Halfbrick Studios will launch its next game, Colossatron: Massive World Threat, on December 19, the developer announced in a new trailer. The game was first announced in July at PAX Australia for iOS, though the Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride developer’s latest announcement now includes both Google Play and the Amazon App store as the game’s other destined platforms.
Colossatron gives players the ability to smash through cities as a giant robotic snake, thwarting resistance efforts from one General Moustache and his army. Halfbrick promises a “chaotic campaign, epic boss fights, devastating weaponry, survival challenges” and other features in the mobile game. No price was listed for the game.
Most T-shirt designs offered through daily sales on TeeFury.com are only available for a limited time. During these twenty-four hour sales, the featured design is available for just $ 11. Once the sale ends, that design is available for the regular price of $ 18 for a few more hours. Once those hours are up, the design must receive enough votes before it can be brought back. Today, twelve popular designs from TeeFury's past are available once again.
The twelve returning designs are based on a variety of video games, movies, television shows, and more. Designs include Boba Fett as an assassin from Assassin's Creed, Link as Luke Skywalker, and Mario as Indiana Jones.
The Joker and the Penguin star in a parody of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Another design uses the first three evolutions of the Pokémon Eevee as an example of divergent evolution. One design is even is even a reference to a gameplay mechanic in classic tabletop RPGs.
Click to enlarge.
Browse the gallery over at TeeFury to find these and other awesome designs brought back by popular demand, including some from our previous coverage. Please note that, because their daily sales have long since ended, returning shirts are priced at $ 18.
Sony continues its PS Mobile promotion with another pair of free downloads today. If you have a PlayStation Certified device or PS Vita, you can grab Super Crate Box and Fuel Tiracas for free right now.
Super Crate Box, from Vlambeer, is an arcade action game where players must battle waves of encroaching enemies while collecting crates – which have weapons inside of them – on a multi-tiered 2D level. We found the PS Vita installment to be the definitive version.
Fuel Tiracas, a PS Mobile launch game from FutureLab, is a resource-management puzzle variation on the classic Whac-a-Mole carnival game. Players must boot up generators in the correct order so the titular planet of Tiracas can have breathable air.
To grab either (or both) of these games, simply head into the PlayStatin Mobile section of the PlayStation Store on PS Vita or, if you’re on a PlayStation Certified device, simply head into the PlayStation Mobile store.
Alex Rose turned a game he played with friends on paper into a mobile game years after getting the initial inspiration to do so. He charts his journey from idea to execution in this blog post. …
If you were a backer for Wasteland 2's Kickstarter, today is the first time you will be able to get your hands on the game.
Backers who donated $ 55 or more can download the beta and start playing an early version of the game today. Brian Fargo, the mastermind behind Wasteland and its return, makes sure to point out in the latest update on the game's Kickstarter page announcing the beta, that this is an incomplete version of the game. Player should be prepared to encounter bugs. If you're participating in the beta, there is a detailed process to log bugs and let the development team know how to recreate them and hopefully fix them for the full release.
Likely due in part to the recent controversy surrounding YouTube's new copyright concerns, Fargo outlined what kind of video and written coverage of the beta can be posted online, and it's pretty open.
For the Wasteland 2 beta, we are not putting any restrictions on written and video coverage. Feel free to stream the game, produce YouTube videos, blog about it or write articles about it. You’re free to use any revenue programs available, such as the YouTube Partner program. The only thing we ask is that you explicitly mention that this is a backer/early access beta, and not necessarily representative of the final product.
If you missed the opportunity to be a backer on Wasteland 2's Kickstarter, but are still interested in becoming a backer for the game, developer inExile will still accept your money and allow late-comers to check out the beta. You can learn more about that here.
For more Wasteland 2, check out our interview with Brian Fargo.
[Source: Wasteland 2 Kickstarter]
The progress of some Kickstarter projects that initially created a lot of excitement have been disappointing. It's good to see Wasteland 2 keeping on track with its promises. The game did receive a delay earlier this year, but development seems to be moving along smoothly for the most part, and the beta is proof.