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Sony Issues Manual Copyright Strikes Against YouTubers Just For Discussing No Man's Sky

by Mike Futter on Aug 08, 2016 at 09:24 AM

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YouTube has a fairly stringent approach to copyright. We’re most familiar with the automated ContentID system that aggressively flags videos for copyrighted content. But intellectual property owners can also manually flag videos for violations.

Sony took manual action against a number of YouTubers simply discussing the leaked copies and the impact its having. Steven Thomas, who runs the No Man’s Sky Gamer channel, posted an emotional video after getting notification of the strike.

He explains that he does not have a copy of the game and only used existing, approved footage in his video. Thomas, near tears, explains that he had plans to stream the game for 24 hours as a charity initiative supporting the Make-a-Wish foundation. Sony also issued a manual complaint against his video detailing his Patreon and the charity stream.

The video that received a strike was an archived live stream of Thomas discussing the current situation with the game, including the 1.03 update. “During this livestream I gave everyone a run through of the new updates from the game's website,” he told me. “I also gave my thoughts and opinions. Some people would ask me that are not familiar with my channel if what I was showing is new gameplay footage or not and I would clarify to everybody, verbally, that what I was showing is of the old gameplay footage. I am FIRMLY against others violating street date and uploading gameplay prior to release without express written permission.”

Thomas says he plans on continuing with the stream, but he won’t be able to use YouTube. A copyright strike means that you can’t live stream on the platform.

“Due to this strike I am now unable to livestream on YouTube, which hinders everything I've planned for the Make-A-Wish foundation fundraiser,” he explained. “If this is not corrected I will be forced to resort to using Twitch, however I do not have a fanbase and have never livestreamed on this platform so there is a high chance that the funds that could have been raised for the charity will greatly suffer.”

Thomas isn’t the only YouTuber to receive a manual strike from Sony because of simply discussing No Man’s Sky, the leaks, and the upcoming patch. The Know faced a similar situation, but because of its stature was able to get Sony’s attention quickly. That channel’s strike has since been removed.

There is hope for Thomas and another YouTuber, xXxCobra, who is in a similar situation. Hello Games founder Sean Murray is aware of their situation and has reached out to offer assistance.

We’ve reached out to Sony for comment. We’ll update should we receive a response.

For more on Thomas’ Make-a-Wish fundraiser, you can visit this page

Update: Another YouTuber has come forward regarding this situation, GrayStillPlays reached out to let us know that he, too, had received a manual copyright strike from Sony over a similar video. You can see his comments on the situation here.

Update 2: Both Thomas and GrayStillPlays have reached out to let us know that Sony has been in contact with them. Both have had the copyright strikes on their videos lifted. This means that Thomas can continue with his plans for a charity livestream supporting the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Our Take
If this were a Content ID problem, it would be easy to explain as a mistake made by the overly-aggressive automation. However, someone at Sony manually flagged these videos. 

I understand that the leaked footage has thrown things into disarray for Sony and Hello Games, but the DMCA and copyright system does not exist to quash discussion. It is not supposed to enable a gag order. I sincerely hope Sony gets this taken care of so Thomas can hold his charity stream on time and without incident.