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Campo Santo’s DMCA on PewDiePie’s Videos is Warranted, but Worrying

You may have noticed that everyone’s favourite casual racist, PewDiePie is in the media again, this time for saying a racist slur during one of his streams, and one developer has had enough.

PewDiePie is the latest “influencer” to jump on the PUBG bandwagon, however things don’t seem to be going too well as during a particularly bad game, he decided to refer to someone using a racial slur – lovely. Don’t worry though, he apologised afterwards saying that he didn’t mean to use the insult “in a bad way”. And thus the sun rose once again and the birds continued to sing their song.

However, there’s one particular chap that isn’t too chuffed about the idea of PewDiePie endorsing and making money off of his video game. Campo Santos Sean Vanaman took to Twitter once the news broke to air his concerns, and revealed that he’ll be issuing a DMCA takedown on any videos on PewDiePie’s channel featuring Firewatch.

“We’re filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie’s Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games,” Vanaman stated on Twitter. “I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make. He’s worse than a closeted racist: he’s a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry. Freedom of speech is freedom of prosecution. His stream is not commentary, it is ad growth for his brand. Our game on his channel = endorsement.”

Since then, all Firewatch Let’s Play videos on PewDiePie’s channel have been removed, however we’re unsure whether it’s a result of the take-down or whether he removed the videos himself as a precaution. Either way, it highlights a pretty big issue we have with gaming nowadays, or at least how false copyright claims are being used to attack online creators.

While some of you, like me, may think that Campo Santo’s DMCA take-down was warranted or at least something similar, it highlights just how much control developers have over their games, or how their games are perceived, despite players shelling out the cash to purchase the games and play them. Some throw out Fair Use as a defence for this sort of thing, especially in this exact scenario, however there seems to be a murky line as to whether Let’s Plays are considered Fair Use.

Again, Fair Use, especially in the world of YouTube and online content creation has been in the spotlight recently, specifically with the court case surrounding the channel, h3h3, whose court verdict came back siding with the channel rather than the claimant.

What’s even more interesting is that while many could consider this a bit of a harsh reaction, filing false DMCA claims can result in prison according to Internet Lawyer, Aaron Kelly, which is definitely a big risk if this claim does get thrown out.

Yes, Campo Santo have every right to disassociate themselves with this tool, however the ease of how this was done is definitely worrying. Though I guess the simple lesson here is to not be a racist asshole.

What do you think about this whole ordeal?

  • D S

    I think it would be copyright abuse because CS expressly gives permission to stream for profit:
    "Can I stream this game? Can I make money off of those streams?
    Yes. We love that people stream and share their experiences in the game. You are free to monetize your videos as well."
    http://www.firewatchgame.com/about/

    CS should have changed their licensing going forward as otherwise they're engaging in potentially criminal DMCA abuse if they follow through and file a DMCA. They could for instance have criticized him and said going forward if you want to commercially use the games, you have to get a separate license that they would have to approve.