Jim Sterling Gracefully Checkmates YouTube's Contend ID Copyright System

If you've never contended with YouTube's copyright system, let me tell you, it's a headache. For certain types of content, they use something known as a 'Content ID' system, in which videos can be tagged by the original owner of content featured within, thus siphoning off some of the money from views to them. For example, if somebody shared a video featuring footage from The Walking Dead, AMC Networks could then tag it.

When such big companies place claims on videos, it's very difficult to dispute, as the issue has to be resolved between the two parties and YouTube can't act as much of a mediator. Gameplay footage usually falls within the fair use guidelines, but it still gets Content ID tagged from time to time, which is obviously unfair on the uploader. Well, earlier this week game critic/commentator Jim Sterling decided he'd had enough, and did something brilliant.

In his video about Star Fox Zero (fair warning, it does contain swearing), the latest installment in the long-running Nintendo franchise, Sterling also very noticeably featured footage from a number of other, markedly non-Nintendo properties - Grand Theft Auto VMetal Gear Solid V and Beyond: Two Souls. Up until the end of the video, it seemed rather confusing, until the end where Sterling explains that the footage is in there to create a copyright schism.

All of those games have featured in his videos in the past, and warranted Content ID tagging as a result. By doing this, Sterling lured several big companies into all trying to tag, creating a melange of copyright claims that basically rendered the whole thing inert. Even if one companies does manage to get an overriding claim, it would thus be too tiny to be worth bothering about. The added benefit is that, because the video can't be monetised, no ads will play before it, which is nice for any supporters who actually fund Sterling on Patreon.

This isn't the first time Jim has done this, as he told Kotaku, "WMG tried to monetize the video for the Erasure music, but couldn’t because Nintendo and Take-Two had set their Content ID in this particular case to Not Monetized.” Well played, Jim, perhaps this kind of thing will start to make YouTube reconsider their draconian copyright approach.
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