Gaming critic and commentator TotalBiscuit has lashed out at game developer Wild Games for taking his video down, and iterated YouTube’s need to protect the rights of content creators on the site.
Outspoken game critic John Bain, who broadcasts on YouTube under the nom-de-web “TotalBiscuit”, recently uploaded a first impressions video criticizing a game, incurred the wrath of the developers, who appear to have flagged the video and requested it to be taken down by YouTube.
It has since been removed. Bain has responded to the events with a follow up video, criticizing both the developers and the video-sharing site.
The game, Day One: Garry’s Incident, a first person survival developed by Wild Games and released in September earlier this year, was the game that got TotalBiscuit locking horns against the developer. The French-Canadian studio got it published on Steam through Greenlight, but not without questionable actions and a zero tolerance stance for criticism. His rant also heavily encourages users not to purchase the game by presenting evidence of the developer’s shady practices
In Bain’s latest video rant, he claims YouTubers were encouraged by Wild Games to publicize Garry’s Incident and given the freedom to monetize it. In TotalBiscuit’s case, his impressions on the game were far from positive and the unhappy developers reported his video to YouTube as a “copyright claim”.
This is not the first copyright strike for TotalBiscuit on YouTube. SEGA filed a claim on Shining Force 3. Bain claims SEGA did this to manipulate search rankings in order for SEGA games to get higher exposure in the search results. He maintains his boycott on SEGA games coverage up to this day.
The British gaming critic also lashed out at YouTube/Google’s policy of “Shoot first, ask questions later” style of copyright claims that affects the “livelihood” of YouTube producers. He later pleaded for “Google to take a stance on censorship”.
In contrast to his stance, he also cited Metacritic, a site that Bain himself has previously proclaimed useless in factoring game scores; was referenced numerous times in his argument.
Nevertheless, TotalBiscuit’s stance on the need for more protection of video-content producers is definitely not unwarranted. Anyone registered on YouTube can abuse the reporting system simply by flagging the video, and claims can take weeks to resolve. It only takes three strikes for a channel to be permanently disabled from subsequent uploading of videos, and as we have seen from this incident, any lesser user may not be as fortunate as Bain.
Looking at Google’s track record on censorship reveals a bigger problem: the company often sides with the censor and not the censoree. YouTube and Google have a history of suppressing videos and users from nothing more than a copyright takedown request, without the onus on proving how the copyright holder’s rights may have been affected. Google’s compliance in taking down content on request extends beyond copyright. In China, Google’s local version of its search engine will sanitize search results; some countries such as Germany and France have results that could be considered “racist” or condoning “violent” and “hate” speech removed from searches.
More needs to be done in order to protect and ensure the rights of video creators, instead of aggressive video takedowns and account suspensions reported at whim.