Phil Fish Says YouTubers Are Committing Piracy, Owe Him Money

by Mike Futter on Jun 18, 2014 at 08:29 AM

Phil Fish, who has had a conflicted relationship with social media that led to the abrupt cancelation of Fez II last year, today took to Twitter to share his views on video content producers. It was recently revealed that popular YouTube personality Felix Kjellberg (better known as “Pewdiepie”) is currently earning $4 million annually in ad sales. Fish says that he is entitled to some of the money earned by YouTubers off videos featuring his games. 

The tweets, which have since been deleted along with Fish's entire Twitter account, provide a clear picture of the relationship Fish would like to see exist between developers and video creators.

Ryan Letourneau, a YouTube creator who operates under the name NorthernLion and has 320,000 subscribers, shared his thoughts on the matter immediately after (here and here).

“I know it's not personal (and might just be a joke for him) but that Phil Fish tweet mostly just makes me sad considering I've done my best to fight back against unreasonable hatred of him and tell people to play the *** out of Fez because it's wonderful in spite of everything,” he wrote via Twitter.

Unfortunately, it looks like Fish won't be getting that message, at least not via Twitter. He has since deleted his account.

This has also spurred some other developers to chime in anew with their feelings on monetization. Dan Teasdale, who is about to release Roundabout on a number of platforms, said, "It goes without saying, but yes, we 100% endorse LPs and streams for Roundabout. We’re not monsters. We’ll probs drop by if you ask nice."

Teasdale’s No Goblin studio is just the latest to voice its endorsement of video content creators. In December, following a wave of new ContentID claims, we spoke extensively with Deep Silver about its engagement with the YouTube community. And it isn’t the only publisher who has taken a broad stance in support of this popular (and still growing) form of gaming coverage.


Our Take
What is odd about Fish’s statements is that the YouTube system allows for ContentID match and copyright owner monetization. This was a huge story last year when Nintendo began widespread copyright claiming and resurfaced when YouTube made a big content matching push last fall.

Instead of using the tools available, Fish chose inflammatory language and accusations about the ethical nature of video content that serves to help create usership. There is certainly an ongoing conversation about copyright, Let’s Play videos as derivative works, and monetization rights, but this approach doesn’t further the conversation or help arrive at resolution.