5 Reasons Why You Should Be Paying Attention to Youtube Right Now

Five reasons why the copyright war going on at Youtube is important to YOU!

In case you have not noticed, there is currently a war going on over the future of YouTube and the ability to upload Let’s Play-style content.  Hundreds of videos featuring clips or music from video games are being flagged as copyright violations, resulting in the money from their ad revenue going to the companies who own the rights to the games or the video being removed outright.

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But whatever, right?  It’s just another legal battle between a bunch of people I do not know about.  Why should I, Average Joe/Plain Jane, take the time out of my day to care?

I am glad you asked, Average Joe/Plain Jane.  Allow me to introduce you to five excellent reasons you should be paying attention to what is happening with YouTube right now.

1. There is a lot of money involved.

Ad revenue on YouTube is not just pocket change.  The estimations for the amount of money generated by YouTube ads is well over five billion dollars.  This is not just a matter of a few people earning a few bucks on the side.  Hundreds of people actually make their living off of their YouTube channels, and that much money is guaranteed to attract business elements as well.  Nothing involving sums of money that high is completely irrelevant.


See all that?  So does everyone else.

2. It might lead to the corporatization of YouTube.

One of the scandals of this situation is that larger channels and channels held under the mantle of bigger YouTube names (like Machinima) have been largely ignored by these recent copyright attacks.  The official reasoning goes that these larger entities will be more apt to self-moderate their copyright infringement, but it still creates a dangerous precedent.

Smaller YouTube channels can be no less important to the people running or viewing them, but lacking the resources to fight back against bogus claims can leave them high and dry.  This could easily create an environment where the only practical way of getting by is to fall under the umbrella of a larger entity, essentially turning YouTube into a battle for corporate favor.

Part of what makes these videos on YouTube so important is the very fact that they can show such wildly different perspectives from what the developers would show or tell us themselves.  The ability to do that would almost certainly be lessened if personalities required a company to approve their content, as most modern video game reviews are proof of.

3. Lots more attention will be given to certain games, while others will be all but ignored.

The natural side effect of gaming companies going after videos made using their games is that people stop making videos about their games.  Someone who makes Let’s Plays and video reviews to live on the ad money has no reason to spend a couple hours making a video they will not be able to profit from.

There are, however, plenty of video games out there perfectly willing to let people make videos about them.  Some publishers (such as Paradox Interactive and Deep Silver) are actively supporting gamers posting videos of the content in their games.  This makes them natural targets for future such videos, since the content creators know they can count on the copyright owners to back them up and let them earn their buck.

This could also very easily be yet another major shift away from bigger-budget titles and towards smaller developers as the big names with the big money try to exert more control while the smaller titles are just glad for the free advertising.  It will not likely break any given company, but it could increase the already-growing trend towards smaller companies.

4. The future of digital media is in the balance.

This is the big reason this is so important.  YouTube is all about user-created content.  Limiting and controlling that content drastically weakens the viability of that purpose, and even more importantly sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of the internet to follow.

The entire point of the majority of the internet is how open and free it is.  Taken to the levels many of the bigger publishers obviously would want to, the ability to share ideas and opinions using visual or auditory media would be drastically lessened.  This effects literally everyone who ever sees a commercial.  Having a counterpoint is precisely what prevents abuses and outright lies from the less scrupulous businesses out there.

5. Businesses are afraid.

This is the reason these copyright attacks are happening.  Businesses all over are afraid of the implications of having a genuinely free and open internet with user-friendly media talking about their products.  If the internet had not existed, Sega might’ve gotten away with their advertising for Aliens: Colonial Marines.  Without videos showing off the lies, Hammerpoint Interactive might not have been pushed so far as to welcome an excuse to change their game’s name.


Imagine all the gaming companies are playing this game forever.

Videos can reach people in ways text-based articles and reviews cannot.  They appeal to a different audience and can illustrate concepts words find difficult.  These videos work.  They express everything from contempt to joy in a manner these companies cannot regulate, and so they are trying to find a way to do so.

The internet will become much less if they succeed.


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Author
Wokendreamer
Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.