Takedown Notice: Protecting Yourself from Robots

It’s been an… interesting month in the world of content creators. While we joined a great many of you down in San Antonio for the brilliant second edition of PAX South, the internet disaster that was React World was slowly unfolding, the anger and confusion bubbling up. Sitting in our hotel after a full day on the expo floor, it occurred to me that the Fine Bros. couldn’t have chosen a worse time to remind the world of things like copyright and DMCA strikes, takedown notices, brand deals and licensing.

You see, just a week before, I Hate Everything, a YouTube channel boasting over 400K subscribers, was removed due to “repeated or severe violations of [their] Community Guidelines.” The channel’s creator posted a video elsewhere, built fans of him, and free expression in general, into a tempestuous rage, and, eventually, had his channel returned to him without much explanation.

Then, only a few days later, the same thing happened to Eli the Computer Guy, who has over 600K subscribers to his name. It also happened to Channel Awesome (+350K subscribers), AlternateHistoryHub (+500K Subscribers) and h3h3 Productions (Almost 800K subscribers). Now, all of these creators were eventually able to have their platform returned to them, but only mobilizing their already sizable audiences.

I want to make something clear: this is not YouTube ignoring a problem. As a platform, the video giant has a responsibility to do what it can to prevent theft of intellectual property, and, the reality is that the only way to do that when you have a population of channels this massive is with algorithms. Bots. AI. You just can’t have human eyeballs checking every single channel looking for wrongdoing. This is what happens, then: false positives. YouTube knows it can be better. They want it to be better, and they’re constantly doing what they can to make it better, but it’s an ongoing process, and people are going to get caught in the gears.

So, what do you do? You’ve got a good audience, a strong community, sure, but not enough to set the web aflame should any of the killer robots ever mistakenly bust down your door. So, other than following the rules, how do you protect yourself?

Simply put: You diversify.

Don’t let your main outlet-your YouTube page, your Twitch channel- be your one-stop-shop. Spread yourself around. This is why it’s important that you take full advantage of things like social media, to give yourself an alternate platform, and, more importantly to give your audience somewhere else to meet. That way, when the shoe drops, your fans are at least still there, so you can tell them where else to go.

The same goes for monetization. Don’t let your only source of income die out because a robot turned the lights off. If you stream, make videos, and vice versa. Set up subscriptions for your biggest fans. Do what you can to make sure your audience can survive, even if one platform falls.

Creators who use GameWisp not only have reliable income, directly from their fans, without the risk of it being taken away on the whim of a well-intentioned machine, but they’ve also orgazined their fans in such a way that, should one platform fall by the wayside, you can transition to a new one and have a sizable portion of your audience actually come with you. They’ve already demonstrated their commitment to you as a viewer, and you’re already giving them way more than can be ruined by being forced to a new venue.

As a smaller creator, it’s still a jungle out there. Things are getting better, but they’re far from perfect, and it’s gonna be a bumpy road as we get closer. Sometimes, a killer bot is just going to ruin someone’s day. Do what you can to take away the sting, just in case.

Originally published at blog.gamewisp.com Feb 12, 2016.

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