Game Critic Keeps YouTube Vids Ad-Free By Creating ContentID Feeding Frenzy

from the sharks-in-the-water dept

You should know by now that YouTube’s ContentID system is a horrible mess. This system, which allows purported intellectual property owners to claim other people’s uploads as containing their content, and then allowing those purported owners to either take the videos down or monetize them for themselves, is so rife with abuse, trolls, and mistakes that it’s a wonder anyone at any point thought this was an idea that could work. Lost in all of this bowing towards intellectual property owners has bred some creative methods for getting around ContentID abuse, but it’s still a problem. A problem particularly challenging in the video game reviews space on YouTube, where entirely too many game studios think that using ContentID to flag game reviews is a practice worth repeating.

But one game reviewer, Jim Sterling, decided to test out a way to keep his videos advertising-free. The method? Include all kinds of previously flagged content in his new videos from different IP owners and set them all into a ContentID war with one another.

Earlier this week, game critic Jim Sterling uploaded an episode of his Jimquisition series, where he skewers the recently released Wii U game Star Fox Zero. The entire episode is worth a watch based on Sterling’s well-reasoned arguments. But the thing that really sets it apart is a revelation near the end of the video, where Sterling explains why he makes such ample use of footage that is completely unrelated to what he actually discusses throughout the video.

“You may have noticed this week’s video had footage from Metal Gear Solid V, Grand Theft Auto V, and Beyond: Two Souls in it,” Sterling said. “Now, there’s a reason for that. The reason is Nintendo. Because I’m talking about a Nintendo game this week, I’ve used Nintendo game footage, and that means Nintendo will attempt to monetize this video even though the point of the Jimquisition is to be ad-free, thanks to your lovely help on Patreon.”

But by including game footage that had been previously flagged through ContentID by other studios, particularly studios known to not try to monetize game reviews, he created a ContentID race between the different studios. The result?

“I can confirm it works,” Jim Sterling said over email. “It’s worked several times before. WMG tried to monetize the video for the Erasure music, but couldn’t because Nintendo and Take-Two had set their ContentID in this particular case to Not Monetized.”

It’s like beating cancer by contracting herpes and having the herpes eat the cancer… or something like that. Look, I didn’t go to medical school, alright? The loophole in the ContentID system is that it’s not like all kinds of people can flag a video for monetization. It appears to be a first-to-flag-wins sort of scenario. So, just include some completely unrelated footage from a studio that is known to flag reviews as “Not Monetized” and the content remains ad-free.

It’s clever, to be sure, but some of us long for the day when such workarounds aren’t needed just to produce a simple video game review.

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Companies: google, youtube

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Comments on “Game Critic Keeps YouTube Vids Ad-Free By Creating ContentID Feeding Frenzy”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Two other related things:

Jim posted a follow up video to this one explaining in further details as well as continued railing on the ContentID system.

Kotaku reports that YouTube is fixing part of the ContentID system, specifically the monetization part. Instead of the claimer getting all of the ad-revenue before the dispute is resolved, they’re adding an escrow that will collect the ad-revenue on claimed videos until it is resolved.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

FINALLY! I’ve been asking for that since they first implemented the system. Seems braindead obvious to me, and has the added benefit that Google doesn’t have to pay out anything until they know who it really belongs to.

This can still be abused through ad deprivation, and doesn’t fix the ad free videos that get slapped with ads, but it’s a start.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That change to ContentID would be a step in the right direction. But since ads are only one way to abuse the system, it is not even halfway there in terms of making that problem manageable. Given the reverse burden of proof for the youtuber, it seems to still be a game of legal bullying (we can afford to go to court, you can’t! Get strikes!).

The only way foreward for Youtube is to create a system for punishing bad faith actors or make legal funds available for the networks, but that will not happen given Alphabets relations with the old film- and music-industries. “Acceptable balance”- and “Not a serious problem”-itis.

Case says:


It’s like beating cancer by contracting herpes and having the herpes eat the cancer… or something like that. Look, I didn’t go to medical school, alright?

More apt would be “it’s like beating Syphilis by contracting Malaria and then treating the Malaria”?

Because until a better solution (antibiotics) became available, that was a very clever idea to beat an otherwise incurable disease — Syphilis dies from body temperatures above 40 C, Malaria reliably causes such temperatures, and could be treated with Quinine afterwards.

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