Beat Saber’s vibrant YouTube community is suffering a swathe of copyright strikes from the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon played the game with Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson while the latter was doing press for Avengers: Endgame, and his distributor, NBC Universal, is apparently issuing copyright claims on videos of the levels he and Larson played. But it may not be doing so intentionally.
There are a couple of reports on Reddit, one of which was relayed to the Beat Saber devs on Twitter. Responding, they say “this is a mistake by YouTube” and “at this moment there is nothing we can do about it.” For now, their only suggestion for affected YouTubers is to dispute every claim, thus hopefully raising the issue with human moderators.
The devs also mention they have turned off content ID for $100 Bills, the track mentioned by the fan (and which absolutely slaps, by the way). Content ID is a kind of digital fingerprint which copyright owners can apply to their work. When other users upload videos, they are automatically scanned against a database, and if a chunk of the new video matches an existing one stamped with content ID, a copyright claim can automatically be issued.
Thus, the most benevolent (and probably likeliest) interpretation of what’s gone on here is the Jimmy Fallon show uploaded a video with content ID, and issued these copyright strikes without meaning to do so, thanks to YouTube’s automatic processes. If so, the fact that the show’s content ID can cause such a ripple is further proof that large TV networks carry outsized weight on YouTube.
This was not planned by anyone, that’s just a really messed up youtube algorithm. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jimmy’s team didn’t even know about the fact that this is happening. 🙁 I will reach out to Jimmy’s team. Maybe they can help, but I am not sure about that. 🙁
— Beat Saber (@BeatSaber) April 28, 2019
If these claims are intentional, it’s difficult to be quite so charitable. We’ve reached out to both Google and the Tonight Show for clarification.
If you have a headset and somehow haven’t already checked Beat Saber out, you should do that. Here’s the Steam page. It’s super fun and costs only $19.99 (£15.49), though be aware that it’s in the grip of a minor review-bombing campaign following a recent patch – only 62% of reviews in the last month have been positive (compared with 93% overall).