This week in POSIEL we discussed the idea of copyrighted material, and the legal issues surrounding it.
As someone who’s guilty pleasure is watching youtuber and streamer reaction videos, I hear a lot about copyright claims, and the limits it places on these creators. That being said, I never really stopped to educate myself on what getting “copyright striked” actually entailed - I just knew it meant XQC couldn’t stream episodes of Masterchef in their entirety anymore.
From the assigned readings, as well as today’s lecture material, I now have a better understanding of these copyright claims that creators receive. Moreover, I can see where some grey area exists, and how it can be applied to streaming content.
Many of the top creators on platforms such as Twitch and Youtube have garnered success through either gaming or reaction/ commentary style content. Both of these involve streaming someone’s else’s material, and using it to your own advantage.
Because of this, copyright claims do occur often. Last winter, top creators on these platforms were being hit with copyright claims and bans particularly excessively for streaming movies and TV series.
At this time, a few arguments arose. Firstly, creators were pointing out that gaming streams have been popular and accepted for years. Therefore, what is the difference between streaming a video game, or a TV series? Both of these are someone else’s content.
Another major argument that was pushed, was the idea that the creators were modifying the content with their commentary so much so, that it should now be seen as their own material. This follows the concept of “remixing” that was discussed in lecture.
While yes, the creators are adding value to the content and making it their own, they are not using this content for themselves, as stated in the personal use exemption for remixes. Further, they are streaming the content for thousands to watch, and receive monetary gain for doing so.
So if that's the case, why and how does so much of this content exist online? How are more creators not getting copyright strikes and banned from the platforms? In short, it is because nobody is making the claims. Moreover, that is why when someone does get a strike, it's a very large and well-known creator.
But should this type of content be legal? Should the original makers of the material be able to claim copyright on streams where the creator has significantly remixed the content?
If so, should there be some sort of threshold of change to the content? How would this be measured?
I don’t have answers to these questions, but I do know that I can see valid arguments from both sides of the coin.
Moreover, this week’s POSIEL content has definitely rendered me more cognisant to the content that I am consuming online, in the sense of: where is it truly coming from, and who really owns it?
It's also important to note that this doesn’t just exist in streaming, but also:
- On TikTok, when someone duets or stitches another creator’s video
- On Instagram, when meme pages repost content from Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, or TikTok
- On Twitter, where you can see five different accounts on your timeline posting the same tweet, word for word
And much, much more.