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  • My Open Letter to Twitch Regarding VoDs

    I recently authored an email to Twitch’s feedback account.  This email is quoted below.  I have not received a response to it as of the time of this post but I wanted to share what I wrote with everyone.

    Oh Twitch –

    I have to say that I am a little bit on edge right now.  That said, I am going to try my best to make this bit of feedback as productive as possible.

    Your roll out of the 3rd Party Content ID system has been a disaster in my opinion.

    Since I began casting, I have been a HUGE advocate of compliance with DMCA and with copyright.  As a photographer in my past life, I have been effected by copyright violation on more than one occasion.  So, as such, I completely understand, and agree with, the proper respect of an artist’s rights to control their work.  I started out my time streaming on Twitch playing no music at all.  Then, the day came, when I was able to find music published under Creative Commons license to play during my broadcast.  As time went on, I was able to secure the permission of several artists to use their awesome catalogs of works during my stream.  Amazing artists like Approaching Nirvana, Orician, Savant and Section Z Records, Zircon, Big Giant Circles, and Monstercat.  I have grown my music library using exclusively these artists and removed the Creative Commons licensed works to highlight their amazing work.

    I have gained permission from these artists and labels either through direct contact or through blanket permission given by the artists and labels to Twitch streamers and YouTube content creators.  I have gone to great lengths to ensure I comply with the requests and requirements that they have set forth in their permission and licensing to use their content during my broadcast.  Between always showing what song and artists is currently playing to providing contact information and routes to purchase the music, I have made sure that these artists get the credit that they deserve and have requested.

    I have never had a problem with the enforcement of DMCA.  As a matter of fact, it has always been like nails on a chalkboard when I hear a streamer, large or small, playing music that there is no way they have received permission to play.  I support the enforcement of DMCA all day long and twice on Sunday.

    Enter Twitch.  On August 6th, when the new relationship between Twitch and Audible Magic was announced, I was initially impressed that Twitch had started down the road to ensuring enforcement of the use of 3rd Party content.  I was hopeful that Twitch would be able to weed out those that were playing music that they clearly had no permission to play during their streams.  Then I was able to see the system in action.  It was, and remains, a mess.

    The initial roll out of these new changes seems to have been very hasty and less than thought through.

    Eliminating 30 minutes of a VoD because just a few seconds of 3rd Party Content was detected is a perfect example of this.  If the system that Audible Magic uses can identify the start of a piece of 3rd Party Content, it should certainly be able to identify the end of it.  There is no reason in the world that 30 minutes of a VoD should be muted based on the presence of a piece of 3rd Party Content that has “matched.”

    That aside, when content is flagged, not only does the streamer not even receive notification that content has been flagged (we have to go watch our VoDs to find out or hear from our viewers), there is no information that says why the content was flagged in the first place.  No identification of the content that triggered the flag, nothing.

    This leads to the biggest problem of the whole system; the appeals process.  I would more likely say, the absence of an appeals process.

    As would be expected, when I discovered that several of my highlights and past broadcasts had been flagged and muted, I began the process by clicking on the “appeal” button above my video player.  Problem number 1, this just attempts to create a new email to send.  An email that I have no clue what to write…no clue what to say because I don’t even know what content was flagged other than a bunch of something in a 30 minute block.  Is there a buffer ahead of the flagged content?  Is it the content that is playing when the muting starts?  I have no clue.  So, I just write (in ever one of the emails) something to the effect of “I have permission and here is my proof.  I provide screenshots and links to documents and websites that provide license and permission to use the content.  Out of the 5 or 6 emails of this kind that I have sent, I have received responses from 2 that simply say we are going to look into it.

    Fast forward to today.  I received another response today regarding one of the 2 cases that I had already received the “working on it” emails for previously.  It said that I needed to fill out a form and provided a link to it.  I followed the link and was greeted with a nice, threatening form that basically is designed to provide information to initiate a law suite against me.  Nowhere does it give a place for proof of license or permission.  No where does it give space to do anything but agree to the jurisdiction of the US court system (or other foreign court) and wants to provide me information such as name, address, telephone number et cetera.  All without any kind of assurance of privacy or any kind of security such as SSL.

    In addition, this form requires that you provide a list of the flagged content that was removed.  Again, how can I even complete this form when there has never been any kind of notification of what the supposed 3rd Party Content was?  Just completely makes no sense.

    So, long story short (well not really), I am very upset with the way that Twitch has handled this entire situation.  It seems to me that someone at Twitch came up with this idea that Twitch needed to be in compliance and just quickly threw something together without doing any type of due diligence or preparation.  For crying out loud, if you are going to institute a new system like this, you should have your OWN appeals process in place and ready to go before you roll things out.  Before you launch.  Not putting up a button the next day with a link to an email address!

    At this point, it really seems to me that Twitch no longer cares about it’s broadcasters or viewers.  Twitch seems to have simply moved into the realm of “we will do the minimum to get by and cover our asses” awaiting a hopeful buyout by someone…It is very sad.

    So, in closing, I would ask this.  Can you please put into place a system that notifies streamers when their content is flagged and what the content is that triggered the flag?  Can you please institute a PROPER system that allows for a streamlined appeals process that helps those of us that are doing things “by the book” to get through it without the overly threatening tone?  Can you please show the Twitch community that you actually care about us and fix this thing?  I realize that I am a VERY small streamer, and I don’t have much of a voice (if any) with you but I beg you…please

    Jeremy

    g33z3r_hd

     


  • Stream-A-Thon This Saturday (03/8/14)

    Join me this coming Saturday (03/08/2014) at 9am US Central time for the kick off my first Stream-A-Thon!

    How long is a Stream-A-Thon you ask?  Easy answer…I have NO idea.  I suspect it will be at LEAST 12 hours but will be shooting for 24…we shall see.  I am going to stream until I can stream no more!

    We will be playing Minecraft (of course) in various incarnations, maybe some PS3 and Xbox 360…we will see what we feel like!  Maybe even play some Flappy Birds or Flying Furry!

    As a bonus, I will have 3 Minecraft account cards to give away randomly throughout the stream…don’t ask when the giveaway is going to be because I am just going to do it when I feel like doing it.  If people continually ask about it, I will delay it even longer…

    So that’s that!  I will see you Saturday at 9am US Central time (GMT -6)

     

    Cheers for now

    g33z3r_hd

    PS – As an aside, due to the Stream-A-Thon, I will not be casting on Friday night as I do normally so that I can get some good old fashioned sleep prior to the event!


  • Tomorrow is the day!!

    Be there…or be square!  Well, be there or miss out on the opportunity to win one of 5 valuable gift cards!

    My stream, starting at 7 pm US Central time…http://www.twitch.tv/g33z3r_hd

    I will be drawing a random user present during the stream at random times for a random card…you must be present and following me on Twitch to be eligible to win.

    Up for grabs:

    3 Minecraft Cards
    1 $20 Playstation Store Card
    1 $25 Xbox Card

    So, tell everyone you know and be there at 7 pm sharp!


  • Playstation 4 Rumors and Updates

    Pre-Launch, as we recall, we were given a list of things the Playstation 4 could not do.  Upon launch, we found out exactly what it could do.  Some things, the gaming community was pretty upset about.  Now, we are hearing rumors about what forthcoming things will be fixed in future patches.

    As you have all probably figured out, the one thing that really gets me going is the HDMI recording issue.  Sony has promised that a upcoming patch will include the ability to record game play using HDMI.  Many in the industry believe that this is going to happen early 2014.  I will be anxiously awaiting this update.

    Support for playing MP3s.  Although much less important to me, this is something that I can imagine myself actually using.  I don’t want to pay for another music streaming solution.  Yes, I pay for Pandora.  I don’t like commercials.  So, I am not really willing to pay Sony for the music unlimited feature.  According to a recent video by boogie2988, Shuhei Yoshida promised boogie2988 that MP3 support and media streaming will also be included in an upcoming patch.  However, if this feature never makes it, I won’t cry about it.  At this point, if I want to listen to music while I am gaming, I will plug my iPhone into my Astro mixamp and stream it straight to my headphones.  What is the time frame for this?  Who knows.

    I take time frames and feature promises like these with a grain of salt.  It doesn’t matter if it is Sony, Microsoft, or some other manufacturer.  They are going to do what they believe is best for their bottom line and what fits within their model and plan for their brand.  As an example, if Sony’s plan is to push people to use their paid service (music unlimited), then they are less likely to allow you to stream your own music or MP3s.  If Sony wants to control what you can and cannot share and stream, they are not going to allow recording via HDMI.  Long story short, time will tell if these rumors come to fruition.

    Of course, in my opinion, Sony should move quickly to release patches with these features.  My opinion is worth nuts 🙂

     

    Cheers for now

    g33z3r_hd

     


  • I have dropped the ball…here’s why

    Excuses, excuses, excuses.  Can I come up with more excuses?

    Why yes, yes I can!

    As you have noticed, I have really dropped the ball lately when it comes to updating my blog and posting new videos on my YouTube channel.  I have still been streaming on Twitch but, seeing that Sony has not permitted the archiving of streams from the PS4 yet, that is only good for you if you happen to be on, and watch, while I am actually streaming.

    This inability to record game play on the PS4 is starting to really get me crunchy.  Yes, I know there are some work around solutions but they have some inherent flaws that I just can’t get past.  First, the cost.  I don’t cherish the idea of going out and spending a few hundred dollars on equipment that may become completely useless to me in a matter of days or weeks.  If I knew a time frame of when Sony is going to release the patch that fixes the HDMI game capture issue with the PS4, I would feel better about the decision.  Second, the gray area about legality.  Stripping HDCP is technically illegal.  That said however, I don’t think that there would be any issues thrown my way.  Really, what case would a company (Sony or game devs) have if they did pursue someone for this?  Sony built streaming and recording into the system with the intention of people sharing and streaming their game play.  They simply lacked the forward thinking to address the HDCP issue.

    So, that is excuse number one.  I really want to play on my PS4, and as a result I haven’t created any new video content since November 13th.  But wait, g33z3r, you also play Minecraft and such.  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  Excuse number two is that I have been busy with work.  I spent the entire last week darting around North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia with on of my regional sales managers having meetings with potential customers.  Because I was spending each day in the car and in meetings, that left me little time to do my actual work.  As a result, most of my actual work ended up happening in my hotel room in the evenings.  This didn’t leave me a lot of time to do much anything else.  On top of that, I also spent quite a bit of time working with my other engineers on a project they were working on.  That said, I did find several periods where I was able to take advantage of the fact that my PS4 managed to follow me all the way from Minnesota!  I played a little bit of Ghosts but the internet connection in the hotel was less than adequate because their NAT was closed and I could hardly ever get into a decent game.  I also played some Minecraft but it was on the flight back home and really wasn’t that interesting.

    Yeah, excuses…no more excuses!

    So, this I promise going forward; I will post a blog entry every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at the least.  I will post a new video every Saturday at the VERY least.  I will continue to live stream on Twitch whenever I have time (as you know, most often on Saturday/Sunday).  I will be a good g33z3r, I promise 🙂

     

    Cheers for now

    g33z3r_hd


  • Featured ImageThe g33z3r_hd Playstation 4 Review

    As you know, I wrote a post last week documenting the reasons I wasn’t going to go and pick up the Playstation 4 right away.  I also posted a blog letting everyone know that I am weak and broke down and bought one on release day.  Now that I have had some time to play with it, I have to say that I am quite impressed.  Although there are some things that I would change, the Playstation 4 definitely performs quite well with its primary purpose; playing games.

    What do I like about the new Playstation 4?  One word; performance.  Compared to the Playstation 3, the Playstation 4 is just amazing.  That shouldn’t be a revelation however seeing that it has been over 7 years since the Playstation 3 was released.  As an example, playing Call of Duty: Ghosts on both platforms, the Playstation 4 was faster loading and, or course, much better graphics.  Where the Playstation 3 would take up to 30 seconds to load a match, the Playstation 4 takes less than 15 seconds…it is great!  Thinking about it, when playing multiplayer, you can’t really go much faster than that so that players have the time to actually load, and enter, the match.

    The controller feels like it was completely meant to be in MY hand.  I am still getting used to the placement of the share and options buttons, and would like to see them a little more accessible, but when you are used to the select and play buttons, this is expected.  The touch pad is pretty neat although I tend to accidently press it from time to time when I am trying to press either share or options.  Something that, again, I will have to get used to.

    Yes, there are a lot of differences between the PS3 and the PS4 that you “just have to get used to.”  This isn’t a problem for someone that is doing a complete upgrade to the PS4 from the PS3 but I am sure that there are many people out there just like me that are not doing a complete upgrade.  There are a lot of people that are going to keep on playing their PS3 systems simply because we can’t play some of our games on the PS4…not to mention, the features that the PS3 possesses that the PS4 does not (the ability to play MP3s or, for now, the ability to record and upload game play videos to YouTube).  Simply “getting used” to the PS4 is a much more difficult proposition to me.

    One of the biggest things that I was upset about when it came to the PS4 was the HDCP protected HDMI output.  To most people, this doesn’t really matter much.  To me, it is huge.  What does this mean?  Well, when HDCP is used, this means that you cannot use a traditional game capture card (such as the Elgato Game Capture HD, or the Hauppauge PVR HD) to record your game play.  Now, there are ways around this but, technically speaking, they aren’t legal.  Sony has addressed this issue saying that, in early 2014, they will be releasing a PS4 patch that will allow HDMI recording of game play using game capture cards.  I wonder, exactly, how they are going to work this patch to only provide capture of games and not movies.  With the PS3, we could simply skip the entire HDMI route and use the video composite cables (the red, green, and blue RCA style cables).  This allowed the recording of ALL output from the PS3 as if the game capture card was actually your television or monitor.  This meant that you could not only record your game play but that you could also record movies or TV shows from sources like Netflix.  I am sure the entertainment industry is just thrilled with that…

    The menu on the Playstation 4 is a little something that I am going to, again, get used to.  I am still having quite a time getting around and finding the exact things I am looking for.  Eventually, however, I do manage to find it.  I would like to be able to customize exactly what I do, and don’t see on the menu.  To be honest, I don’t really care about Music Unlimited or Video Unlimited.  I have never really watched movies or listened to music on my Playstation, and I am not really going to start now (although I am watching Netflix on my PS4 right now just to see the quality and performance LOL).  Typically, I only want to see the things that I use…games, settings, and other such features showing on the menus.

    PS4 ScreenshotFinally, although I already briefly touched upon sharing, I want to spend a considerable amount of time on this subject as it is what I do.  Everyone knows that I absolutely LOVE sharing what I do when it comes to gaming.  Whether it be live streaming Minecraft or posting game play from Call of Duty, I absolutely adore sharing.  Sony realized that this was the direction of gaming in general.  So, in their attempts to be forward thinking, they included the new share button on the controller.  This share button would allow you to, with ease, share screenshots and even game play video with the world.  The problem is they severely limited it.  As of now, it is only possible to upload videos to Facebook and post screenshots to Facebook or Twitter.  There is no option, that I can find, to directly download the images or videos from the Playstation 4 to your computer or upload them to another location.  Barring this option, in my view, the share button is about as useful as a glass of water to a drowning man.  I do however like the concept.

    What would make the share button better?  First, let us have have control over the media.  Let us move the content off of the console, let us post the content where ever we choose.  Don’t Google+ us into using what you want us to use.  Mostly, I am waiting for the patch to allow HDMI recording…you know, that option that people who use the Xbox One will be able to use on day 1…

    Long story short…well, not really, I really like the Playstation 4.  Sony has done a great job of creating a platform that performs very well when playing games.  All of the extra stuff, like playing movies and music, really doesn’t entertain me.  I have a smart TV and and an AppleTV to watch movies and I have a stereo system to play music.  For you, these things may, or may not, matter.

    If your console goals only include playing games, and do not include sharing content, I would suggest picking up a Playstation 4 post haste.  If you do wish to share your content, I would wait until Sony releases the patch that allows HDMI recording…if they ever really do.

    Cheers for now

    g33z3r_hd


  • Ok, I admit it, I am weak! The story of me and a PS4

    You will recall that I spilled my guts last week with the reasons that I was not going to go out and get a PS4 right away. They were all some very good reasons. There was one thing that I didn’t take into account when I wrote that article; I am weak when it comes to techie stuff!

    That said, I have to admit, if you don’t already know, that I stood in line for 6 hours Thursday night and ended up leaving Best Buy with a brand new PS4 under my arm. Yes, I am weak.

    I will say this, the graphics are amazing! I have run into a few issues so far but for the most part, I am liking the new platform. I will write a detailed review Sunday, after I have spent many many hours playing 🙂

    Cheers for now

    g33z3r_hd


  • Featured ImageCall of Duty: Ghosts – My Thoughts After 6 Days

    Here we are.  It has been six days since the grand release of Call of Duty: Ghosts.  I have had time to play quite a bit and my opinions have changed a little bit.

    Initially, I was very excited about Ghosts, that hasn’t changed.  I still really like it but there are a few things that I have noticed that are driving me nuts.  Some of the things that were frustrating me were fixed with the patch that was released yesterday but some things remain, and I don’t know that they will fix or address them…or even can.

    First thing that drove me batty, which has since been fixed, was the inability to mute individual players while in game on multiplayer.  Most of the time, even if they are annoying, I just tune out the other players unless I am looking for specific information such as enemy location or such.  As everyone knows, there are those goofballs that insist on playing music in the background, have really annoying buzzing sounds (crappy headset), or are obviously playing from some location like the Mall of America where there are 60,000 people yelling and screaming in the background.  Well, this makes hearing the game, as well as other players you want to hear very difficult.  I want to mute these derps.  Initially, the only time that you could mute individual players was in the lobby before a match.  When you actually entered the match, the only option that you had for muting was to mute everyone or mute everyone except friends.  Seeing that very few of my friends a) have a PS3 and b) play Ghosts, this would mean that I would always be muting everyone.  As I mentioned, the patch that they released yesterday fixed this problem so, GOOD JOB Infinity Ward!

    The next thing that is kind of driving me crazy is the weapons and the amount of damage they cause.  It seems to me that there is a very large inconsistency in this regard.  First off, I play a lot of Infected mode.  I really like this mode and it lends to my style.  I like one-on-one styles where you are not responsible to a team and only to yourself…you know, because I really suck and don’t want to bring others down LOL.  In Infected mode, you start off with a Bulldog shotgun, an IED, and a concussion grenade.  The goal is to survive for as long as possible without being infected.  You become infected when you are killed by a player that is infected.  The game starts with one player randomly being selected as infected.  Unless you are this random player, the only weapons that you have when you are infected is your combat knife, throwing knife, and a tactical insertion.  If you are lucky enough to be randomly selected as the first infected, you also receive a pistol until the first player is infected besides yourself.

    Where am I going with that you ask?  Well, here is the thing.  Shotguns are great for in close, one shot, kills.  The further you get away from your target, the less effective the shotgun is going to be.  In the world of Call of Duty, the further you get away from your target, the more shots it is going to take to the point that the shotgun is ineffective.  Where this inconsistency that I mentioned comes into play is the effective distance of the Bulldog.  There have been several matches where I have been shot by a player at a range that should be well outside the range of the Bulldog.  I have also seen where shots failed to kill an attacker when fired well within the expected range of the Bulldog.  This inconsistency is ridiculous in my book.  There should be no factor, other than weapons attachments, that effect the range of a particular weapon.  Even with shotguns.  To me, it seems there is some randomness built in here.

    Also, when it comes to weapons, there seems to be some confusion over the damage that is caused by each weapon and, by contrast, based upon what player is using it.  Take the ARX-160 for example.  Within 1,000 units (CoD’s measurement of distance), the standard ARX-160 with no attachments should kill the enemy with 3 on-target shots.  As an example of distance, a frag grenade in Ghosts has a lethal range of 102 units and you can throw a frag grenade up to 1,200 units.  Discounting head shots of course, this should be pretty darn consistent.  It isn’t.  I have been super close to other players and unloaded half of my magazine into them and they hit me once or twice, and I go down and they continue on.  As an experiment, I recorded the following video.  The load out, simple.  ARX-160 with VMR Sight, Foregrip, and Semi-Automatic.  No secondary weapon, no Lethal or Tactical, no Perks, and no Strike Package.  As a note, for some reason that makes no sense to me, the addition of the Semi-Automatic mod reduces the number of on-target hits from 3 to 2 within the same distance as an unmodified ARX-160.  At a range of 2600 units, with the same configuration, it should take only 4 on-target hits.

    Here is what happened:

     

    This is by no means scientific, just an example of what I am seeing.  Now, this was local and not multiplayer but it is the same thing I am seeing.  The telling point is at the 2250 unit mark.  The first round, it took 4 on-target shots to get the kill.  That is what I expected.  What took me by surprise is on the second go, it took 6 on-target hits to get the kill.  I didn’t miss, you can see the hit markers and the reaction each time.  This makes no sense.

    Next, the iPad app.  What a piece of useless crap!  The entire reason that I downloaded and installed the app was the second screen feature that they advertise.  Well, almost every time I try to use it, it says that the second screen feature will be rolled out soon.  I don’t play in a clan, so all the clan features don’t mean a thing to me.  Guys, don’t promote stuff until you have it working!

    Finally, and this is the biggest thing to me, the dedicated servers…or lack there or.  Where are the dedicated servers that we were lead to believe were going to happen?  You know, to get rid of a lot of the hacker problems?  To get rid of lag switching?  I will admit that I don’t have any proof at this point, but I have already seen evidence of people cheating and taking advantage of some of the same issues that we have seen in the past editions of COD.  A perfect example from a match I was playing yesterday;  I was first infected.  There were two players, split-screeners of course (I hate split-screeners) that, no matter what direction I came from, they were perched on top of a rock facing the direction that I came from.  Now, if this had happened two or three times, I could write it off as coincidence.  It happened ten times!  Also, this was another example of their Bulldog shot guns having a range way beyond what would be expected of a shotgun of any type.  In a game mode where you cannot adjust your weapons loadouts, there is no reason they should have an advantage over anyone else except if they are cheating in some manner.

    Long story short, well…there is no short story from me, I still enjoy playing Ghosts.  I am working on my game play, working on getting used to the newness of it.  I am starting to understand the maps and I seem to be getting the hang of it.  I will keep playing.  I won’t let the negatives get me down…I will just adjust to them and carry on.  Overall, it is still a good game in my mind, it just needs some tweaking and adjusting.  That was expected in my mind and should have been in everyone else’s mind as well.

    What do you think about Call of Duty: Ghosts now that it has been out for almost a week?  What are your likes?  What are your dislikes?  What would you like to see changed?

     

    Cheers for now

    g33z3r_hd


  • COD: Ghosts – RELEASED!

    Just over 12 hours ago, COD: Ghosts was officially released here in the US.  Although most already have their copy, mine is awaiting my return home from Florida on the PSN servers.  So, I am anxiously awaiting the moment that I can log onto my PS3 and click the download button!  Here is hoping that the servers aren’t too overwhelmed!

    Watching Twitter and YouTube this morning, I am seeing mixed reviews.  Where some people are simply raving about the game, others are ranting about things like lag in multiplayer.  Being that I mostly play the COD series online, I am hoping that this is either a temporary issue or simply a problem with the person’s internet connection.  I guess that we will see later tonight when I get online for my first match!

    I expect to have a video up tonight with my first match, good or bad, and my initial reactions and comments.  I am also planning on doing a live streaming marathon this weekend, 2x XP weekend, to celebrate this newest addition to the COD family.

    In related news…gaming that is 🙂

    I have been playing around with Minecraft more and more and have come up with a few specific things that I do when I start a new world.  These tasks prepare me for the upcoming adventures and allow me to start my quest for the rare minerals such as diamonds and emeralds.  Many of these routines have been derived from other players’ systems and tactics that I have seen but that I have pretty much made my own.  Either way, I will be working on a series of videos that cover these routines in the near future…although, Ghosts has to take priority right now 🙂

    Have you picked up your copy of Ghosts yet?  If so, what are your first impressions?  What did Activision/Infinity Ward do right?  What did they do wrong?  What do they need to fix right away?  If you haven’t gotten your copy yet…WHY NOT?????

    That is all for now.  I will be working on, and posting, a schedule soon of when to expect new blog posts as well as new videos and live streaming events.  Oh, by the way, I have switched from live streaming on YouTube to live streaming on Twitch.  It’s much better I think!

     

    Cheers for now

     

    g33z3r_hd


  • Video Games and Copyright Claims: YouTube, Really? Rant #2

    WARNING!  RANT AHEAD!

     

    Let’s play a hypothetical situation here:

    You are a game developer.  You come out with a game that you hope is going to be the next big thing in gaming.  You go through the normal advertising and hype that leads up to the release date, spending millions of dollars promoting your game.  Release day comes and, hey, not bad…but could be better.

    Gamers around the world start playing your game and, although your initial release was pretty good, your game hasn’t yet become the hit that you had hoped.  A few months goes by and, all of a sudden, you start seeing a rise in your sales.  You start seeing more and more people playing your game, and getting excited about it.  You haven’t run any new ad campaigns, you haven’t offered anything special that wasn’t available before, but inexplicably the sales are going through the roof.  The reason isn’t immediately apparent but the results are strikingly obvious.

    Some time goes by and you find out that the gamer community has embraced your game and has begun uploading recorded sessions and streaming live game play videos of your game on sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, JustinTV.  The gamer community has fallen in love with, and become obsessed with, the content from your game.  Videos and streams are going viral on a daily basis with millions upon millions of views.  THIS finally explains the sudden, unexplained, boon in sales and popularity of your game.

     

    This is FREE publicity for your game my friends.

     

    Unfortunately, there are video game producers and organizations out there that don’t see it this way.  They see it as a way to make more money for themselves.  Wait, what?  Yes, that’s right.  They want to make money off of consumers when their content is being advertised.  I guess the old model of paying for advertising is out the window and now companies are expecting to get paid to advertise their product.  Wait, what?

    To a point, I understand the mindset.  Corporations are, by definition, for profit.  Their entire goal in existence is to make money.  If that motivation wasn’t there, most corporations would not exist.  I get that.  However there comes a point of ridiculousness, and I think that that point has been reached and surpassed many times over in a lot of cases.  To the point that we have sites like YouTube being extra strict on copyright claims that cater 100% to the corporation and don’t even give the proper avenues for copyright claim dispute to the people that make YouTube happen…the users.

    Every morning when I get up, I stumble out of bed and sit down in front of my computer.  I log into my Facebook account to see what new and interesting (oh and useless) things my friends have posted, I jump on Twitter to see the latest posts from the people I follow, and I get on YouTube to check out my subscriber numbers and video views.  This morning, I went through the exact same regiment.  Imagine my surprise when I logged into my YouTube account and looked at my video manager.  Wait…matched third party content?  What third party content?

    third party content

     

    Yes, that’s right.  I got a copyright notice for my streaming event.  So, I thought it was going to be something that I didn’t notice (like my GTA V streaming video) like someone playing a song in the background.  Nope.

    Copyright Notice

     

    YouTube’s system identified “Visual content administered by: Major League Gaming” as the copyright violation.  Wait, what?  I don’t have anything to do with MLG!  Never have.  I don’t think I have ever even visited their website.  I know who they are and I know what they do but really?  So, I watch the video from the point indicated.  I discovered 2 things.  First, I messed up my live stream because I forgot to mute my YouTube window while I was playing, messing up the audio.  Oops.  Second, there is nothing in the video that has anything to do with MLG.  The image on the screen for the next 2 minutes and 32 seconds is the multiplayer lobby while I was waiting to see if a friend was going to connect his headset.  He never did.  This is what was on the screen the entire time:

    YouTube SUCKS

     

    Alright, so I need to dispute this because this has obviously been a mistake by YouTube’s automated system…yes, I said automated.  There are no humans involved.  So, of course, I click on the dispute button.  Obviously, there has to be some option for “your system sucks and made a mistake,” right?  Wrong.  When you dispute a copyright notice, these are the options that you get:

    • I own the CD/DVD or bought the song online
    • I’m not selling the video or making any money from it
    • I gave credit in the video
    • The video is my original content and I own all of the rights to it
    • I have a license or written permission from the proper rights holder to use this material
    • My use of the content meets the legal requirements for fair use of or fair dealing under applicable copyright laws
    • The content is in the public domain or is not eligible for copyright protection

    That is it.  There is no “other” or “another reason” or anything else that would allow me to say hey, you guys messed up.  Here is a screen shot of what I saw…specific to THIS video:

    wrong

     

    So, what avenue do I take?  First, lets go over the options we do have.

    I own the CD/DVD or bought the song online.  IT’S A TRAP!  This isn’t even a legitimate claim, never has been and, I am sure, never will be.  It is common knowledge now a days, since Napster and all of the P2P music sharing sites, that you cannot use copyrighted music online without express permission from the copyright holder.  I do acknowledge that there are some people out there that would think this is alright but come on YouTube.  This option leads you to a page that explains that you can’t do that.

    I’m not selling the video or making any money from it.  Alright, this could apply but this is also a trap.  As with the previous option, this too is not a valid claim.

    I gave credit in the video.  Although there are times that will cover you, that is set forth in the terms of a written license or permission to use.  So, giving credit alone does not meet copyright use requirements.

    The video is my original content and I own all of the rights to it.  Well, this one is pretty straight forward…or is it?  YouTube doesn’t seem to respect your content.  Unless you have some kind of documentation that you DO own all the content, and the copyright to it, well, they are going to just say that it is a violation and you are screwed.  Take for example my photography.  I have had numerous arguments with YouTube regarding MY photography and THEIR claim that I don’t own the rights to it.  They told me I had to provide PROOF that I owned and produced the images.  Well folks, that is a lot harder that you would think.  I asked them if I needed to send them my camera or if I needed to send them a video of me taking photos.  They just removed my video.

    I have a license or written permission from the proper rights holder to use this material.  This is the option that should be used most of the time.  However when it comes to content like video games, good luck getting EA or Infinity Ward to give you permission.  Unless you are VERY influential in the gaming community, you will NOT get the time of day.  Most YouTubers that make money off of their gaming videos do so through a partnership with one of the major outlets.  Organizations like Yeousch, TGN, Machinima, and others negotiate with the developers for rights use for their partners.  Again, unless you have pretty much blown up in the community, good luck.  You have to be special.

    My use of the content meets the legal requirements for fair use or fair dealing under applicable copyright laws.  This one is tricky.  Fair use or fair dealing is subject to a lot of controversy.  What one person considers fair use, another considers a violation.  The generally accepted use under this section would include things like reviewing the game, tutorials, or tips/tricks.  Even these, however, are subject to violation claims more often than not.

    The content is in the public domain or is not eligible for copyright protection.  Long story short here, video games haven’t been out long enough to get into the public domain for the most part.  The way copyright works today, video games will never reach public domain unless there is a major change in the copyright laws.

    So, what do I choose?  Well, I honestly don’t know.  I have spent several hours thinking about the options and am still up in the air as to what I am going to do.  Do I risk a copyright strike and dispute the claim?  If I do enter into dispute, what avenue do I take?  After thinking about it, I would take the fair use route but I don’t think that would be successful.  If the organization making the claim, in this case Major League Gaming, wishes to pursue the issue, the burden is on me to prove that there was no violation.  Not on them.  So, is it a loosing battle?  Probably.

    There are a couple of other choices beyond those on the list.  First, simply remove the video.  Taking down the video completely removes the issue and it all goes away.  Second, acknowledge the third party content.  This choice will place ads all over the video which, in theory, the revenue goes to the copyright holder.

    None of these choices are optimum.  Again, if the organization or person making the claim were required to show proof of the claim, a lot of YouTubers would save copyright strikes and life would be a lot less stressful for many.  Having an option to receive more information about the claim would allow someone like me to be able to dispute the claim armed with the information required to mount a valid argument.

    Unfortunately, my choice at this point is to simply remove the video.  For someone that is trying very hard to grow a new channel, removing any video from the library is a step backwards.  YouTube has is a difficult medium to be noticed in due to the overwhelmingly large number of videos.  It is like trying to find one single atom of a needle placed in one of 20,000,000 haystacks.  It is possible but very difficult.

    So, this will not discourage me.  I will continue to upload content.  I will continue to share what I love with others that share that love.  If the world of YouTube (not YouTube itself) finds what I do entertaining, I will succeed.  If the world doesn’t find what I do entertaining, then I won’t fail because I don’t upload videos to impress anyone or with the goal of becoming famous.  I upload videos because I like sharing what I do.  If one single person watches one of my videos and enjoys it, then I am happy.  Even if that one single person is me.

    So, I think I am going to move my live streams to another service.  I have used UStream and JustinTV but both have their issues.  Many are using Twitch, so I may check that out to see whats up.  I will keep everyone informed on that front.

     

    What do you think about YouTube’s copyright policies?  Have you been caught with your pants down?  How have your battles gone?  Make sure you visit my YouTube channel and check out my videos.  Subscribe, comment on and throw a thumbs up to the videos you like…or just enjoy.

    /rant

     

    Cheers for Now

    g33z3r_hd