It’s looking like Firewatch developer Campo Santo is well within its rights to file a DMCA strike against Pewdiepie.
PC Gamer took the time to speak to a number of lawyers following the studio’s run-in with the YouTube star, which left many members of industry curious whether it had a leg to stand out.
The answer? Yes, pretty much. Though Campo Santo does give permission for influencers to use and monetise videos based on its content, this can be revoked at any point.
“Publishers can revoke the licence for any reason in their sole and absolute discretion, and there is nothing in the DMCA that requires consistent enforcement on the part of the IP holder,“ ESG Law’s Bryce Blum says, with Ryan Morrison of Morrison & Lee echoing these sentiments.
However, if Pewdiepie were to take this matter to court, with the argument of Fair Use (Fair Dealings here the UK), it would cost “well over six figures” according to Morrison, which is something that will surely deter many smaller YouTube channels and developers.
The other issue with taking this to court is that influencers and games firms have had a symbiotic relationship up until this point; games get exposure while streamers and YouTubers make revenue. A court ruling on a case using a Fair Use defence will be legal precedent for all further dealings – and no-one really wants to rock the boat and accidentally change how an entire sector operates.
One concern raised by the publication is whether developers could block massive groups of people, say for example, a racial group. But apparently were this to occur, influencers would have a defence case.
All of this follows the Swedish YouTube star uttering the n-word during a Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds livestream. He has since responded to the backlash.