Ubisoft shuts down Youtube video game commentator over Splinter Cell Conviction videos
Ubisoft isn’t making a lot of friends these days with its digital shenanigans. Sure, sure we all know about that little mess with the current PC DRM. But did you hear the one about the video game commentator who got shut down because he uploaded playthrough videos of *GASP* Splinter Cell: Conviction to his Youtube channel?
Apparently, long time walkthrough reviewer, commentator, and comedic insult machine DarkSydePhil (no relation to DarkSideRob) has had his Youtube page shutdown and, many have assumed, expunged from the whole of the site for landing a third copyright claim against his channel. The previous two were from Rockstar and the WWE for GTA IV Lost and the Damned and Legends of Wrestle Mania respectively.
While Ubisoft has not gone out of its way to have every ‘Conviction’ video pulled down, DSP seems to be the victim of his own internet fame. Most of his playthrough videos gather around 30,000 viewers per video (some even more than that). And because he plays every game through to completion, it’s likely that Ubisoft saw that his videos were popular, felt they were also giving way too much of the game away, and filed a claim against him.
Here’s the upshot of it all. Although the damage against DSP is done, he’s working on trying to get some of the damage reverse: namely the removal of one of the three copyright claims against him. His argument? What he’s doing is not copyright infringement at all.
You see, there’s this little law called “Fair Use” and it’s a loop hole that has allowed for a lot of digital content providers, like Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw or Angry Video Game Nerd, to use copyrighted content as long as their review or commentary pertains to video games, the video game industry, and so on. Better still, in DSP’s case, the law doesn’t define how long or short a video pertaining to the copyrighted material has to be. So playing a whole video game online, as long as it contains a commentary, is A-OK under “fair use” — according to DSP.
Personally, I don’t think this claim has anything to do with Copyright Infringement or not. It just seems like Ubisoft wants people to pay to play the game themselves and not have anyone ruin it for them via a youtube video. Here’s my issue with the whole thing: how bad of a dent will 30,000 views really make Ubisoft’s profit stream? I wager probably not a whole heck of a lot. So why go through all the trouble? Why have more people see Ubisoft as a big bad wolf when there are hundreds of other games and companies out there who seem to get a kick out of these “extended reviews” being posted online? DSP himself even addresses the fact that in 7,000 videos he’s only been called out by a developer twice before.
Despite Ubisoft’s concern, I am of the notion that when someone goes to watch a DSP video (including yours truly) they’re there to see what DSP says about the game more than anything else. He’s crass, he’s loud, but he’s funny and, perhaps to Ubisoft’s displeasure, he adds another element to the experience they can’t profit off of.
Until he receives the final verdict from Ubisoft/Rockstar/WWE, DSP will continue to inform his fans about the issue via his review channel TheKingofHateHD. Phil also claims that, although his channel is gone, all of his playthroughs have been backed up and if his channel is gone for good, he might upload some of his most famous playthroughs again. We’ll keep you informed on the course of events as they unfold both here and on Ep. 43 of GameCrashers Radio.