Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare publisher Activision has been issuing copyright claims against YouTube videos that showcase exploits in the game’s multiplayer maps.
Popular YouTube network Machinima recently sent out a warning to its partners via email in an effort to dissuade them from posting such videos. “Activision is being particularly vigilant about their Call of Duty videos lately; issuing strikes on videos showing glitches,” the message read. “If you post videos highlighting these glitches, your channel may be liable to receive a copyright strike so please be careful.”
According to Activision, however, Machinima’s warning is not indicative of any change in behavior from the publisher. “We’re excited that so many fans are having fun playing the game and posting videos of their gameplay,” the company said in a statement to Eurogamer. “We love watching the videos ourselves. Occasionally, some folks post videos that promote cheating and unfair exploits. As always, we keep an eye out for these videos?our level of video claims hasn’t changed.
“We are appreciative of the community’s support in helping to ensure that everyone has the best playing experience possible.”
Regardless of whether or not Activision’s policy has changed, the admission that the company is selectively enforcing its copyright is an interesting one, and it’s no surprise that it’s sparked claims of censorship from some members of the community. In theory, Activision has the legal right to pull any video that contains footage of the game, as it represents a reproduction of their copyrighted material (ignoring cases of fair use), but in this case, they’re only taking down a small subset of the infringing videos. Their stated goal is admirable enough?to prevent multiplayer exploits from spreading too rapidly and ruining the online experience before the development team has time to patch them?but it’s easy to imagine companies resorting to less scrupulous ends.
What if Ubisoft, for instance, had pulled every video that showed glitches in Assassin’s Creed: Unity? What if a company only started issuing takedown notices towards videos that expressed negative opinions about their games? It’s something we’ve seen inklings of already, though it’s unlikely any major publisher would resort to such tactics, given the huge PR backlash that seems to inevitably follow. Where the line between acceptable and unacceptable lies for the average gamer?and whether Activision’s attempt to stifle Advanced Warfare exploit videos has already crossed it?remains to be seen.