Pewdiepie warns against DMCA abuse after YouTube takes up copyright claim against him
Felix Kjellberg, better known as Pewdiepie – the biggest YouTuber on the planet, kicked off the latest in his recent spree of controversy over his supposed use of racist language when he dropped the N-word during a PUBG live stream. In response, Sean Vanaman, the founder of Campo Santo, the developers of Firewatch, filed a DMCA takedown request against the YouTuber, saying on Twitter that he was “sick of this child getting more and more chances every day to make money off of what we create.” Yesterday, Pewdiepie responded by putting up a new video saying the copyright strike had been successful, and describing the move as “an attack on me,” and warned that the Pewdiepie channel could likely be shut down if he gets one more strike.
Pewdiepie starts off the video saying the Let’s Play videos and their creators exist in somewhat of a “grey area” with respect to copyright law. He claims it is because game devs “benefit massively” from Let’s Play videos and live streams, and is why they’re unwilling to rock the boat.
He goes on to say in the video that “Minecraft is a billion-dollar game —largely because of streamers and YouTubers, same goes for PUBG. I don’t think it would be nearly as big without streamers. The developers know this as well. That’s why even though, we are making money through your games, it’s still seen as something positive.”
Then, he takes a few backhanded shots at Firewatch, saying he “quite enjoyed” the game despite taking numerous knocks against it, and then moves on to question the legality of the DMCA claim against him, noting that there are plenty of arguments for and against the developer’s use of DMCA this way. He points out Campo Santo’s own policy regarding streaming as well, which explicitly states that people are free to stream the game and also monetize their videos.
PewDiePie’s take on the issue
Interestingly, Pewdiepie notes that while Campo Santo’s copyright claim probably overrides the permissions granted on their website, he doesn’t think it can be retroactive in withdrawing said permission from videos that already exist. Despite that, he privatized his Firewatch video “out of respect” soon as he saw Campo Santo studio’s tweet about it, but the copyright strike still went through, which he said left him “really disappointed.”
“Whether you like me or Mr. Vanaman, these laws are made especially for people to take down content and whenever there’s power to do that, it’s bound to be abused. And never more so when the reason to take down the content has nothing to do with copyright. I think these laws are very important for artists and for people to protect their work and what they do, and that’s why I think it’s very dangerous to make these sort of copyright claims for no real valid reason, no matter what you think of me.”
It’s actually a fair point: While It’s perfectly understandable that Campo Santo studios wouldn’t want its games to be associated with Pewdiepie, the DMCA is not supposed to be used to force content takedown simply because copyright holders don’t like it. But according to the lawyers that PC Gamers spoke to, that is exactly what it is—and that’s really not a good situation for anyone right now.