Felix Kjellberg, better known as Pewdiepie, is a popular streamer who has made millions by streaming video of popular games, including a critically-acclaimed indie title called Firewatch. Over the years, Pewdiepie has also courted controversy. He recently bounded into the headlines once again after using a racial slur during a live stream. That incident is not the first time he has drawn criticism for his racist behavior.
Sean Vanaman of Campo Santo had strong words for Pewdiepie in the wake of the stream, and indicated he planned to issue a DMCA takedown request on a past video Pewdiepie produced that featured Firewatch gameplay. That request has since processed, and it resulted in a copyright strike against Pewdiepie’s channel. In response, Pewdiepie posted a new 11-minute video to address the matter, which we have embedded below.
We at Shacknews condemn Pewdiepie’s offensive behavior during the stream, and do not believe the ensuing apology was sufficient. For his part, Pewdiepie appears to be more interested in putting the matter behind him than in reflecting on how he might behave in the future.
In the new video, Pewdiepie doesn’t seem to be trying to change minds about his past behavior. He specifically expresses his desire to avoid stirring up further controversy (while noting he did like Firewatch when he played it, though he also describes it as a “walking simulator”). He instead called attention to the fact that Campo Santo is using the DMCA system in a punitive manner. This point he highlights by sharing the following tweet from Sean Vanaman:
I'd urge other developers & will be reaching out to folks much larger than us to cut him off from the content that has made him a milionaire— Sean Vanaman (@vanaman) September 10, 2017
Pewdiepie believes Vanaman’s use of the DMCA takedown request was an inappropriate way to deal with the situation.
“Whether you like me or Mr. Vanaman, these laws are made for people to take down content,” Pewdiepie notes. “And whenever there’s power to do so, it’s going to be abused. And especially when the reason to take down the content has nothing to do with copyright, it sort of shows that. I think these laws are important for artists, to protect artists’ work and what they do. And that’s why I think it’s really dangerous to make these sort of claims, and to do these sort of copyright claims for no real valid reason, no matter what you think of me.”
Pewdiepie explains that he already made the Firewatch video private, out of respect for Vanaman’s concerns, but that was not enough to prevent a strike against his account (which affects his livelihood). He stressed that he is willing to work with other developers who may not wish to see video of their games associated with Pewdiepie.
“If you have a problem with any content of mine, or any video being up, you’re free to tweet me,” he remarked. “I will probably see it, and I will respect that request. I did get a request from another developer, asking the same thing—‘Hey, can you delete this video?’—and I did. And I wouldn’t have had any problem to have done the same with this video. I have a huge amount of respect for developers and what they do. I know my work would not have been possible without them, and that’s why I would never go against that.”
You can watch the entire video if you would like to try to follow Pewdiepie’s discussion from start to finish. He does draw attention to the ways in which copyright law and the DMCA system currently work, which could prove educational to those who aren’t already aware.
If the case were to go to court, the outcome might easily be much different from the one Pewdiepie and his millions of supporters envision, and that’s certainly food for thought. What do you think? Did the DMCA takedown of the Firewatch video demonstrate proper use of the available system and copyright laws, or should publishers, streamers, YouTube and others find better ways to resolve similar issues in the future?