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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  • identicon
    Digitari, 28 Apr 2016 @ 2:16pm

    But....

    "dammit, Fair use is just not fair."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2016 @ 2:24pm

    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.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK8i6aMG9VM

    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.
    http://kotaku.com/youtubes-content-id-system-gets-one-much-needed-fix-1773643254

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2016 @ 2:32pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2016 @ 6:40am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2016 @ 7:00am

      Re:

      Unfortunately, this change will only slightly delay the theft as long as the ContentID claimant still gets the final say over whether they can claim the video.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Apr 2016 @ 2:26pm

    Priceless

    Finally a story about someone gaming the ContentID system where the creator isn't the one being screwed by it. Let the big companies duke it out and try to be the first to claim and monetize a video, meanwhile the video itself sneaks through unscathed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 29 Apr 2016 @ 7:46am

      Re: Priceless

      Kind of. He still had to litter his video with unrelated footage. So it's really a lose-lose situation. I do hope people start doing it massively. Maybe the yt will be forced to take this damned system down.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 29 Apr 2016 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re: Priceless

        Not likely. By publicly revealing what he's doing, he's pretty much guaranteed that it will stop working in the very near future.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2016 @ 11:08am

          Re: Re: Re: Priceless

          Nope, its gonna keep working like this until someone sues Google. Thats how things work.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 29 Apr 2016 @ 12:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Priceless

            Not with this sort of issue. YouTube has a long history of bending over backwards to make major media companies happy -- even doing things that nobody ever required them to do.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2016 @ 2:27pm

    Jim Fucking Sterling!
    The best game reviewer for me. Doesn't evade bullshit and was the only reason I read Destructoid.
    I laughed when I saw the inserted clips on Monday's Jimquisition, I knew what was happening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nate (profile), 28 Apr 2016 @ 2:56pm

    First to flag? Seriously?

    That's gotta be the dumbest idea since ContentID.

    No, wait ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    annonymouse, 28 Apr 2016 @ 3:53pm

    If it works then it's not so dumb is it?

    Oh wait, yeah it's still dumb.

    There are enough examples where dumb things work until they don't.

    Someone then realizes why the idea was dumb. It usually involves fire and or explosions and or maiming and or death and a YouTube video.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2016 @ 5:37pm

    That sound you hear is Anonymous64, Slonecker, antidirt and Whatever angrily grinding their teeth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 28 Apr 2016 @ 6:35pm

    Create your own content.. a music blurb or video clip... upload it to ContentID as your work and flagged Not Monetized. Add that clip to any videos you upload and you are good to go *nodnod*

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Barry Sotero, Jr, 29 Apr 2016 @ 3:32am

    What Mr. Sterling does here,

    is illustrate nicely that if you don't have the requisite inertia to change a broken system, then find a way to bend the system to your desired outcome. Just brilliant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Case, 29 Apr 2016 @ 3:48am

    Pyrotherapy


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Avatar28 (profile), 29 Apr 2016 @ 2:28pm

      Re: Pyrotherapy

      Damnit. You beat me to it. Was coming here to provide that exact example. But yes, that is exactly what I thought of when he brought it up.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 29 Apr 2016 @ 11:31am

    Haha

    Sometimes you just gotta say, "That's fucking beautiful..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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