The Big Picture: Copywrong

Vault Citizen

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Did King George really have much say over how the colonies were run? I thought that all came under the part of British history were the monarchy had already lost a lot of the power it once had and a lot of the day to day governing was done by what would become known as the Prime Minister (for those unfamiliar with British history we didn't just decide to have a a Prime Minister one day, the role sort of developed over time and the early prime ministers are described as such retroactively rather than through some announcement at the time)
 

MB202

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I cannot share this video enough times... The best part about the video was when Bob went on a mini-rant about how people think artists shouldn't care about money. For Heaven's Gate, I can't tell you how many times I see fans flipping their lid over the very idea that a creative party is trying in some way, shape, or form to get money, or trying to make a living off of what they enjoy doing. It's ridiculous, absolutely asinine, and shows just how small-minded most fans of these kinds of things on YouTube and the like are!
 

Jman1236

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While many companies will not say it up front, they rather not have critics(or at least critics that are on "there" payrolls that give everything 5/5) and go back to the way gaming worked in 1980-83, we know how that ended, spoilers: CRASH!
 

shirkbot

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I'm not sure the companies are refusing to adapt so much as I think copyright law is encouraging and/or compelling bad behavior. I mean, in trademark law if your trademark becomes so ubiquitous that everyone uses it even for generic products, then you quickly lose your trademark. I get the sense copyright law is somewhat similar in this regard. The fact that Youtube has consigned this job to unthinking robots is only putting pressure on an already outdated system and making the cracks more visible. It's a good idea, but the law has not kept up with the times. It's just too lengthy and inflexible to cope with the way the internet deals with content.
 

contla

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I always thought copyright was important no matter what Nina Paley says. But it always seems that when copyright law is trying to be changed it's always to the benefit of the large companies like the Orphan Works Act.
 

MB202

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Also, King George wasn't really a bad king. In fact, he was one of the best Kings Great Britain had, in recent memory anyway. At least from what I've heard. He didn't even really want to go to war, since he was having a few problems of his own, back in Europe.
 

hiei82

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Aug 10, 2011
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Vault Citizen said:
Did King George really have much say over how the colonies were run? I thought that all came under the part of British history were the monarchy had already lost a lot of the power it once had and a lot of the day to day governing was done by what would become known as the Prime Minister (for those unfamiliar with British history we didn't just decide to have a a Prime Minister one day, the role sort of developed over time and the early prime ministers are described as such retroactively rather than through some announcement at the time)
The American Revolution occurred in that nebulous time in the middle. Parliament had the majority of the power, but the Monarchy wasn't quite the de-clawed kitten it is today. For instance, it was King George who made the deal with parliament to sign over the profits from the royal lands for the annual stipend they get now. What more, the king remained a powerful symbol in both England and the then American Colonies; in part because the King/Queen HAD been so powerful within recent cultural memory.

Still, you're generally correct; Parliament had the real power.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Dec 11, 2009
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The Content ID thing is not about game publishers wanting to obscure criticism.

It is them believing that you should not profit off of footage and/or audio of their works, even if it was used to produced original works(reviews, criticism, discussion, fan tributes, music a la OCRemix/Miracle of Sound, etc.) because they believe they own everything associated with that work.

It is them abusing copyright law because they are fucking greedy, perhaps there could be some motive in them wanting to silence criticism, but if they really wanted to do that, I do not believe it would be subtle, it'd be closer to The WarZ/Day One Garry's Incident fiascos.

But I will agree that Copyright laws need some serious revision, they're way too outdated and do not keep up with emergent media.

Also, I don't think that the Indepence War stands as an analogy; the colonists refused to pay taxes, even when doing so was possible, so the English had no choice except to use force.

And it wasn't as if this was done specifically to America, all colonies were taxated to help in the war effort, it's just that America thought itself untouchable.

In addition, King George died from a physical condition, and the british armies were spread far too thin to be able to divert necessary resources in the war, pubs aren't going to lose in the same way, as this is likely their priority. They can only really lose by huge public backlash or through boycott(applying only to the pubs who support content ID, I know that a lot of them, like Ubi are rolling them back).

The Youtubers who are being flagged were never asked to stop using copyright material, it just happened, but I will agree that the companies are being pretty fucking selfish in trying to squeeze every last penny out of youtube, even if the videos being flagged count as free advertising.
 

shirkbot

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MB202 said:
I cannot share this video enough times... The best part about the video was when Bob went on a mini-rant about how people think artists shouldn't care about money. For Heaven's Gate, I can't tell you how many times I see fans flipping their lid over the very idea that a creative party is trying in some way, shape, or form to get money, or trying to make a living off of what they enjoy doing. It's ridiculous, absolutely asinine, and shows just how small-minded most fans of these kinds of things on YouTube and the like are!
This is totally off topic, but I think there's a couple points to be made there. The people claiming that they shouldn't be in it for the money have a point insofar as nobody should really be doing anything just for money. Sadly that's not how capitalism works, and as such everyone has to make money in some way or face death. It's called "wage slavery" amongst the more politically incendiary circles. It's harsh, and I think we'll start to see that change as we slowly realize the limitations of that particular model. I don't think it's fair to call them small minded so much as to ask if they've thought it through all the way.
 

Michael Brockbanks

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Apr 2, 2011
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From what I've seen so far, the gaming industry, at least, seems to have a good handle on this. Ubisoft (oh ye purveyor of the egregious season-pass) came out immediately to say they would NOT be stopping ANYONE uploading their stuff to YouTube, be it reviews, let's plays or whatever.

And why would they, the amount of free publicity they're getting from it.

In fact, a lot of the companies seem as taken aback by all this as the community.
 

Hutzpah Chicken

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Mar 13, 2012
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Being a "Let's Play"er myself, I try to understand the copyright laws. I only have around 10 views overall, so making money through views is a looooong way off. I do agree from an economics standpoint that copyright laws are important. They protect people's creations and also create incentives for others to create. The matter will be resolved through a compromise, no doubt, but life is a series of trial and error.

I can't remember if it was George III who only spoke German and confused a tree for the King of Prussia or if that was George II?
 

hiei82

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Aug 10, 2011
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shirkbot said:
I'm not sure the companies are refusing to adapt so much as I think copyright law is encouraging and/or compelling bad behavior. I mean, in trademark law if your trademark becomes so ubiquitous that everyone uses it even for generic products, then you quickly lose your trademark. I get the sense copyright law is somewhat similar in this regard. The fact that Youtube has consigned this job to unthinking robots is only putting pressure on an already outdated system and making the cracks more visible. It's a good idea, but the law has not kept up with the times. It's just too lengthy and inflexible to cope with the way the internet deals with content.
Less so. Copyright law gives exclusive production rights to the creator of the art for a set period of time (Life of the author + 70 years I think). Even if the book becomes as famous and popular as the Bible, the creator maintains ownership until the time period is up. It's similar to Patent Law in this respect.

Trademark law behaves differently. You can maintain a Trademark indefinitely (making changes if you like), but the moment the Trademark becomes ubiquitous (like how Kleenex came to mean facial tissues), ownership of the title becomes impossible (since the Trademark has become a word more than a title). That's why Google was so angry when Sweden tried to add "ungoogleable" to their dictionary.
 

medv4380

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Feb 26, 2010
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The YouTubers are King George in this situation.

They Copyright Laws didn't just stop being enforced by the RIAA, and others.

YouTubers were blatantly violating the Laws, and their Networks were attempting to abuse Fair Use laws that are really intended for Non-Profit uses. Yea, criticism can be profitable, but not paying the royalties on a clip of AC/DC music slipped into a GTA V review is breaking the rules. The blatant violation of the rules, the refusal to negotiate licencing, and the failure of the youtube networks to actually pay the royalties is what got the networks bot free scanning taken away.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Dec 11, 2009
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Hutzpah Chicken said:
Being a "Let's Play"er myself, I try to understand the copyright laws. I only have around 10 views overall, so making money through views is a looooong way off. I do agree from an economics standpoint that copyright laws are important. They protect people's creations and also create incentives for others to create. The matter will be resolved through a compromise, no doubt, but life is a series of trial and error.

I can't remember if it was George III who only spoke German and confused a tree for the King of Prussia or if that was George II?
I think GIV was the mad one, George I was German(so presumably he spoke only in German).
 

Callate

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Dec 5, 2008
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So... Does someone else have a video service capable of processing umpteen-cajillion teraflops of video data every day lying around?

To swing a hipster, I've been hating Youtube before it was cool- or rather, what Youtube has become. There was never any real question that once Google took them over, the Wild West days of finding television shows cut into four-minute blocks were well and truly over. Now I've got an ad at the top of the page, an ad at the side of the page, an attempt to make me watch a four-minute long ad to see the two-minute long video I'm actually trying to access, and an ad popping up to block off the bottom third of the screen five seconds in. And what I'm trying to look at is an old ad. I mean, Jesus on a pogo stick, Google, I understand you need to make a profit, but it's hard to believe that you of all people aren't getting a volume discount on bandwidth.

And now: this. Anyone want to tell me this doesn't suck? I didn't really need more reasons to dislike Youtube.

But. While the analogy to the British clamping down on the colonies with laws they had always had the legal right to inflict and causing strife within the existing system has a certain resonance, there are definitely places where the analogy falls apart.

Because the colonies had a lot of self-sustainability by the time Britain started sending over warships. And where they weren't self-sustaining, there was still the possibility of trade with nations like France and Spain.

Without Youtube, many of the content creators are dead in the water. Arguably, every content creator who actually depends on their streams on Youtube getting hits to make a living. Yeah, they might be able to slowly pull away to another service like Dailymotion or Vimeo. But they're just not going to get the kind of audience they had; they're not going to get the same number of people sharing their links, they're not going to get the same kind of community support, and I'm guessing whatever kind of profit-sharing system other services have in place, it's neither as transparent nor as business-plausible as the one Youtube spent so much time hammering out.

Unless they're willing to "starve for their art", for most people, it's Youtube or nothing. It's like King George had an absolute ability to cut off the colonies from food.

I'm not so downbeat as to suggest that some sort of transition is impossible. But if it happens, it's going to be a long, painful slog, and a lot of the content providers are going to fall dead on the wayside in the mean time. But for Youtube and Google, I suspect the prospects of a more fair-use friendly system coming into being are slim indeed.
 

Tireseas_v1legacy

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Sep 28, 2009
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Vault Citizen said:
Did King George really have much say over how the colonies were run? I thought that all came under the part of British history were the monarchy had already lost a lot of the power it once had and a lot of the day to day governing was done by what would become known as the Prime Minister (for those unfamiliar with British history we didn't just decide to have a a Prime Minister one day, the role sort of developed over time and the early prime ministers are described as such retroactively rather than through some announcement at the time)
It's mostly symbolic at that point, but an analysis of criticism of British colonial policy at the time made an effort to distinguish between the symbolic king and the actually powerful parliament (a) because it's easier to claim tyranny against a single individual rather than group in terms of propaganda and (b) because moderate factions within the colonies that were frustrated but not quite to the point of revolt would have preferred simply having a small amount of representation in the parliament so they got their say, and attacking the people who could make that decision isn't the best way of achieving that.

Also, I've always been really skeptical of Let's Play videos that weren't done in sandbox games, as there is a transformation factor in the fair use definition requiring some kind of substantive change in the material to acquire the protection. Walk-throughs through linear games with voice-over (and those voice-overs are often not particularly substantive), really feel like they are just rebroadcasting the content rather than trying to transform it enough to justify a potential fair use argument. I will be the first to say I have watched Let's Play videos in order to just find out the visuals and story of a game I did not play and not for the commentary, which is the real problem with those videos.
 

MovieBob

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Dec 31, 2008
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medv4380 said:
The YouTubers are King George in this situation.

They Copyright Laws didn't just stop being enforced by the RIAA, and others.

YouTubers were blatantly violating the Laws, and their Networks were attempting to abuse Fair Use laws that are really intended for Non-Profit uses. Yea, criticism can be profitable, but not paying the royalties on a clip of AC/DC music slipped into a GTA V review is breaking the rules. The blatant violation of the rules, the refusal to negotiate licencing, and the failure of the youtube networks to actually pay the royalties is what got the networks bot free scanning taken away.
You trying to put all the blame on Youtubers is funny,what rules have they blatantly broken?You know what?Maybe everyone should start paying royalties for everything they use including computers,clothes,and cars,because that's the kind of retarded logic you are supporting right now.
 

ZZoMBiE13

Ate My Neighbors
Oct 10, 2007
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I don't mean to undercut the point you're making, because it is a big deal. But you pretty much covered it better than I ever could.

But what I came to the comments for is to say the following: OH MY GOD, THE ROBOTS FROM "CHOPPING MALL"! That movie was such gloriously stupid fun when I was in High School. :)

Great work as always Bob.
 

deth2munkies

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Jan 28, 2009
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tl;dr: Youtube's content-ID system is the real problem, the DMCA is flawed and drastically needs updating, but would cover reviews under fair use.


I'm not going to claim to be a copyright expert either, but I am a first year law student that has discussed this topic with people that are. You're half right in the video: copyright as a concept was largely codified as it is today in the early 20th century, however, what we're dealing with now, on the internet, is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act which was largely passed in 1998 and amended later (though I can't remember when, probably 2004, but Wikipedia has failed me). But the DMCA isn't even the problem in this case, as all the reviews (and I imagine some of the other content) are covered EXPLICITLY by the fair use exception.

The problem in this case is Youtube's content ID system. Many companies that were cited as taking down content (see Riot Games, Deep Silver, etc.) have said they had nothing to do with it and will restore anything that people bring to them. What happened recently was they started applying this content ID system to PARTNERS in addition to random accounts. So people that made their living on Youtube were getting their videos flagged. That's why it's such a huge deal right now.

There are many problems with the DMCA, but the Youtube copyright scandal highlights one of them: it's damn near impossible to punish excessive and erroneous takedown notices. In order to do so, you have to take them to court, then prove, at trial, through a preponderance of the evidence that they did not have the copyright to that work and that they KNEW they didn't have the copyright to that work. You cannot take them to court for repeated violations of fair use.

On the direct matter at hand, my opinion is that Youtube needs to clean up their system. They should have a team dedicated to investigating copyright claims against partners at the very least, so they can catch fair use before this kind of stuff happens. Game and movie reviews should be protected and should be allowed to run clips of b-reel and trailers with impunity so long as they are doing it for the purposes of criticism.

The stickier point is let's players. On the one hand, it's arguble that their commentary is transformative and a large base of their audience comes to see them and not the games, however, an exhaustive (through the whole game, all options) let's play can definitely damage the saleability of a game and might exceed the scope of fair use. It's similar to reading an entire novel out and recording yourself doing it, what you're making is a bootleg audiobook and that definitely exceeds fair use. A good example would be pretty much any game by Telltale: if you run through Walking Dead or any of the Sam and Maxes, you reveal all the content to the player, there's very little gained by actually playing the game. Different, perhaps, from things like I Wanna be the Guy, Starcraft, and other competitive or challenge-driven titles where you can't get the experience solely from watching them. It's a legal question that hasn't been answered yet, and I think it's one that can only be answered inter-medium and not by over-arching legislation.

I think we might be in luck, though. The house recently passed the Innovation Act [http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/12/05/the-house-votes-on-patent-reform-today-heres-what-you-need-to-know/] which comes down hard on patent trolls by making frivolous litigation very expensive. While this doesn't affect copyright at all, it indicates a trend that Congress is taking notice of the deficiencies in Intellectual Property Law and is doing something about it. We can only hope a followup to the DMCA (that isn't SOPA-esque) is what's next on the agenda.