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Indie Devs - Censoring on Youtube

Updated on February 5, 2016

Identifying the issue

This hub will be focusing on not Triple A companies, but indie companies. Some people do not take criticism of their video game productions lightly.

Some independent game developers become filled with hatred and are set on a path of destruction to silence every and all negative feedback of their games. Some will fight tooth and nail to have their work seen as the best thing ever, when the cold hard reality is that they rushed it out of production too soon, or they want an attempt at easy profit.

I will try my best to describe this potential hazard to Youtubers now and later on. As well, What you might be able to do to protect yourself from this nonsense.

What is Youtube?

If you aren't very familiar with Youtube and the works, I will explain a bit about it.

Youtube is a video site. You can look up vloggers, Let's Plays, reviews, music, movies, products, etc. There is endless videos to be found, created by people all over the world. Youtube works as a form of entertainment for people looking for a unique forms.

How people get on Youtube- People create a channel with their unique username, and they film and produce content videos that people may watch and if they like the person's channel enough, they can subscribe and get their own personal feed of the channel. Youtubers can sign up for Google Adsense and earn ad revenue from the various people who watch the ads. Once subscriber bases can get big enough, the person can quite literally make Youtube as a job, and do what they love and make people happy with their forms of content.

You must follow a list of guidelines and rules in order for your channel to keep its Google Adsense, and you must not infringe on copyright or wrongfully use content.

Youtube Copyright Strike System

The policy of youtube that I stated briefly above, that focuses on copyright infringement that all youtubers must follow whether they use google adsense or not.

The Copyright Strike system - It is an automatic system on Youtube and included in Google's policy for Ad sense.

How it works - A person will report one or more of your videos and file that it is under copyright infringement. Youtube's system will remove your video from view. You will not generate any further ad-revenue from it and you will be given a Copyright strike. You can have up to three copyright strikes before Youtube will terminate your channel. This will remove all of your videos and delete your channel from Youtube. You will not be able to make another channel, if this happens, you are simply done.

Now, if you do get a Copyright Strike on your channel, here are three things you can do:

1. Wait for the Strike's Expiration - This process will take six months. You must go through a 'Copyright School' and must not receive another copyright strike during this time.

2. Retraction - You can attempt to contact the person who followed through with a copyright strike and ask them to retract it

3. Counter notification - If you feel your video was misidentified as copyright infringement and it qualifies for fair use, you can fight for it to be placed back onto your channel.

With Counter notifications, and you have proof that your video is under fair use. The person who filed the copyright strike against your video can continue the dispute with Court actions. The person who created the report has a two week period to respond, before their copyright report will disappear and Youtube will restore your video.


Now, you might be saying "That's all fair sounding, what's so bad about it?" The issue lies within the fact that is an automatic system. This system will instantly flag the offending video and you will not know about it till you log onto your Youtube. There no pre-warning that a copyright strike has been made, no way for the Youtuber to instantly respond back to it before actions are made.

Often and what has happened with the Youtubers I know of, they wake up, or log in one day to find that a video(s) of their's have been flagged. They must then make an action of fighting it.

You can now hopefully see where the harassment and abusement from an upset indie developer company can do and they can easily wreak havoc for someone who makes a job on YouTube for critiquing video games, especially ones off Steam.

A few instances of devs attacking/threatening Youtube critics are down below:

Totalbiscuit received a copyright strike from the developer company of Guise of The Wolf.

The video for Totalbiscuit is his run in with the devs behind Day one Garry's Incident, where they attempted to shut his video down (for being the most critical and most popular) and poorly covered their tracks or not at all.

The video for Mr. Sterling covers his situation when covering a zombie survival game on steam called The Slaughtering Grounds. He was critical of many aspects of the game and his video reached popular status, the devs then attacked him by first making videos of his videos, censoring criticism, and banning people from their Steam forums.

Jim Sterling's Greenlight Trailer video series received a take down from a company that created Skateman Intense Action Rescue, the person behind the strike admitted he was only doing it to stick it to Jim Sterling for being rude and overly critical.

Jim Sterling's also received a threat for another Greenlight Trailer being critical on another zombie themed survival game called Infection. The developer stated in his own Steam forums that he wanted Sterling to create two more videos, so that he could copyright strike them all and shut down his channel. The developer in the end got banned from his own Steam Forum for arguing with a Steam Global Moderator.

You won't get this kind of behavior from Triple A devs, who usually have someone they've hired to help them make decisions and stop them from making rash and crude decisions, such as throwing a tantrum on the Steam forums and eventually copyright striking a channel.

Totalbiscuit's Day One Garry's Incident

Jim Sterling's experience overview (Warning strong language)

Developer 'sticking it' to Jim Sterling (Language)

What can be done to fix this?

If you've took some time to watch/listen to the videos above, you've got a good idea of what can happen to people over Youtube, when an indie dev has a tantrum.

Now I'm just having some simple thoughts here on a solution to how this system might work if Youtube just puts a bit of some care and effort into their Copyright Strike System.

My solution idea - To eliminate this complete and utter abuse of the Copyright Strike System, I think Youtube should implement a system, it would start with a period of time for this Strike to configure itself and warn the Youtuber of the upcoming strike on their channel.

This could be a 24-48 hour period of delay before the strike hits their channel and takes down the offending video. If they do discover this notification in the delay period, they can choose an action of either one of the above, or simply taking down the video, and editing out the offending piece that someone could file for the copyright.

Final Words

So, I'm happy to be able to cover this and I hope to bring this hub to the attention of people looking to do video game based content on Youtube.

I truly hope Youtube stops being lazy and starts thinking on creating a more secure system that doesn't allow easy abuse.

Whether it be a game developer not happy with the reviews of his game, a company attempting to shut out criticism for their show, or movies, or potentially anything. This system needs to go, and there needs to be something in place that fixes this.

Please post a comment down below if you've got anything to say on this, or if you can describe a situation where this has happened to you.

I am happy to announce Youtube is starting to respond to the abuse of their copyright system when developers can't take criticism. Youtube will stand up and fight for your videos with these reports. The reason behind there being no prior communication because Youtube was already busy jumping on these cases and weren't in a position to openly comment. Be sure to report if you're a victim of these circumstances.

Thanks for reading!

Jim's thoughts on this behavior (Strong Language)


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