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Lawyer Warns Game Developers Against Allowing YouTube Let's Plays

A copyright lawyer chimes in on the Youtube copyright war going on, advising companies allowing youtubers to post videos of their games might set a precedent preventing them from exerting control later.

The ongoing copyright war over gaming videos uploaded to YouTube is starting to get attention even outside the limits of game-specific circles.  The digital struggle has apparently reached the ears of, at least, the legal circles specializing in copyright law.  Kim Walker, a partner in the Thomas Eggar law firm, has decided to comment on the matter.

Posting video clips without the copyright owners’ permission is copyright infringement... In allowing gamers to promote themselves with footage informally, and by announcing this to the press, developers may be waiving their right to take action for infringement against these or other You-tubers if the content is used in a way they don’t like, unless they have clearly reserved their rights.

The quote has an obvious concern for the rights of copyright holders, but also points to a potential problem few seem to be discussing: precedent.  The situation is largely unprecedented, at least in terms of scale and the degree to which some make money and/or use clips of technically copyrighted content.

I imagine the business of copyright law is going to be paying extremely close attention to how this situation with YouTube turns out.  One way or the other, it will have long-reaching ramifications.

Published Dec. 16th 2013
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