This is one of those times where this post might be a week late, but I very genuinely would have preferred not having to write one at all.
WARNING: RANT ALERT
First and foremost I can say, unequivocally, that YouTube is absolutely not ‘Sorry about that.’ They’re sorry, all right. But not in the apologetic fashion. And forgive me if the remainder of this comes off as spiteful or otherwise less than pleasant. At least in relation to myself. I’ll try to keep things smarmy and light, but I won’t lie. I’m annoyed. Truly. Deeply. Thoroughly annoyed. So if I seem like I’m being unfair, it’s only because I have very much given up caring. Or. Put into more whimsical terms…
For anyone who doesn’t know, the last episode of Bulletoon – Our Favorite OPs of the Spring 2019 Anime Season – was a particular hassle to get released. The video was hit with a YouTube copyright claim and therefore blocked worldwide when it initially released. It was only by a few clever editing tricks and one successful dispute that this was corrected. Now the video is live and available for your viewing pleasure. But it was a full week late. And it was only by pure luck that E3 happened when it did, so we wouldn’t have to just not have an episode out, that weekend. We were able to do our usual E3 Recap Episode, albeit in shorter fashion than in the past.
One week later? No episode went up. Now, why was that? You see, the very next episode was a follow-up to that one. A retroactive peek at our favorite openings of the Winter 2019 season. Because we owed you guys that one. We worked hard on it and had it aaaall set for you guys, fully anticipating having to deal with YouTube’s content ID bulls–t. As expected, the video got slammed the instant it went up with not one, not two, but three copyright claims, two of which barred the video from appearing, worldwide.
All right. Whatever. So I’ll just do what I did before and pull out some editing tricks to- oh. It’s not working. Okay, whatever, I’ll just use a few other workarounds to- oh… also not working. Let me be perfectly clear, here. I have been working for a week to get this video in a state where it can be uploaded and not have to contend with YouTube’s bulls–t system. And what should happen in the middle of that process? Some dips–t at Sony Japan decides it’s not enough to have a claim slapped on there. So, a full 5 days later, the video gets a strike. When it rains, it pours. Am I right?
For those unaware, a copyright strike is different from a claim. Claims don’t impact your channel at all. Strikes, though? Those hurt. They impact your channel’s standing and limit your channel’s functionality. Also, getting 3 at a time basically kills your channel. I’ve been doing review and commentary content on YouTube for something like 10 years, at this point. Revolving around Movies, Comics, and Videogames. And this is the first time I’ve ever gotten a strike. Suffice it to say, this did not improve the situation. I reached out to have the issue looked into, but let’s get real, here. There’s no way they’re going to get back to me. Our channel is tiny and growing very slowly. We’re basically ants to the likes of them. They have no reason bothered with someone like me except to step on me for daring to even catch their attention.
I can talk for ages about YouTube’s broken-ass content ID system. How it puts far too much power in the hands of the claimant and virtually none in the hands of the defendant. I can talk at length about how a system like this should absolutely not be governed almost solely by bots and the system shouldn’t be allowed to hold videos and whole channels hostage. And, look, I get it. YouTube receives thousands – THOUSANDS – of hours of uploaded content every minute. It’s hard – nay – impossible for actual human beings to sift through all of that in order to find the videos that are supposedly breaking their precious rules. But the system needs a dire overhaul. Some sort of compartmentalizing functionality that allows real human beings with real legal educations to look at this s–t before the hammer gets brought down on some unassuming channel, most of which are just not big enough to fight it. On a related note, I would love to know how some of the middling or bigger channels exactly get around this. Because I really don’t see how we can do a lot of what we want to do if this persists unless we wind up focusing exclusively on manga… which I really don’t wanna do.
I completely understand YouTube’s position. They don’t dare risk taking responsibility, themselves, for all of the “bad actors” on their platform because that would hurt their relationship with their investors and blah blah blah. I get it. But this hands-off approach is unfair in the extreme and needs to be addressed more than it has been. I think I was about the only person who saw the news of YouTube’s recent copyright policy update and wasn’t impressed. Because, frankly, it’s not addressing the actual problem. Now, stay with me on this, because it might get a bit complicated. I’ll take it slow so YouTube can understand. Bots. Can’t. Judge. Fair. Use.
“But Voyager, Fair Use is actually-”
I went to business school after I got my writing degree, wherein I spent several months on this subject. I know how Fair Use works. So I’d appreciate if people didn’t keep patronizing me by “trying to help me understand” how Fair Use does and doesn’t function. I’m not a dumbass. That being said, a Bot is basically a dumbass. The term isn’t used as an insult in the gaming sphere for no reason. If someone calls you a bot, rest assured, they are not praising you for the depth of your godly mechanical skill and game sense. Bots are convenient things that can only manage simple functions. Judging Fair Use is not a simple function. It’s a process that requires human eyes and at least a f–king modicum of knowledge in copyright law.
But that brings me to another point. I haven’t the foggiest bloody idea how it works overseas. Frankly, most people probably don’t. But if you’re going to make a product with the expectation that it’s going to reach audiences overseas, then maybe you should take the laws of those foreign nations into account. Japan especially seems to be a problem, here. I have no idea what their individual copyright laws are, but it stands to reason that copyright law should probably be something that’s uniform on a global scale, so as to prevent this s–t from leading to so many damn issues.
I mean, hell, there are some massive channels that deal with this. TeamFourStar obviously has had a lot of issues with it in the past. But they’re big enough that they could make the noise necessary to fight back, more often than not. And god help any gaming channel that dares take an interest in Nintendo. Seriously. Good luck there. This is some downright egregious nonsense and I haven’t even brought up the factor of spurious DMCA takedowns issued by “claimants” that don’t even own the copyrighted content in question. But that’s a beast for a different time. Not to worry, though. They’ll get theirs.
YouTube’s stupid-ass system needs a complete and total overhaul. And it’s not going to happen. Because no one’s going to force them. Seriously. Who’s going to make them? They’re YouTube. They’re basically the only option. And they’re owned by Google which, itself, is so massive that its name has literally become a verb. It’s the definition of a monopoly. We’re forced to deal with this because, let’s be completely honest with ourselves, what other options are there? Oh, sure, other video streaming platforms exist. But none of them have nearly the level of exposure that YouTube has. They’re not actual competitors in any capacity. So we have to just put up with YouTube’s crap because there’s nowhere else we can go. It’s like a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome.
YouTube isn’t going to change because there’s no one that can put them under the pressure to change except for those investors… which are all the various companies that are taking advantage of this system in the first place. Why would they make YouTube change? It goes against their self-interest. They’re not gonna do that.
Now. I have spent the past two days putting off other projects, just to make sure this damn video can get uploaded. I’ve tried various workarounds, I re-edited the video THREE TIMES. Two of which, by the way, I was forced to sit through gargantuan render times for. And nothing. None of it worked. So excuse me if I seem like I’ve reached the end of my rope. But I’ve reached the end of my rope. Now here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m just gonna toss the video up on Dailymotion and post it to the site, that way. Will it get less views and exposure? Absolutely. But I’ll be damned if I let all that f–king work be for absolutely nothing. We also don’t really have a choice as this weekend might otherwise not have an episode either. We learned that one of our voice actresses is sick and far be it for us to demand she produce an episode for us in such a condition. What I may end up doing is just posting a transcript of the episode we had set, or something of that nature. We’ll see.
Of course, I would greatly appreciate it if everyone would like the posts when they go up and share them, comment on them, all that obligatory stuff. Frankly, at this point, it’d be more to make me feel better than any delusions of it actually reaching a sizeable audience. This week has been exceptionally irritating for myself on more fronts than just YouTube’s bulls–t, and I’m very nearly at my wits’ end with it all. I’m exhausted.
So what next? Well, that’s honestly all I’ve got for you, this time. Nothing new to report on Burning Sky, no great happenings with Twitch. No special updates on anything. The Bulletoon post, whatever form it winds up taking, will encompass a few updates. So there’s that. But yeah. That’s it. Wish I could’ve made this post about literally anything else and given it a more positive spin, but I honestly didn’t have it in me. I’m tired. And frustrated. And honestly just wanna lie in bed and work on our novels. Alas, I have to adult and whatnot, still. So I’m just gonna leave it at that. Thanks for reading. Keep up the Awesome.