YouTube culls game clips as publishers defend fans

Artwork from Diablo Blizzard, creator of Diablo, said it did not call for the take-downs

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Major games publishers have offered their support to fans who have had gameplay clips removed from YouTube due to "illegitimate" copyright claims.

Changes in the way Google-owned YouTube scans videos had caused a spike in clips being taken down.

But Capcom, Blizzard and Ubisoft all said they wanted footage of their games to remain online.

Gameplay videos are extremely popular on YouTube, with some channels having millions of subscribers.

The clips, which sometimes are more than an hour long, typically show an adept gamer playing portions of popular titles.

Technically, uploading footage is a breach of copyright. However, many publishers see the clips as a useful and effective means of promotion for their games. The creators of the videos sometimes use advertising to make money from their efforts.

Due to the sheer volume of clips uploaded, Google uses a system known as Content ID to seek out videos that contain copyrighted material.

"We recently enabled Content ID scanning on channels identified as affiliates of MCNs [Multi Channel Networks]," YouTube said.

"This has resulted in new copyright claims for some users, based on policies set by the relevant content owners."

The move has meant hundreds of gaming videos have been flagged in the past few days.

'Illegitimate flags'

But publishers worried about a potential backlash from vocal fans moved quickly to make it clear they had not been behind the spike in take-downs.

"If you're a YouTuber and are receiving content matches with the new changes, please be sure to contest them so we can quickly approve them," tweeted Blizzard, publisher of the Diablo series.

Capcom wrote: "YouTubers: Pls let us know if you've had videos flagged today. These may be illegitimate flags not instigated by us. We are investigating."

Ubisoft pointed out to users that take-down requests may be due to the music used in the clips, rather than the game footage.

"If you happen to be hit with claims on any of your Ubisoft content, it may be that some of the audio is being auto-matched against the music catalogue on our digital stores," the company explained in a statement.

Another developer, Deep Silver, also said it had not called for removal of footage.

Gameplay videos, and the legality of making them, has become an increasingly controversial issue between gamers and rights holders.

Earlier this year, Nintendo announced it would take a share of advertising revenue generated from gameplay clips - a decision described as "backwards" by some of the company's fans.

The company defended the move, saying it was necessary to ensure content could be shared across social media, and that the alternative was to block it altogether.

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