If you are a content creator that happens to specialize in Mortal Kombat then you know YouTube can be a harsh environment to thrive in. Just having Mortal Kombat as the title of your video opens you up to demonetization due to the “not suitable for all advertisers ” policy. This week things have gotten a lot worse. During Gamescom, a new skin for Sub-Zero was released that features the likeness and voice of DJ Dimitri Vegas. While the addition of free skins to MK11 is great, some (many…all) fans were quick to criticize the DJ’s not so great voice acting while this new skin is in use. In a move that some are calling retaliation for this criticism, YouTubers that made videos featuring the Dimitri Vegas Sub-Zero skin found that their videos have been deleted and a copyright strike placed on their account. Our channel included.
The claimant in these cases is listed as ID&T BVBA and any attempts to file a counter-notification with YouTube are quickly turned down. I reached out to ID&T BVBA and was finally contacted by them yesterday. I spoke with one Jeroen Franssens who is listed as being in charge of Content and Music. I inquired if it were possible for these copyright strikes to be retracted if say the videos were deleted or demonetized. While I did not get a direct answer, Jeroen did ask for the URL for my video in what I assumed would be an attempt to reverse the action but I was told my video couldn’t even be found in their system and as of now the strike still stands. There was one thing that was said during our conversation that I found interesting and it was: “Both Dimitri Vegas and Warner Bros didn’t want any of these assets published without their official permission.” Now prior to reaching out to these guys, I reached out to representatives from Warner Bros. and NetherRealm Studios to find out what was going on with no success. Many people affected by this situation took to Twitter to get answers and NetherRealm Studios Community Manager Tyler Lansdown responded by saying it was being looked into. I reached out to the PR Rep for Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment for a statement on whether or not they signed off on this but at the time of this writing have not received a response.
If this was, in fact, something Warner Bros. agreed on, then a little heads up to content creators would have been ideal. Big corporations don’t care about the damage copyright strikes can do to a person’s channel as they can lead to the removal of the channel from YouTube. It seems that making videos showing this skin should fall under fair use and if Dimitri Vegas and or Warner Bros feel differently, there should have been some sort of statement to content creators. Given how nearly anyone with a console or PC these days has some sort of channel on YouTube, Twitch, etc. it had to occur to them that people would create and upload videos for a new Mortal Kombat 11 skin.
It’s no surprise that fans are outraged. Both by this situation and YouTube in general for not having effective measures in place you protect the actual YouTube Partners out there.
So if nothing else MK fans, do not upload any content to YouTube that features this skin. I would even be careful to stream online there just in case your opponent is using that skin. I’ll update you guys if anything new develops.