The relationship between content creators focused on gaming and the creators of those games
PewDiePie, one of the handful of content creators that made themselves millionaires on the early wave of content creation centered on video games, has found himself making the rounds in the news cycle once again. While attempting to take someone out in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, PewDiePie used “ni**er” during the tense firefight:
In this video, PewDiePie can be heard saying the N word. pic.twitter.com/51lkg0kdWP— Pop News Hub (@PopNewsHub) September 10, 2017
Sean Vanaman, the co-founder of Campo Santo which is the team responsible for Firewatch, caught wind of the clip and decided enough was enough. Vanaman’s Twitter thread called PewDiePie out for essentially pushing past the breaking point in the give and take
He's worse than a closeted racist: he's a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry.— Sean Vanaman (@vanaman) September 10, 2017
Of course, Vanaman’s statements inspired a series of comments making excuses for PewDiePie. Many of those hung their hats on the fact that PewDiePie using the n-word in the way he did doesn’t exactly mean he’s racist, an accusation that quickly spiraled out once the video started making rounds on social media. Some even pointed out that Campo Santo wouldn’t be able to take down his videos because, on their website, it explicitly says creators are allowed and encouraged to stream their game.
Regarding his use of the word, one could debate the ill-intent of his frivolous use of a racial slur...if you want. It looks like one thing you can’t debate is Campos Santos ability to issue a strike against PewDiePie’s channel. Glixel reached out to a lawyer to get his take on it and he had this to say:
"Ideas are not protected under copyright but the expression of an idea is," Lee tells Glixel in an email interview. "Therefore, many parts of a video game are protected under copyright including the look of the game, the dialogue, and the music. The DMCA permits copyright owners to issue takedown requests of people infringing the copyright to a game. Technically, video game companies can issue takedown requests for any gameplay that is posted online and companies like Nintendo have done this in the past. However, companies have gotten a lot of bad feedback from issuing takedown requests and usually don't do so. Besides bad feedback, playthroughs drive a lot of new people to a game and therefore it acts as a promotion for the game. I, like many people, don't buy a video game until I see some of it played online."
We’ll update with more information as it becomes available.