Sega Issuing Copyright Claims, Strikes On Multiple YouTube Videosby Tristan Oliver December 20, 2013
Correspondence Indicates Japan Division Behind the Trouble
Much of the gaming world has been in uproar the past several weeks over changes to YouTube’s policy on flagging and issuing warnings for copyrighted material. Those changes have critically impacted a wide array of videos and channels that use content from games, even when some game publishers and developers have pledged they are not behind the filings. Consequences have included revenue streams from those videos being cut off, resulting in sending some who rely on YouTube as a primary or secondary source of income scrambling, and the game companies themselves scrambling to find out what’s going on with unintended claims.
Now, TSSZ has learned a number of YouTubers, large and small, have seen Content ID claims show up in their inboxes from Sega, with some of those disputing the claims receiving outright strikes against their account. Sonic videos are among those being impacted.
This unfolding situation first fermented last week, when prominent YouTube LPer DarkSydePhil posted this tidbit on his Twitter feed:
ALERT: I just received a legit copyright strike (IF its really them) from SEGA for the final part of Binary Domain, a 2 year old playthrough
— Phil (@TheyCallMeDSP) December 12, 2013
When Phil disputed a claim on his video from 2011–one of more than 400 in all he’s seen in this mess, he claims–he received a copyright strike from Sega, making them one of only a handful of companies to actively defend their rights in this matter where many others have spoken out against the new YouTube policy. Other LPers such as Cobanermani456 have received similar claims:
@TheyCallMeDSP yep, all my Mario, pikmin 3, Zelda, etc. Sega also claimed my most viewed sonic stuff
— Cobi (@Cobanermani456) December 20, 2013
Phil has been in touch with representatives from Sega since, and learned today the claims are not coming from the West:
Got a PM from someone within SEGA UK today: its SEGA Japan that's issuing the copyright strikes and the rest of SEGA is pissed about it
— Phil (@TheyCallMeDSP) December 20, 2013
Additional research appears to back up that claim. When we reached out to seek additional information from our readers on Twitter, we received this detail from @Poketon96, an LPer who had a Sonic and the Black Knight video flagged. He went directly to Sega on the matter, and customer service representative named Chris responded:
We never give explicit permission to use our intellectual property. We reserve the right to take necessary actions when our properties are used inappropriately, maligned or distributed for profit.
However, in North America and Europe we typically will not take action on Youtube videos or similar content. Monetization of Youtube videos is not something we consider, but we will demand the removal of any leaked footage as well as content that uses our properties in a malicious or inappropriate way.
We will also not typically take action against works for personal use, school projects, portfolios, etc, as long as the work is not distributed for profit and our ownership of the copyright is acknowledged.
If you have been affected by this rash of YouTube content claims on a Sonic or Sega video, you’re now being urged to contact Sega’s community team via E-Mail to get it sorted out. It is discouraged that you dispute the claim directly with YouTube, as strikes have been handed out and are tough to reverse.
Unfortunately, this is merely an evolution of a smaller story we have been following for over a year in the frame of a series of Shining Force franchise videos that were also claimed by Sega of Japan under copyright. In those instances, many ultimately pointed the finger to a single individual within Sega of Japan–Director Tsuyoshi Sawada–and even Aaron Webber had to make a statement assuring fans all was well. Whether this is the work of Sawada or someone else, it now appears that understanding between East and West has eroded again, and a nuclear option of sorts is being spearheaded by Sega of Japan.
Certainly if this continues, the impact of disseminating LPs and even basic game information could be profoundly impacted. We will keep you on top of developments as needed.