Would YouTube really cancel their most profitable YouTube creator? After accepting Campo Santo’s DMCA strike against PewDiePie, they might have to address this huge precedent very soon. PewDiePie – the world’s most successful YouTuber – replied to the strike, and he’s obviously worried about incurring any others following his use of the n-word during a live stream.
“It’s a pretty big deal. If I get more than three of them, my channel will shut down.” – Felix ‘pewdiepie’ Kjellberg.
While playing PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds, Kjellberg uttered the racial slur towards an enemy combatant while talking to a member of his team. He said a casual ‘sorry’ moments after.
Sean Vanaman – co-founder of Campo Santo – tweeted his disapproval of Kjellberg’s slur and announced ‘We’re filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie’s Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games.”
He had more to say that day:
“There is a bit of leeway you have to have with the internet when u wake up every day and make video games. There’s also a breaking point.”
“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.”
“I’d urge other developers & will be reaching out to folks much larger than us to cut him off from the content that has made him a milionaire”
He acknowledged that PewDiePie’s millions of views must have contributed to financial gains for his company’s hit Firewatch.
“Furthermore, we’re complicit: I’m sure we’ve made money off of the 5.7M views that video has and that’s something for us to think about.”
But clarified his position on the PewDiePie stream.
“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”
The Potential Consequences
Vanaman’s take-down request counts as a ‘strike’ against PewDiePie’s channel. According to YouTube policy “If your account accumulates three strikes, YouTube will cancel all of your accounts and remove all of your videos. The only way to remove a strike is to send a formal counter-notice.”
According to YouTube law.
There are three ways to resolve a copyright strike:
- Wait for it to expire: A copyright strike will expire after 90 days as long as you complete Copyright School.
- Get a retraction: You can contact the person who claimed your video and ask them to retract their claim of copyright infringement.
- Submit a counter notification: If your video was mistakenly removed because it was misidentified as infringing, or qualifies as a potential fair use, you may wish to submit a counter notification.
Option 1 seems likely but this presents a conundrum as it wouldn’t take much for 2-3 more developers to also put a strike on YouTube’s biggest star. A precedent should be set to clear up this muddy issue.
Option 2 again places all of the power with the claimant, and would leave PewDiePie exposed to future claims.
Option 3 is the most productive if Google is serious about opening the Fair Use can of worms. Their biggest creator’s bread and butter is centered around Fair Use of other people’s work, so they damn well better take this precedent seriously.
Google can’t sit this one out. I highly doubt they’d let PewDiePie’s account get deleted after three strikes could so easily be lobbed against him. The Fair Use debate just might be thrust into the spotlight and resolved once and for all.