Creativity should be encouraged, even if it’s “found art,” Kevin Smith argues in an interview.
Kevin Smith, film producer, director, screenwriter, and well-known for his movies like Clerks, criticized YouTube’s recent policy changes that issued copyright claims for using video clips and music from outside sources. YouTube’s Content ID has strongly affected YouTubers using video and music from games, challenging Let’s Play videos and game reviews. In an interview with CBC Television talk show host George Stroumboulopoulos, Smith argues clips of videogames don’t cause any harm.
“I know a lot of people who have built careers off of taking videogame footage and running commentary under it or reviewing it,” Smith said. “And so now YouTube’s gone like, ‘You don’t have the rights to do this.’ And they’re starting to pull back on the freedom of expression people have been enjoying on YouTube for a while.”
Before instituting the new policy, YouTube was generally accepting of most game videos. Several publishers also actively encourage players to post videos of their games online. Smith points out that these publishers support creators who have had their videos flagged for copyright infringement because these videos are akin to free marketing.
Many of the copyright claims issued through the Content ID policy are automated, leading to plenty of mistakes by bots, such as an incorrect copyright infringement claim on Grand Theft Auto IV videos. One GTA IV video was flagged because the Content ID system mistook police sirens for a jazz song. YouTube has made no plans to revise its new policy despite the mistakes it has caused.
Moreover, Smith believes in the creation of art. While copyright law was initially intended to encourage creative works, more recently it has caused plenty of damage.
“Don’t stamp down someone’s creativity,” Smith said in the interview. “Even if it’s someone else’s creativity with something else — other people’s material — because you make found art out of art that you find.”
YouTube recently responded to the vitriol in an email Kotaku posted. Content ID appears to be here to stay, but it’s a flawed system.