I was reading this piece of news today that got me very interested from a business point of view. Essentially, I’m sure most people are aware that there are a ton of people who use sites such as Youtube to share funny videos or even to the point where some people have made a career out of it. As well, Youtube has a system and policy where companies and studios can request that its copyrighted material be taken off if it is being used without permission. A simple example would be someone uploading a full movie as is which is technically not legal. So like that rightfully the studio can request that the content be removed.
As you may be aware, many times when you visit Youtube there are ads that you see. Usually this is a result of the person who uploaded the video partnering up with Youtube to serve ads which of course means they generate revenue from it. As you can imagine, many people like say a music artist would say no way you are making money off of our work and so often videos get taken down as a result.
However, some companies have opted to do it another way. Instead of saying they are going to take down your uploaded content that has its copyrighted material in it, they will instead just stop you from being able to profit from it. So in this case, whereas normally the revenue of the ads on the video would go to the person that uploaded the video they will now go to the company who is claiming copyright to it.
In many ways it makes sense. However, what’s interesting in this scenario I thought is that when it comes to video games a lot of these video creators try to do things such as commentary over the game that they play in an effort to make it unique. As mentioned, some people make a very good living this way. For those wondering why anyone would even watch such a thing, in many ways I guess think of it like people who find it interesting to watch other people play poker.
Just for curiosity sake I decided to upload a video to find out exactly what it is like. I basically just recorded a gameplay clip from the game and then uploaded it. Sure enough, you are then told as seen here that the content in your video matches that of the owner:
As mentioned above, some companies opt to simply remove the video completely. Instead, as seen here the company wishes the video to remain but as a result you will have advertisements in your video which they will profit from:
So the debate here that I thought that was interesting is how many people expressed actions like these discourage your users to make more videos about your product which is in a sense free advertising through social media. It’s kind of a tricky subject in this case I thought. For example, like for myself I can see why you would want to be extremely harsh if it was a movie as in those cases once people say watch the movie then they have no real need to actually buy it which means a loss in revenue. In a scenario like this though I would think regardless of how many times you watch someone else playing a game, you still need to actually buy it to get the intended experience. So if anything it is like free advertisement to encourage people to buy your product.
The other issue I was thinking of is that enforcing restrictions like these creates a perception that people are doing their job for you in terms of marketing and advertising in a forceful way. It’s like saying instead of thanking one for being a user/fan while helping to spread the word of the product they decide that you must pay them for the right to do it.
While you can probably go on for hours debating about things like “fair use” and how you could get around stuff like this, it kind of brings up the question where if you run a business and was in this scenario would you just allow your fans to do things like commentary videos without restriction as you feel the word of mouth advertising is great? Or do you feel that it’s better that you somehow directly profit from it as in the end you feel you will make more money that way?