Being a small, ass-busting content creator on Youtube sucks. It really fucking sucks.
Yes, I started off vulgar. Yes, i’m staying up late before a hardcore full time work week to write some of this. But I need to just, flat out vent about some of this. Those who know might remember that I run a youtube channel along with the website: this is where I post all sorts of unboxings and most importantly, my retrospectives: glimpses into games I grew up with or things i find cool, so I could share my memories and basically use as a video diary for preservation when i inevitably die and the universe doesn’t die with me.
Why does this matter, and why am I mentioning this? Well, for the past seven years, i’ve been working on a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon retrospective, and have made pretty mediocre progress. I got 3 out of 5 main parts done in a single year, with all of them failing to perform. Granted, nowadays I could make them of much higher quality, but the fact that two of them have been stuck at 900 views for two years now is enough to infuriate me anytime I think about resuming work on the next few episodes, (III.8, IV, IV.V, and V, for those curious, and yes, that numbering is intentional).
I’ve been bouncing around for a while now what I want to do for the future, as I work on retrospectives for other things I like in the meantime, but thanks to watching a furfriend stream PMD2, I gained the motivation I was missing to do some much needed work on that retrospective this past weekend. So what does this have to do with this article?
Well to be blunt, I mainly wrote this akin to an old web journal just to vent/give updates on the YT side of things, and to ramble about a recent event I feel the need to just blow steam off on. The good news is, we have a new light setup: this means I can film easily at any time of day now without the worry of a orange tint in my videos! Glorious, bright white light…
The next good thing is several scripts are fully completed: only like, 3 or 4 are unfinished for Season 4, meaning we’re halfway done! One is in the editing process right now, that aforementioned episode on Pokemon Pearl’s pre-launch. I spent extra time getting old IRL photos of my DS and my life around that time so it should be super fun and exciting to get out this month. PMD III.8 (AKA, PMD2’s post-game) should be part of season 4 still and hopefully out as a season finale by the summer.
But honestly? It feels weird that I’m more confident in my reviews here on this very site, over my web and video content. Reviews started me off after all and I always wanted to write something I enjoyed that I want to share with everyone, and getting motivation to juggle my backlog work this month along with my full time job is doing pretty alright. Still, I wanna try and work ultra hard on my vids after I’m caught up, and make them more frequent. I also debated streaming on the weekends due to some friends suggesting I do so for B-Roll, but I’m hesitating due to a recent event, and well, talking with peers… I shouldn’t hold back.
A Searing Struggle
tldr: mega huge youtuber stole an old gameplay video of a popular common game without consent and I had to haggle to get remote credit
so yeah, a month or so ago I was tagged by some friends in a discord, super overjoyed to see me in a super huge youtuber’s video on cancelled games! I was stunned, being that I was at work, and while I’ve showed up in some bigger videos before without my knowledge, they were 99% of the time in pretty fair use/honest ways (the amount of times my opencritic reviews have shown up as screens in a video is pretty low, but still higher than I thought they’d be!). But this one? No, it wasn’t really that at all. It was borderline, flimsy as hell fair use, but still scummy. Wanna hear the SFG exposure tale? what I made an unintentional cameo in?
…5ish seconds of an old arcade archives Donkey Kong video with 7K views was yoinked and inserted into this big video without my consent, contact, or notification. Now typically, i’m very, very fine allowing channels to use my gameplay videos, especially if they’re of obscure games not covered elsewhere, I’m contacted about it, and/or they link to me and give credit.. Here’s my problem with this MegaHugeEpicChannelTM:
1: They didn’t even once approach me for permission, which… uh, yeah, common sense, since I don’t have a disclaimer like longplay channels do for permission
2: They didn’t link to my content. At all. They threw my channel name in the bottom right corner. This is despite a lot of their research getting linked in the YT description and sourced, while my gameplay video was just given a name like the others that got sniped. Thanks…?
3: My vid had only around 7K views… I KNOW there were more, bigger channels that did b-Roll for the ACA version of Donkey Kong, so why the heck did you yoink my footage instead of someone who allowed that or worked with you before
4: IT’S FUCKING ARCADE DONKEY KONG. One of the most iconic, stupidly easy to emulate arcade games in history, and you’re telling me for their long video they couldn’t buy the ACA version themselves, throw it in mame, use those crappy browser emulators, or whatever for the seconds they need? WHY DID THEY EVEN NEED TO BORROW FOOTAGE TO BEGIN WITH? At least the other obscure versions in the video made more sense to borrow due to the obscure nature of it, but jesus, that would be like if I borrowed someone else’s footage of SMB1 1-1 without consent because I couldn’t get off my ass to record B-roll from the bajillion ways to own it. This isn’t something wildly obscure I recorded, like the PS3’S PC Engine Archives or games as random as Cotton 100% for PS1, but one of the most common games in existence. To me, it just feels really lame and lazy to yoink what was probably a top search result in a video downloader to save time.
So yeah, that was my gripes. Was congratulated by friends who thought I helped and collab with them for the vid, but then they were confused by me saying that no, I didn’t even have a single convo with anyone involved. The fact people were literally confused by my involvement with the channel was what prompted me to do my next thing… reach out and politely ask clarification.
Here’s the TLDR of what I got: They acknowledged it was yoinked without consent but because it was under fair use and it was needed due to the inability to contact some content creators/get obscure footage (i’m right here you know, i know i feel dead inside most of my life but uh, heyyyy, i still work my ass off!), they did it, but due to how I expressed concern, they agreed to give credit to me via a link. I politely ended up pushing for a link to my retrospective playlist (you know, the YT vids I work my ass off on the most that barely break 100 views with the biggest stuck at 900!), and to my relief, I got that: the guy I reached out to forwarded to the guy in charge of the channel before adding it in himself, and I’m gonna be blunt when I say I do not feel ill will from this guy. Nor the editor who probably threw it all together. I mainly feel ill will due to the culture surrounding it and myself.
But needless to say, a few days later, and my channel retrospectives got a card inserted where my footage appears! Mission solved, link done, people would view my stuff or know i exist right? Well, no. As I begrudgingly found out, almost nobody clicked the link in the card… despite 100K views coming in after it was added. This part isn’t the channel’s fault, they did everything right in making it visible. Rather, it’s kinda showing the downside to the culture of the people who watch these sorts of vids made by throwing footage together: total brain shutdown and disregard for those who work their asses off.
So I pondered. Asked industry peers, fellow YT friends, even someone who had their footage stolen and *didn’t* get a card added, but instead fought back and called out the creator of the channel in question for borrowing from a smaller channel to begin with. Should i get mad at these guys, despite them being nice enough to not only link to my retrospectives in their super popular video, but also give credit where it was due after I raised a stink? Or should I just accept that cards are pretty easily dismissed like advertisements and just move on?
In the end, I’m not fully sure, but leaning on more the anger aspect: I’m angry not at the guy who helped me, not at the channel card for not vacuuming people to my retrospective I broke hours and hours making, but the stupid YT/for exposure culture as a whole.
Be me, work your ass off for months to make as super in-depth retrospective on PMD, only for it to literally be ignored. Then some other dude who makes retrospectives on the series comes in last year and gets tens of thousands of views while I’m blood sweat and tears struggling to hit 1K on any of them. Great. Or have your channel notable enough to pop up in searches for gameplay videos due to their view count, but heaven forbid people *reach out to me* and ask for consent or even how I’m doing or giving me feedback on my retrospectives! no, gotta yoink that DONKEY KONG clip to make 400K views for a channel that considers vids getting a few ten thousand views a failure when I’d do anything to have that many people see my memories shared, in the retrospectives I love.
I guess at the end of the day I’m invisible and to end this, TCRF shares my pain